The European Film Forum in Vilnius – a new generation of European filmmakers challenge Hollywood

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2017 04 06

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European cinema has huge creative potential. However, new talented filmmakers face an uphill battle against Hollywood in the box office. On April 6, during Vilnius IFF organized conference Meeting Point – Vilnius, European filmmakers will gather to discuss opportunities at the most important industry event in the continent – the European Film Forum.

“Since its inception in 2015 European Film Forum has become a fantastic platform for dialogue between film industry and policy makers. We all are aware of the fast pace of the digital revolution which brings with itself both enormous opportunities, but also challenges that have to be addressed. Thus, platforms like this are a vital instrument to advance the film industry.

Here, in Lithuania, we are strongly committed to the vitality of the audiovisual sector in general and film industry in particular, as we recognize that cinema can be a powerful tool for smaller nations to put themselves on the map. Therefore, we are working hard to support film production here in Lithuania both by legislative means and tax policy. I hope you will get a chance to find out about this more during your stay in Lithuania,” says Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson, Lithuanian Culture Minister.

The European Commission introduced the European Film Forum in 2015. Its goals are to strengthen European cinema’s competitive ability, help filmmakers find their audience in Europe and internationally, introduce opportunities and challenges in the digital age, and provide the best examples in audiovisual marketing. 

This initiative united filmmakers. During the annual Forum, which takes place at the biggest film festivals and other events in Europe, participants share their experience during discussions, workshops, and presentations. The Forum attracts professionals, film and TV celebrities. 

This year, the Forum’s discussions already took place during Berlinale. Attendees addressed the importance of using modern technologies, documentary in the post-truth era, women in the contemporary film industry, and the content of virtual reality. 

The European Commission choosing Vilnius to host this event is an important show of approval for the growing and improving Lithuanian film industry. The Forum will be moderated by Michael Gubbins, industry analyst, journalist and consultant specializing in film and digital media. 

How to reach your audience? The European Film Forum will start with a presentation from Martin Blaney, Screen International Eastern Europe correspondent. “Film in New Europe: Progress and obstacles” will assessthe current state of cinema in terms of audiences, market and industry. It will offer statistics of production levels, box office, audience demand, theatrical reach and other key analytics, including piracy and film exports. It will also look at the growth of VOD and other new forms of digital exploitation, on which new opportunities may be built. The analysis will look at differences between bigger and smaller countries, and between so-called New Europe and the rest of the EU. 

Popular films from smaller European countries. A discussion on the impact of films from New Europein their local market and abroad. Strategic advice on how filmmakers, especially those from smaller European countries, can find and keep an audience. Ideas on making popular films that retain their European identity and cultural diversity while going head to head with works from Hollywood. Speakers of this discussion include Edith Sepp, CEO of Estonian Film Institute, Arben Zharku, director of Kosovo Cinematography Center, Marketa Hodouskova, industry expert, Aitziber Atorrasagasti, Director of Culture Promotion for the Basque Government, and Julie-Jeanne Régnault, Head of European Affairs at the CNC. Successful examples of marketing films by European auteurs will be presented by marketing strategist Joanna Solecka from Alphapanda. 

The new generation of filmmakers. One of the main Forum priorities is fostering new talents, so the discussion “Roadmaps to success: new directions in talent development” will also include young filmmakers. This discussion will emphasize the importance of nurturing a new generation of filmmakers who are creative, tech-savvy, entrepreneurial and full of ideas they are able to realize into a successful audiovisual product. 

Participants of the discussion will include Erwin M. Schmidt, Propellor Film Tech Hub, Fernando Vasquez, artistic director of FEST – New Directors Film Festival, Kristina Trapp, CEO of EAVE, and young directors Tereza Nvotova and Karolis Kaupinis.