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Co-Production Market at the Atlantic Film Festival

Strategic Partners Co-Production Market Key to International Film and TV Co-Productions

Now in its 25th year, the Atlantic Film Festival (AFF) is known primarily for its celebration of films from Atlantic Canada and around the world. Lesser known is that the Festival presents the yearly industry event Strategic Partners Co-Production Market that generates millions in international film and television co-productions.

The goal of Strategic Partners is simple: facilitate international co-productions. Created eight years ago, by producers for producers, this is the only event of its kind in Canada’s film festival circuit, and only one of a handful in the world.

From September 16 to 18, Strategic Partners will set up more than 500 pre-scheduled meetings with international producers, financiers, broadcasters and distributors – all of whom are gathered to negotiate the next round of film and television co-productions.

“We introduce them one-on-one, put them in a room for half an hour, and if all goes according to plan, film deals will transpire,” said Jan Miller, director of Strategic Partners. She explained that the first meeting is really just a starting point. “As we all know in the film business, it sometimes takes years before the film actually ends up on the screen,” she said.

“More and more films are financed through international co-productions. Strategic Partners plays a major role in bringing Canadian film producers face-to-face with much-needed sources of finance, broadcasting and distribution,” said Miller.

Atlantic Film Festival’s executive director, Gregor Ash is proud of the event’s success. “Strategic Partners’ track record speaks for itself. Nearly half of last year’s participants reported that they had begun, continued or confirmed deals during the event,” said Ash.

Ira Deutchman, award-winning American producer, involved in the production of the films Matewan, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle and Swimming to Cambodia, agrees. “Strategic Partners does a great job of bringing together high level producers and financiers from around the globe with quality projects. For someone interested in exploring co-production possibilities, it is rapidly becoming a must-attend event,” he said.

Industry reps with numerous projects will be coming from right across Canada. This year Strategic Partners' sees the largest international delegation ever, with the focus on the UK, the US, and a special spotlight on Germany.

In addition to the meetings, there are panel discussions, networking opportunities, an opening keynote address by Cathy Schulman of Bull’s Eye Entertainment, who produced this year’s highly acclaimed film Crash.

There is also the Academy Luncheon that features an intimate conversation with the esteemed director of the 25th AFF’s International Gala, Beowulf & Grendel, Sturla Gunnarsson and his executive producer, Iceland's prolific director, producer, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson. Both guests are prolific, award winning, Oscar-nominated and very highly regarded in the film world. They will speak about their vast and combined experience in the industry at large.

Miller, an expert in the art of pitching herself, loves the thrill of bringing together international industry players in Halifax. “After the insanity we face in organizing 500 meetings over three days, with 150 different people, plus the panels and networking sessions, we just love to stand back and watch the partnerships develop,” she said.

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Chatelin Bruno
(Filmfestivals.com)

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