EFP thus represents a true network of industry professionals whose goal is to increase the circulation and exploitation of European films in Europe and internationally. The organisation, which is highly tuned into market realities, is able to effectively adjust to rapid changes that occur within the film industry as well as to the evolving and challenging world of new technology.
Over the past 15 years, EFP has pursued a two-fold strategy to support European film worldwide: implementation of original approaches to promotion & networking and creation of viable methods to increase access to markets. EFP’s strategies span a broad spectrum and include artistic and business-oriented platforms which support the goal of increasing the visibility and marketability of European films globally
EFP is financially supported by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union and by its member organisations. The Hamburg-based office is backed by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, the Ministry of Culture of the City of Hamburg and the Film Fund Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein. In addition, EFP’s promotion and PR activities are supported by the Centre National du Cinéma et de l'Image animée (CNC).
Martin Schweighofer (Austrian Film Commission)
Rafael Cabrera (ICAA/Spain)
Cristian Hordila (Romanian Film Promotion)
Françoise Lentz (Film Fund Luxembourg)
Teresa McGrane (Irish Film Board)
Mariette Rissenbeek (German Films)
In 1996, the stars aligned, the time was right, and a new idea was born. There had been a growing realization that “European cinema”, a collaborative label, could be of great value in promoting and marketing the beautiful cinematic gems from Europe’s culturally rich countries. The MEDIA Programme was instrumental in developing this concept of a “European network”, and had supported joint initiatives for production and distribution of European films. That year, a number of promotion organisations representing smaller European countries took the first steps in collaborating on joint promotional activities at the Cannes International Film Festival. There was no formal organisational structure – it was simply a group of people sharing the same aim: to develop tools collectively to increase the visibility and marketability of their films.
At the same time, after eight years of supporting the distribution of European films, efdo (European Film Distribution Office) closed its doors, as the MEDIA Programme was restructured, leaving behind a wealth of know-how and a Europeanwide network in its wake. This was fertile ground for the development of a new initiative in promotion and marketing. And as a number of the larger European countries, such as Germany, France and the UK, expressed their support and joined the growing ranks, it became evident that the time was right to formalize the idea. On February 16, 1997, during the Berlin International Film Festival, European Film Promotion (EFP) was founded by ten European promotion/ export organisations. The founding organisations/members were: Austrian Film Commission (Martin Schweighofer), British Screen Finance (Simon Perry), German Films (Christian Dorsch), Flanders Image (Rita Goegebeur), Greek Film Centre (Voula Georgakakou), Holland Film (Claudia Landsberger), Scandinavian Films (Jan Erik Holst), Swiss Films (Kathrin Mu?ller), Unifrance (Bruno Berthemy) and Wallonie Bruxelles Images (Rudi Barnet). Claudia Landsberger, Christian Dorsch and Bruno Berthemy were elected to the Board of Directors and Renate Rose was hired as Managing Director.
From the initial ten Founding Members, the group grew rapidly. As the doors to the East were opened, countries from the new “unified” Europe also petitioned to join. Today, 15 years later, from the original group of ten, EFP has expanded to comprise 33 individual organisations representing 34 European countries.
1997 FIRST STEPS
EFP’s first official initiative is in support of films from smaller European countries at the Cannes Film Market. The initiative had been started in 1996, and EFP stepped in with financing from the MEDIA Programme in 1997 to help create more visibility for the participants at this important international film market. EFP’s support continued through 1999. In 2000, the EFP members created a new initiative in Cannes, PRODUCERS ON THE MOVE, which has grown into a high profile event, honouring some of Europe’s top young up-and-coming producers. As the Toronto International Film Festival began to emerge in the late 90s to eventually become one of the most important international film festivals in the world, EFP saw the potential of the festival as a vital platform for European film, and as a gateway to the US market. EFP’s activities in Toronto remain to this day one of our important initiatives. The festival has also become an essential partner for Film Sales Support. Along with the project-linked grants from the EFP members, EFP received and is still receiving financial support from the MEDIA Programme of the European Union. In EFP’s formative years, the funding was linked to specific projects only, but in 2003 the support was converted into an annual contract for all projects. And in a further show of the MEDIA Programme’s support of EFP initiatives, in 2006 EFP was granted framework partnership agreements for a period of three years. Representing EFP’s host country, the German Minister of State for Culture and Media (BKM) and the Ministry of Culture in Hamburg both provide administrative support for the organisation.
