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Cannes Market...A success for 2011?

64th Cannes Market : Cannes, 2011

Cannes Market2011...Was it a success?

This year's Cannes (2011), I had the opportunity to interview Scott Martin of ARCHSTONE DISTRIBUTION and we spoke about the 64th Cannes Film Festival, their sales company and the results of this year's market in general. It's no secret that since the economic recession of the past few years as well as various changes in modes of distribution outlets, recent market sales have taken a hardhit. However, the mood this year seems to be entirely different; very positive,in fact. As one sales rep told me, ‘the market has been so good this year it'salmost alarming'.

So, what didScott have to say about this year?

First Scott told me about the company he reps, ARCHSTONE DISTRIBUTION. They had arrived at thisyear's Cannes market with a new slate of films and had so far experienced a‘phenomenal market', Scott stated.

SCOTT: Our Berlin was strong. We came to Cannes with high hopes and exceeded those hopes. At this market we have matched our entire sales last year. We just started agenre label called Tombstone, which will allow us to have platform releases for our genre films.

Then Scott when on to list the ARCHSTONE DISTRIBUTION lineup: Will (2011), Fortress (2010), Battle Recon (2011), Amsterdam Heavy (2011), Crossmaglan (2012, in pre-production).

I asked Scottabout the US transition to VOD. While Europe has begun to make this change, US has started much quicker.

SCOTT: At Archstone we sell to the world and at this Cannes there has been a huge pick upin buying. We have strong films at good market prices. We were scared for awhile but now we sold China and Korea, Middle East... Even with financial upheaval in recent times when market slowed down things are now picking up again...In the US market VOD will replace DVD but that hasn't happened yet. Then the next veil after theatrical is TV sales since 2000 aren't good as used tobe.

ME: What in your mind makes a good product for a competitive market like Cannes?

SCOTT: Elements of good product? Well, there's not a secret formula

1) You musthave start with good film and good script.

2) Cast driven is key

3) You should have a genre and what translates.

4) Even though thrillers seem to be the hot thing, I say thrillers are done. Everything is cyclical. Creature films will always have market. WWII films are always sellingout everywhere, like our films FORTRESS (2010) and BATTLE RECON, even though they are made with smaller budget.

SCOTT cont.:US sales are moving into domestic distribution. For North America from DVD toVOD... In LA last year we saw a herd of world sales companies open in the US butthe weaker of these have died out. We started out year and half ago but we'vebeen growing. I think that it's relative to the people working in the company-the sales staff and people running it are producer friendly.

ME: At amarket like Cannes do you ever made pre-sale contracts?

SCOTT: We cando some pre-sales agreements. But the film must be director and cast and content driven. We will start to produce as a company because our distribution is doing so well.

ME: And what kinds of films will your production company oversee?

SCOTT: We will produce two levels of films. Large ones like RING OF FIRE (a mixed martial artsfilm on theatrical level with big names; one each year) while other film genreswith orient of smaller budget with Tombstone (action films, horror, etc.) on a 2-3 year basis.

ME: After Cannes, what are your next markets?

SCOTT: Next markets are... Kip TV. We are gearing up for AFM. By next Cannes we hopeto see some of our own product being screened that we created, keep growing.

ME: How many people does your team consist of? And do you go to all the markets together?

SCOTT: We have 5 on our team... 2 sales and 3 partners, and great support in LA... We work small markets too but we try to just hit the more important as it's a hugeexpense to go to markets so if you've just seen same buyers at a big market it's too expensive to go to less important ones. We also attend film festivals like Telluride and South by South West as we have a film there almost everyyear....

ME: Do you have anything else you'd like to say about ARCHSTONE DISTRIBUTION before thesecond half of the market continues?

SCOTT: Yes. Weare excited about future and where we are going. We are very filmmaker friendly and I believe that's why we grow so well and we are aggressive in marketing. Ourlevel of marketing has to match content because buyers aren't stupid so theyknow what you are selling. So if you are advertising low budget films, you will not sell your titles because you're flooding market and that's not good.Deliver what you promise...

ME: I couldn't agree more for this labyrinth of an industry. ‘Deliver what you promise'. If only...

Interview by,Vanessa McMahon on May 16, 2011

Cannes Market: Cannes, 2011 

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