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Panel: reaching niche audiences

BY ANDREAS WISEMAN A panel of distributers here in Berlin discussed the difficulties of reaching niche audiences in a cluttered marketplace and how fresh forms of digital distribution are opening up possibilities for foreign-language titles. Despite the plethora of options

now available, the panel agreed video-on-demand (VoD) was not a panacea, and only worked on select titles. “In the last year and a half, the

VoD platform has become much more crowded and it’s increasingly difficult to get films recognised,” said Ryan Werner of IFC Films. “Our next films for the Dardenne brothers will be only theatrical.” Ed Arentz of Music Box Films,

Eve Gabereau of Soda Pictures, Tribeca Enterprises’ Geoffrey Gil- more and James Velaise of Pretty Pictures completed the panel, chaired by Screen editor Mike Goodridge at a packed Gropius Mirror Restaurant on Saturday.

The panellists at the debate,

which was co-hosted by Screen, also recognised the increasing difficulty of locking down TV deals and the growing impor- tance of event films such as Pina. “Netflix is our TV network,” com- mented Arentz. “The TV is blur- ring into the computer,” added Velaise. Critics are still vitally impor-

tant, the panellists agreed, but stressed there was still work to be done to change the perception of foreign-language titles. Gilmore said: “I think there is a

transition that has half taken place, which is the disassociation of the idea of foreign-language film with being an art film. Cer- tainly some of my colleagues here have done that [Arentz released the Millennium trilogy in the US to massive results]. But there is still the tendency among critics to see foreign language through an art-film prism and only evaluate it in a single way.”

Marina Abramovic, artist and subject of Matthew Akers’ Berlinale selection Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present, celebrated the film’s premiere at a ‘silent party’ at Berlin’s KW Gallery on Saturday. Guests wore lab coats and earmuffs, and drank Champagne as they mingled in silence. The event was hosted by Museum of Modern Art curator Klaus Biesenbach, and guests included Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci, artist Ulay and musician Peaches.

Cinando revamps offerings

BY WENDYMITCHELL Industry platform and database Cinando has relaunched this week with a fresh look and functionality. Improvements include a wider

variety of search options, integra- tion with Twitter and Facebook, and more prominence for the streaming video library. The site now streams 2,500 titles for buy- ers. Sellers are able to invite buy- ers to download personalised,

protected copies of films to play on a computer, burn onto a DVD or — next month — play via iTunes. Cinando’s last major redesign

took place four years ago. “In four years, the way people use the inter- net has changed a lot,” said Jérome Paillard, the Cannes Market direc- tor who launched Cinando. The site has around 35,000 reg-

istered users.

Highmore meets Bardot

BY GEOFFREYMACNAB Carol Polakoff and her production partners are in discussions with Freddie Highmore to star in UK- France co-production Waiting For Bardot, based on the novel by Andy Martin, with Will Frears (son of Stephen) directing. The story follows two teenage

boys who embark on a pilgrimage to St Tropez in France to meet Brigitte Bardot. Peter Carlton of Warp Films is co-producing. Polakoff has revealed further

details of her other European co- productions. Eran Riklis will direct Secret Sky, written by Micah Schraf t and Abdi Nazemian. Polakoff is working on the film with Alexandra Stone of CMP Film. The film is based on the true

story of a US human-rights law- yer who grew up in Iran, but whose family were forced to leave during the 1979 revolution. She returns to represent teenage boys imprisoned for being gay. Polakoff is also partnering with

Ruby Films for the adaptation of Zadie Smith’s On Beauty.

n 4 Screen International at the Berlinale February 13, 2012

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