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Radmila Djurica

Radmila Djurica is your guide to the festival scenes: Sarajevo, Cannes and many more

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Sarajevo Film Festival 2008 - CineLink Film Funding

Sarajevo Film festival CineLink is the industry section of the Sarajevo Film Festival. Its activities are spread trough out the year and are designed to meet the current needs of Europe’s film industry in reshaping. Festival workshops are concentrating on script development, financing and marketing, that producers and authors of selected feature-fiction projects undertake before presenting their projects at the CineLink Market. Taking place during the last three days of Sarajevo Film Festival, every August CineLink Co-production Market presents the best of feature fiction projects. Market is based on the CineMart model, ‘’one to one’’ meetings in order to link the projects with potential partners. It attracts over 300 delegates from all film industry sectors, allowing the authors and producers to close the entire structure of their projects at one place.

Ever since the begining of the film the art of filmmaking has exploded into a megaplex of ideas for the past 103 years. Over the years, film financing has become one the most complex and risky investments. Never the less Hitchcocks, and Spielbergs of the world to land with financing deals, there are viable avenues for independent filmmakers to secure financing, depending of the cinematography. Once you decide on a project, it is imperative that you immediately choose your distribution platform (I.e. film, television or cable) and not wait until after the project is shot. Also to memorize your distribution plan, which will become part of the pitch to your investors. By showing an investor a concise and detailed game plan along with enthusiasm, you will make them feel more comfortable in investing in your project. In that spirit and the spirit of Cannes Festival Future of the Film Funding Panel, on Sarajevo Film Festival  we spoke to a really interesting guests. And even if it sounds very local, it can be applied for individual different countries.

Promoting Your Culture  In Sarajevo


CINESTYRIA Film Commission and Funds from Austria offers service for all filming and TV projects launched in Styria, Austria with special emphasis on their exploitation internationally and the tourism value of the projects. The company includes film funding and film service and major aspects of their focus is on supporting producers . All interested parties of the film and television productions implemented in Styria realizing their projects for an international public.


We are talking to Enrico Jacob, Secretary General of CINESTYRIA Film Commission and Fonds.

“Its a film fund and a film commission and what we do is getting funding to the productions which are shoot in Austria in Styria and we make film commission which mean that we support film production companies.”


The finance support are getting what kind of films?

“Any kind of films. Documentaries as well as a feature films, but the first criteria is to shoot it in Styria. Of course, companies has to make a stand of that money they get while  everyone needs much more of what they get.”


What kind of people get your money?

 “We only give support production company, so that the film production company are actually in charge.”


Production in Austria?

“All productions we give funding to are coming from small market of Austria, and most of the co-productions we do with Germany, because Austrian Market is far too small to stand alone, which works very wel. We make less co-production with Slovenia, in nowadays.

 I think there are all level of creative potentials here…”


What do you think about co-productions with big Hollywood productions?

“Sometimes every now and then, there are Hollywood co-productions in Austria and Germany or just Austria. Im not really interested with it because we dont need them and they dont need us really. American and European co-productions are so different. They dont have to be mixed up. I think European film has one of the most important difference to me.  America is the country, a continent with one language so far. And their language is spoken in other parts of Europe. Europe is so diverted, so many languages. You can never match up with this market.”


“I think that there is a possibility of creating and increasing European films. In order to do that we need to step into Eastern and Western co productions: Rumanian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Bosnian films together with Austrian companies to make a film. Today, nobody in Germany want to read the movies, to read subtitles. Everyone wants to leanback in their sofa and just enjoy the movie. I think we have to make co-productions. There are small companies in Finland that use subtitles, but most of the big market dont.”


Alternative way of funding film?

“Every new idea is good if it works. It has to bring out good movies. Like in Britain, every good movie idea is starting with distributor, director or producer. I think that alternative way of funding can not be denied because we need to be frank about it. I dont know any secret of salvation for the film production in Europe. I think we have to look out if we can cope with changing situation in Europe. One of the main main problem is the funding of small countries that needs to lend their money. While we have more then enough money to make our own films, but we need a good stories as well.”


What sort of stories?

“I think a good story is the story which audience identify herself with, whatever that story will be. When I go to the cinema  I identify myself with characters and if I can live with film character for next hour, that’s a good story.”


Future of the European film?

“Nobody knows that. All the media is mixed up. We watch movies not only at cinema but also at homes, in the meantime we have other things, and thats a different situation then 10 years ago and we can never go back there. We need too look out for young people, we need creativity of young people who work in cinema. We need their good films, creativity, energy, enthusiasm, that’s our future I think.”   .



