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 speake to Ivo Andrle, the head of the Czech film distribution company Aerofilms.
FNE: What are the innovative strategies that you choose to apply in film distribution?
Ivo Andrle: We are trying to stay in close touch with the cinemas and the audiences to understand WHAT and WHEN they want on one side, and with the sales and producers to understand what they have available on the other side. We try to match those two sides with the right content. Our job is to make sure that the right content is communicated and delivered to the right people at the right time.
I understand that this is a very general description, but beyond that lies the core of our work - individual, careful and creative planning of every single release of each title. Since our line up consists of very different films, it is crucial for the sustainability of our business to stay flexible and open to any new ideas and inspirations. We can't get lazy. That is our strategy.
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?
I.A.: Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is the most prestigious and useful platform for distributors to try to get some positive PR, marketing and publicity for the films to be released. It is basically the biggest film event in the territory with the most public and media attention.
There are quite a few other showcases that can be interesting for distributors, especially in case of some special smaller titles (like the Spanish film festival, LGBT etc.).
FNE: How does a success (or "disappointment") in a festival relate to a success (or "disappointment") in cinemas?
I.A.: I would say success in a festival can help smaller films to create expectations and interest and to widen its target audience, especially if the presentation of the film at the festival is skilfully handled by the PR and marketing tools of the distributor.
But this really only works for some kind of films. In general, the festival audience and the regular cinema goers and box office are two different things, as we all know.
FNE: Does piracy affect your VOD/DVD releases and is there anything you can do in order to prevent it?
I.A.: Piracy affects not only VOD/DVD releases, but also theatrical, of course. There is not much a single distributor can do, since this is an all-industry matter where the big key players hold most of the clues. Our little donation to this is to make sure that our films are available on any legal platforms as soon as possible.
This way we can make sure that the usual user's complaint, "I wouldn't watch it illegally if it was available legally," is not valid. Still, many people would just prefer "free" illegal consumption to paying, of course. But we need to give people a chance to watch our films legally. Gradually, the online viewers are moving towards the paid stuff when it's convenient, comfortable, high-quality, reliable, fresh and a wide selection.
FNE: Which film do you think might describe your work in the most accurate way and why?
I.A.: I would name the recent success of Nymphomaniac, which generated approximately 130,000 admissions (both parts cumulative), but at the same time we are very happy with the results of The Lunchbox, which we released with a very modest budget and only on a few screens.
But we worked very closely with those cinemas and made sure they would keep the film on screen for a longer time as we really believed in the positive word of mouth. This proved to be true and both the cinema operators and the cinema goers were happy, and so was the distributor.
Jirečkova 8 Prague 7 170 00, Czech Republic Phone:+420 224 947 566 , +420 224 947 566 , +420 224 947 566 , +420 224 947 566
Aerofilms is a Czech film distribution company that extends the activities of the three largest art-house cinemas in Prague - Bio Oko, Aero and Svetozor. The line-up is open to productions from any territory of the world, and is not limited to any date of production. It also includes documentaries. Also found at the arthouse cinemas served by Aerofilms are many screenings of alternative content. This includes, the METinHD, ballets, concerts and live transmissions from the National Theater London (NTL Live).
Aerofilms also pays attention to high profile, classic masterpieces by releasing some of these outstanding films in excellent quality for the first time in the territory on DVD.