1998 BIGGER IS SOMETIMES BETTER…
In developing collaborative projects, each EFP member brings knowledge and tools unique to their respective country and culture. When these resources are pooled together, there is an extraordinary depth of information and creativity which guide the decisions concerning these projects and initiatives. During the Berlin International Film Festival, a group of young European actors on-the-rise are presented for the first time to the press, industry and public with the new initiative SHOOTING STARS.
This is EFP’s first official step into supporting young up-and-coming talent, which is to become a central and vital aim of the organisation. In ’98, EFP is still a very young organisation, just starting out on its first full year of joint promotional activities. At this first ever edition of the SHOOTING STARS, EFP introduced 16 talented young actors. Since then, a total of 243 new faces have been presented on the international stage in Berlin.
At the Toronto International Film Festival, EFP introduces its first press panel at the festival, New Faces of European Cinema, presenting young European directors and their newest films at North America’s top festival.
At the American Film Market in Los Angeles, an essential stop on the industry calendar, a European Umbrella Office is created for the first time as a service for European sales agents and producers. EFP’s office at the AFM has made it possible for 178 different small - and medium - sized European companies to attend this prestigious market.
1999 EAST MEETS WEST
EFP presents European directors and their films for the first time at the Busan International Film Festival (South Korea). With the launch of the Asian Film Market in 2006, the festival took on a new and expanded role for the region – and for the industry in general. Clearly committed to creating an influential, independent festival and market in the Asian world, Busan offers an opportunity to present quality European films to the pan-Asian industry and to the Korean audience. EFP’s presence in Busan has become a tradition, and has grown alongside the festival, presenting a strong artistic and industry delegation from Europe each year.
2000 ON THE MOVE
EFP launches the initiative PRODUCERS ON THE MOVE at the Cannes Film Festival and Market, leading the way over the years in highlighting the wealth of young producing talent in Europe. Between 2000 and 2011, the initiative has focused the attention of the international press and industry in Cannes on a total of 243 up-and-coming European producers and in this way worked in support of cross-border cooperation on their projects.
2001 AND THE PARTNERSHIPS GROW…
In recognition of the growing importance of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic, EFP establishes a collaboration with the festival and the trade paper Variety and co-presents for the first time Variety Critics’ Choice. Europe Now! (re-named in 2011 Variety’s Ten European Directors to Watch). The initiative presents an official festival sidebar of ten European films by up-and-coming directors, selected by Variety critics in conjunction with the Festival and EFP members. Since its inception, EFP has supported the presence of 110 young European directors and their films with extensive PR activities engaging the press and industry.
2002 ON TOUR
Following on the heels of the successful SHOOTING STARS programme in Berlin, EFP launches the TOURING SHOOTING STARS PROGRAMME in 2002. Adapting the concept and promotional platform used in Berlin, EFP selects several partner film festivals each year which present a group of SHOOTING STARS along with their newest films to the local audience, industry and press. The goal of this initiative is to improve the opportunities for a film’s distribution in a region by engaging the actors directly in the promotional process of their films. These efforts have succeeded in attracting additional local press attention for the films as well as for the actors themselves.
2003 DISCOVERING NEW TALENT
For the first time, EFP presents European directors and their films at the Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival, a young and exciting festival which embraced a strong European line-up of films and directors. The festival attracts international recognition for its programming which includes quality productions by European masters, with an emphasis on director-driven films. The festival also highlights the work of new directors, devoting a large part of its programming to first and second time directors. EFP’s partnership with the festival continues for five years, successfully introducing many new European directors to the local audience and press.
2004 SALES SUPPORT
EFP sets new trends. For its latest programme, Film Sales Support (FSS), EFP receives financial support from the MEDIA Programme to provide funding to sales agents and producers for the promotion and marketing of individual films at four selected non-European film festivals.
Complementing EFP’s efforts to support European films and talent around the world, the initiative helps sales agents and producers to promote and sell their films abroad. FSS grows steadily over the years, and when major film markets are included in the initiative, budgets and partner festivals are increased. Between 2004 and 2011, a total of 906 promotional campaigns for 862 different European feature films, documentaries and animation films benefit from FSS. On average, 45% of the supported films find distribution, in particular in North and South America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East.
In the years 2004 to 2006, in cooperation with the Rotterdam International Film Festival, EFP launches Passions & Promises, a programme in which young European directors take part in public discussions and panels about their creative approach to their work.
In 2004 and 2005, EFP introduces a number of European directors at the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival under the title: New Faces in European Cinema.