Industry Independent Distributors on Sarajevo Film Festival

The second thing important for film funding industry are Independent Distributors. First, they can distribute smaller films. Second, you can negotiate a better deal, because you and the distributor are on the same level. Third, they will offer more personal attention, as well as support the film. The disadvantages are that they have limited financial resources. This will impact the number of theaters in which your film will be screened. However, there are many other ways that filmmakers fund their film. One way are grants from foundations, individual and/or corporate investors, and, are very often fund out of their own pockets.

EastWest Filmdistribution is a feature film sales company  that specializes in the promotion and sale of European and Independent feature films. Founded in November 2004 by Sasha Wieser and Steve Walsh, the have over thirty years experience in all aspects of international film production and distribution. With a strong global network of experienced film professionals, EastWest does world cinema and represents it to a worldwide audience. EastWest Film Distribution recently announced that “A Hero’s Welcome” has won 2 awards: Best Feature Film at the First Step Award 2008 (Germany) and the Award for Best Actor for Hanno Koffler at the Durban IFF 2008. Film “The Investigation” has also won two prizes. The main prize in the Best Scripted Film Competition at the 14th Film and Art Festival Film Summer in Warsaw, as well as the Award for Best Director at the Bucharest Film Festival. Then Award for a “Hero’s Welcome” for  Brigitte Maria Bertele that won the NDR Award for The Best First Feature Film at the Emden International Film Festival - a disturbing and topical story of a young soldier’s return from Afghanistan to the quiet of his Black Forest home. EastWest presented the following films at this year's Cannes Film Market. Also “THE WEDDING’ is being released right across Europe. Its a Wojtek Smarzowski’s black comedy opened in the UK in December.


One of the most fascinating stories behind EastWest Filmdistribution is that it has commissioned a journalist to investigate the facts behind “Yarik”, story of a little boy lost in Moscow who falls into the hands of one of the world’s most evil trades – the trade in human organs. Every year in Russia, approximately 12,000 children disappear. The research tells the story behind this figure, a story that would rather be left hidden in the shadows.


And on Sarajevo Film Festival we are talking to one of EastWest Film Distribution directors Sasha Wieser.


What is EastWest Film Distribution?

„ We are sales agents. And we also have post-production house.

The idea was to find film from Eastern Europe and sale it to the rest of the world. As a post-production house we are working in Europe, since middle of 90s. And our job is to show the films to a wider audience.“


What kind of films you choose to distribute as a sale office?

“We started with film “Mirage” 2005, our aim is to choose feature films over documentaries  in a maximum 2 or 3 years to start business. We think that some films are made for cinema and that should be showed in cinemas. Sometimes we make more money then we planned, that depends of the kind of films we distribute.”


 You distribute social art house films and heavy dramas. Tell us about the type of audience that possible like films you distribute?

“People are looking for interest to watch films, and they think that they are not introduced to watch art house films. On Internet you can get all blockbusters, but there are no possibility to get art house or social films. I think it’s about time to learn about the films language. You have to be open-minded, to enjoy this kind of art. I think it’s good possibility to promote these films through festivals where you make sure that you have audience. Maybe with a little bit propaganda and marketing people can get more and more to read about such films. For instance how to promote Polish comedy? This film is very hard to put in European cinema, because people don’t know about Polish film and about their political situation. European Union want to promote Polish cinema. So I think it has to do something about good film. I think if you are promoting it already in your mind, with this thinking  people are getting interested about good movie. Its the way it comes from. People are used to understand American language: it’s  most understandable language, easy to cope with. But with E European film you have to know a little bit about country, you have to know about culture. In some countries, people do not know where Bosnia is. To understand Bosnian film you have to know this. In the film “Mirage” we have Albanians in Macedonia and you(I’m coming from ex yugoslavian countr) could understand it much better then anyone else. Maybe we should find the language to transport this to the wider audience.”


How much you invested in film “Mirage” for distribution?

“60 000 Euros, we do 4 to 6 films per year.”


What kind of criteria do you use when you choose the film?

“I have to like the film. I can’t select the film I dont like. If I dont like the film the audience wouldnt like it. I like to choose the film with good story or a good political message. For example theres Russian film about children organ trade. We did some research and we believe that in one year 65000 children were imported from Russia for an official adaptation and have been killed for the organs sale. Even if we have started the investigation we had to stop it on certain point, because it was too dangerous to go through it any more. And viewing this problem to the rest of the world is very difficult. I think you have to show this to a wider audience in order to make this problem public.”


About film financiers?

“It is getting more difficult to finance these kind of films. I think that it is possible to raise that money out of European countries. If you get support then you also have to support others...”


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