The Independent Distribution Conference analyzes the current situation of this sector in Spain with the aim of detecting its problems and proposing possible solutions
10/24/2017.- Today the Valladolid International Film Festival held a roundtable discussion on the present and the future of the film industry in a context marked by the emergence of new distribution and exhibition platforms. This discussion started the Independent Distribution Conference, scheduled in the framework of the 62nd edition to analyze the current situation of Spanish cinema distributors with the aim of detecting its problems and posing possible solutions.
Coordinated by former Seminci director Fernando Lara and moderated by Miguel Morales (ADICINE), the Conference was also made possible by the help of ICAA, the Spanish Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences, Filmin, and the Association of Independent Distributors (ADICINE). The Conference also happens to coincide precisely with the 25th anniversary of ADICINE and the 10th of Filmin.
The roundtable discussion, moderated by Fernando Lara, was attended by Miguel Morales, president of ADICINE, Juan Antonio Gómez Fabra, president of the Federation of Spanish Cinema Exhibitors (FECE), Enrique Costa (Ávalon Distribution), Eduardo Escudero (A Contracorriente Films), Andrés Martín (Vértigo Films), Álex Martínez Roig (Movistar+), Carlos Rojano (Filmax), and Juan Carlos Tous (Filmin).
“Independent distribution plays a fundamental role because it provides variety and diversity to the film scene,” said Fernando Lara. He also highlighted that the films distributed by these companies make up between 20 and 25% of Spain’s annual revenue.
Miguel Morales described how the film market has changed in the 25 years of Adicine: “in financing, cinema matters, but home cinema, DVDs, and television no longer work; VOD’s [Video On Demand] do not compensate for what was lost with the DVD, and exhibition has gone from 35-millimeter copies to digital distribution, so there is no continuity in the display, however we have programming passes.
Juan Carlos Tous recalled that “ten years ago many of us met here” to launch Filmin. “We immediately saw that what was happening with music and other content was going to happen with cinema as well, so we came together to figure out a solution to what we knew was to come.” For the first time in ten years, Filmin has closed its accounts in the positive. “For ten years, Filmin has been maintained by the effort of its partners,” said Tous. He pointed out that the platform “has not come to cannibalize operators, but to complement them. “
Juan Ramón Gómez Fabra described the three major problems that the exhibition sector has suffered: “piracy, which in Spain has been very harmful, confiscatory taxation, and a technological change from analogue to digital projectors.” This last problem is an investment without public aid whose burden has been carried by both the exhibition and distribution industries.
Álex Martínez Roig believes that nowadays “television series are a monumental phenomenon which the cinema fails to emulate.” “Cinema is the last stronghold when it comes to maintaining a model which is not the one that users demand,” since, in his opinion, the public claims immediacy. “The investment of a movie is very strong in the premiere and then it seems to fall off, until it comes up again when it premieres on the VOD platforms.” In this way, it costs a lot to fund them: “movies come to theaters with a value and by the time they reach the platforms, they have lost part of that value.”
Andrés Martín explained that, on the one hand, the industry and directors “are turning to television series.” These have a comfortable format for screenwriters because “stories can develop a different way, and because it also guarantees them a fixed job for a long period of time”. Television series “keep the public at home,” while “the type of audience that goes to see the cinema that we distribute has aged.”
In that line, Eduardo Escudero insisted that “we have lost one or two generations of viewers,” and lamented that the cinema “is not a question of the State.” He also highlighted the work of independent distributors, who “are not mere intermediaries, but add value,” and insisted that it is key to recover audiences through education.
Carlos Rojano said that independent distributors “are very necessary for Spanish cinema, possibly, much more now than a few years ago.” This is due to the fact that these companies not only “distribute Spanish cinema in theaters and on all possible platforms, but we collaborate with the producers in the financing and sale of films, and we take their films all over the world”.
Finally, Enrique Costa insisted that “the future of distributors is tied to the cinema,” because, he recalled, “the experience in the cinema is infinitely better than in any other platform.” Therefore, he advised that distributors and exhibitors should “work together to go about recovering the experience of cinema in theaters, as exhibitors are our best allies.”
During the same day, representatives of distribution, as well as public and private television operators, participated in a working session behind closed doors. The exhibitors will join this meeting of professionals from the sector on the 25th. Additionally, this Wednesday at 13:30, also in the Hall of Mirrors, the findings will be exposed in an event open to the public.