2005 SCREENINGS ABROAD AND A NEW NETWORK
EFP initiates a new programme, Industry Screenings in New York, with the goal of introducing new European films to North American buyers. Originally designed to take place twice a year in NYC, each session showcases a group of films from different European countries, all of which have a clear commercial potential, and all of which are seeking US distribution. World sales agents are invited by EFP to attend the screenings and present the films. This programme has presented a total of 41 films in New York since it first started in 2005. Over the past several years, EFP has consolidated the programme by showing films in June only, following closely on the heels of the Cannes Film Festival and Market. 25% of the films presented have successfully secured US distribution.
Fifteen casting directors from seven countries start the International Network of Casting Directors within the framework of the SHOOTING STARS event. The initiative is the first international network of its kind and is aimed exclusively at casting directors who cast feature films. EFP arranges meetings between the SHOOTING STARS and the casting directors, who are in Berlin each year for their annual meeting. The network currently compris 39 members.
2006 CONTINUITY, STABILITY AND LONG TERM PARTNERSHIPS
EFP holds ten different events within and outside of Europe: SHOOTING STARS and Touring SHOOTING STARS Programme, PRODUCERS ON THE MOVE, INDUSTRY SCREENINGS in New York, FILM SALES SUPPORT within the framework of seven international film festivals outside of Europe, and the EUROPEAN UMBRELLA OFFICE at the American Film Market. Promotional platforms at film festivals included Buenos Aires, Karlovy Vary, Toronto and Busan.
2007 BOX OFFICE RULES!
EFP launches a new initiative entitled, PICTURE EUROPE! The Best of European Cinema, which presented European “box-office hits” in selected major European cities. The aim of this initiative was to encourage the development of new, young audiences throughout Europe by presenting films which have been box office hits on a national level. In addition to these potential new audiences, EFP aimed to further cultivate the audiences already devoted to European film via strategic and innovative promotional and marketing activities. Under the banner “Look what’s happening at the neighbours”, EFP presented the screening series in 2007 and 2008 in Madrid, London, Berlin, Copenhagen and Munich. These cities were selected due to their strong cinematic history, their demographics, as well as the possibility of collaboration with established arthouse exhibitors. The selection of films, which vary from city to city, was based on specific criteria, always favouring films which were successful in their native countries.
2008 UP NEXT!
In 2008, EFP takes the lead in presenting screenings of European Oscar entries in Los Angeles during the American Film Market (AFM). The screenings are arranged for the industry as well for Academy members who reside in LA, which is essential to the film’s award possibilities. EFP, in conjunction with the San Sebastian International Film Festival, launches the initiative European Distributors: Up Next! aimed at recognising and supporting some of Europe’s most innovative distributors. Up Next! offered selected European distributors of quality arthouse fare valuable promotion and networking opportunities. Between 2008 and 2010, a total of 28 up-and-coming distributors from 28 different countries participated in this programme.
2009 OPENING DOORS
The Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara (Mexico), one of the partner festivals of Film Sales Support, creates a new initiative with EFP: an umbrella booth at the Mercado de Cine Ibero-Americano, which takes place during the festival. The Umbrella Offices provide European sales agents and production companies with office space and services. The ongoing initiative also promotes European cinema at the event.
2010 MEDIA MUNDUS
In 2010, Istanbul takes on the role of European Capital of Culture, which provided a unique background for a one-time EFP initiative at the prestigious Istanbul International Film Festival. The programme, Bridges Europe-Turkey, highlighted European and Turkish films by up-and-coming directors. The aim is to facilitate and improve the distribution of European films in Turkey and, reciprocally, Turkish films in Europe. The directors were invited to present their films to the audience, and the attending industry representatives have the chance to see the latest films from Europe and Turkey. The activities were supported by the EU’s newly established MEDIA Mundus Programme.
With the financial support of MEDIA Mundus, EFP develops and launches Producers Lab Toronto as well, a programme for 12 European and 12 Canadian producers in collaboration with the Ontario Media Development Corporation and the Toronto International Film Festival. The aim of this on-going initiative is to create tangible opportunities for filmmakers to meet and exchange projects, ideas and knowledge with the aim of increasing the number of co-productions between Europe and Canada. The European producers are selected from the PRODUCERS ON THE MOVE initiative, and the Canadian participants are selected by EFP’s Canadian partners.
2011 NEW MARKETS
In the framework of the Film Sales Support programme, EFP creates a European Umbrella booth at the Hong Kong International Film and TV Market to provide opportunities for producers and sales agents at this important and growing market.