FNE together with Europa Distribution is launching a new chapter of the Distributor of the Month section. This time we focus on new strategies in film distribution and the importance of domestic film festivals in releasing new titles. We will also be looking at what distributors can do in order to prevent piracy.
This month we speak to Andreas Thim, the head of Thimfilm. He founded Thimfilm in 2006, aiming to become an important player on the Austrian film market. Early successes like the theatrical release of Echte Wiener - Die Sackbauer Saga (2008) with more than 370,000 admissions, paved the way for becoming a successful independent distribution company in Austria.
While still mainly focussed on releasing Austrian films, Thimfilm's growth became more and more dependent on films from foreign countries. The majority of the European films released by Thimfilm are German and French, which results from a high output of films from these countries, as well as the regional connection between Austria and Germany.
FNE: What are the innovative strategies that you choose to apply in film distribution?
Andreas Thim: As a film distributor you can’t only rely on conventional strategies. There is a large quantity of films which are released in the cinema every week. The film distributor has to control and navigate them. Therefore, we have to know our audiences very well. Who is the person that would like to watch our movie? How do we reach them? Especially the relationship between the distributor and the exhibitor is very important. Regarding smaller films, which are targeted to special interest groups, the key is to reach them with uniquely tailored press and marketing activities.
FNE: Are there any challenges implied by these innovations?
A.T.: The biggest challenge is to really know our audiences. We have to know our audiences as well as Facebook, Google and Amazon knows theirs. But this is not an easy task to fulfill.
FNE: What festival is the most important showcase in your country for your films and why? Are there any other showcases in your country besides this festival?
A.T.: In the context of the European film industry the Diagonale in Graz is a very important festival for us. They have a very good program selection and first performances in Europe. Other than that, the Viennale is important for us nationwide.
FNE: How does a success (or "disappointment") in a festival relate to a success (or "disappointment") in cinemas?
A.T.: Unfortunately, it happens that a successful film in a festival won’t be a hit at the box office.
FNE: Does piracy affect your VOD/DVD releases and is there anything you can do in order to prevent it?
A.T.: Of course piracy does affect our VOD/DVD releases. We work together with VAP (association for anti-piracy in Austria) in order to decrease piracy. It is important that adequate laws will be created, especially in the European Union. Otherwise, it is very difficult to prevent piracy.
FNE: Which film do you think might describe your work in the most accurate way and why?
A.T.: Wild Tales by Damián Szifrón. Always on the verge of insanity.