An interesting look inside part of the German film industry.
For a ‘normal’ visitor at the Berlin International Film Festival, waiting for a ticket can be a tedious process. Getting to the front of a line can take hours. But for people with the right credentials draped around their necks, it’s as simple as picking a movie and having a barcode scanned.Those special badges are worn by participants of the European Film Market EFM, which runs parallel to the ‘Berlinale’ film festival. Some 40 cinemas are occupied from early in the morning until late at night, screening submissions from more than 400 participating companies.
The EFM is geared specifically towards industry insiders, and the films on display represent a cross-section of what’s being offered on the international cinema market.
For cinemas to do brisk business, the industry needs to produce good movies with the potential to become hits.
As an industry platform, the EFM aims to promote new and emerging talent and organizes a number of programs designed to facilitate collaborations and productions in development.
But straightforward marketing accounts for the bulk of activity. Thorsten Ritter, from Bavaria International’s feature films division, says his days at the EFM pass like clockwork. Each day, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. he speaks with potential buyers in 30 minute sessions.
“After five or six days you start to stare through the people,” he said. “And we don’t just stand at our booth all day. At night there are receptions and parties which are equally important for business. They’re fun, but it really is work.”
Germany scores well on the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index sub-index of entrepreneurial aspirations so it is not a surprise to see events and networks like the EFM emerging in innovative, global industries such as film.