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 Igor Stankovic, the head of MCF MegaCom Film, the distributor with biggest market share in Serbia when it comes to independent and European titles. During 10 years of existence, MCF has worked on providing good titles, conducting creative marketing campaigns and being a reliable partner for the exhibitors. MCF has also worked on creating target audience, helping the cinema viewers to form a good cinematical taste and sensibility to certain artistic language and topics.
As the producer of Auteur Film Festival and also one of the important partners of Belgrade International Film Festival Fest, MCF is a key player of independent and European films distribution. MCF is also a licensee of Twentieth Century Fox for Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania, and important player on the Serbian VOD market.
FNE: What are the innovative strategies that you choose to apply in film distribution?
Igor Stankovic: Our marketing campaigns are very distinctive, created to reach broad audiences and involving various promotional partners. We want to be seen in places where you don’t really expect us, which makes us very visible. Also, we’re orienting more and more to the web, investing our time and creativity into creating impactful campaigns for our titles. Believing that the web is the future platform of the distribution, we’re also investing in VOD applications, and we’re getting ready to make our first online premiere for a suitable title.
FNE: Are there any challenges implied by these innovations?
I.S.: Some of the exhibitors believe that focusing on the web could be potentially harmful for them. Maintaining good relations with them, and staying on the course of action is the biggest challenge.
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.S.: The International Film Festival FEST is the biggest and most prominent festival in Serbia, but it’s not a good platform for all; it works for more upscale titles. Auteur Film Festival is a great platform for real, good art house titles.
FNE: How does a success (or "disappointment") in a festival relate to a success (or "disappointment") in cinemas?
I.S.: The success of a film in a festival is usually a very good indicator of success in cinemas, but there are cases when the film “spends” its capacity in festivals and there’s no audience for the cinemas afterwards.
FNE: Does piracy affect your VOD/DVD releases and is there anything you can do in order to prevent it?
I.S.: Piracy affects all the releases, not only the VOD/DVD. It’s accepted in the society and nobody feels bad about it. Since there’s no strategy on the level of the state, it’s impossible to fight it in a systematic way and achieve results. Our strategy is to release all titles as soon as possible, before they get on piracy sharing platforms.
FNE: Which film do you think might describe your work in the most accurate way and why?
I.S.: Maybe it's the festivals we produce that are representing our work in the best way. Both Auteur Film Festival and the children’s film festival Kids Fest are showing our ability to organize events, do marketing on a big scale and endure in challenging projects. And what is of utmost importance, the two festivals represent a great platform for independent titles, making them stand out in the highly competitive environment of Hollywood production. This year we celebrated 20 years of Auteur FF and 10 years of Kids Fest.