FNE focus on European Sales: Wide Management and Eye on Films


VENICE: FNE spoke to Loic Magneron president of international film sales company Wide Management and founder of the unique project Eye on Films about his strategy to bring more films to more audiences.

Wide is one of the international sales agents that often acquires films from Central and Eastern Europe. Recently the Croatian film The Priest’s Children directed by Vinko Bresan and produced by Interfilm was sold successfully by Wide internationally after scoring big at the local box office at home in Croatia.

Paris based Wide was founded by its president Loic Magneron in 2005 to acquire and distribute what Magneron describes as humanistic films focused on social issues that are often “politically incorrect.” These are auteur and indie films but not necessarily art house he stresses.

“But the film should have a strong marketing angle that will allow us to bring it to a wider public,” said Magneron. This includes films from any part of the world as long as it has strong feelings or raises strong issues. This includes films from the CEE region and Magneron said that right from the start he was not afraid to take on and sell films that are ‘unsellable’.

With a father who was a filmmaker and almost 30 years of experience in the business himself Magneron knew what he wanted when he set up Wide Management.

“From the very beginning I knew that Wide needed to be extremely close to festivals. We worked on the link between festival promotion and the distribution side. We now have a library of more than 600 titles.”

But after his experience working with difficult titles he knew that something more was needed to bring these films to a wider audience and The Eye on Films project supported by MEDIA Mundus and coordinated by the Wide Management label was born two years ago.

Bringing together 86 international partners, including 46 festivals and 40 distributors, the project aims to implement a selection of a dozen of recent films, 1st or 2nd feature films (fiction, animation, long-length documentaries), not only European, never screened or released outside their country of origin.

“Distribution needs visibility and press to sell a film to an audience. Working with film festivals is a way to do that. Eye on Films is a way of connecting the commercial and non-commercial side of the film industry.”

“These days if you don’t sell a film in two months the film is dead, The film can become a ‘festival film’ , you don’t sell it. It just goes to festivals.”

Magneron divides the present industry into two types of business; cultural and commercial and cultural and non-commercial.

“This is a deviation of the system,” he says, “we have to connect these two and Eye on Films is a way to connect the commercial and non-commercial. We find a connection between the festival and the distributor. We make sure the film gets publicity that supports the film. And this communication should be global and continue all year round not just at the festival.”

Eye on Films aims to create a global brand for the films it handles. This brand is bringing a new generation to have a look at new talents and first time directors. The target audience should know and trust the Eye on Films brand and know that this is bringing to them interesting films that they will want to see even though the names of the talents might be unfamiliar to them.

How it works:

Eye on Films is supported by MEDIA Mundus. The producer gives 5% to the Eye on Film Fund, he invests 5% of the producer’s share of the sales to the Eye on Films label

There is a network of festivals and distributors with Wide Management as the coordinator. In over the past two years Eye on Films has selected 40 titles.

Eye on Films gives the titles it selects visibility and promotion through festivals and other media-especially new media.

“Eye on Films now works with new media” says Magneron, “ We believe we must experiment. VOD does not make any money yet. There is so much global information.

For small films day and date could work. But day and date is only for a specific type of film. We are experimenting with what we call I love Mondays when we do a sneak preview on the internet for a few hours where you can download the film for free as a way to promote the film. We have been doing this as an experiment for six months but I think we need one year for the results to see if it is working.”

Recent sneak previews from 18:00-24:00 in France had 10-15,000 viewers each time. Magneron says that because of this the distributor was able to get more screen time for the film’s theatrical release