FNE together with Europa Distribution have launched its new Distributor of the Month series.
In recognition of the hard work and excellence of European distributors and the common problems they face especially in the transition to digitalization we choose a distributor from each country covered by FNE each month. We look at the challenges and the successes faced by those distributors who are members of Europa Distribution with a special series of interviews that offer insights that other distributors of European films can benefit from and a platform for the exchange of ideas. This month we focus on Romania and we continue our series with an interview with Ileana Cecanu, managing director of Transilvania Film.
How does the market in your country differ from other countries? What is specific about the Romanian market? How is independent distribution doing in your market today?
Romanian cinematography is very appreciated and awarded abroad, we have great directors and actors, great scriptwriters and amazing producers, but this doesn't result in a big number of admissions in Romania at the moment. But we are growing. If we are to compare Romania with other countries in Europe, there is a lack of theaters in Romania. We deal with many cities without any screens, and the arthouse audience is quite small. We don't have many arthouse cinemas and when releasing a title, an independent distributor has to consider a very low number of copies.
But we are optimistic, and we have reasons to be: the number of screens has grown in the past two years, we also started to release titles on DCP, and we focus mainly on bringing good quality product and increasing the numbers of this important community of real movie lovers.
How competitive is your market for European films (national and non-national)?
It's very competitive and this is a great thing. We think the competition is very helpful for both distributors and audiences. It gives quite a wide choice to the audience, but it's a great challenge for the distributor. And this keeps you thinking and improving all the time: How can I track the best title for my audience and how can I find the best ways to promote it?
What kind of films seem to work well with audiences in your market?
The blockbusters are the ones that work best, of course, the movies made by the major film studios. Animation features, superheroes movies and comedies are the ones that lead the way in the Romanian audience's preferencies. But when it comes to independent titles, I would say that the best audience we have is for titles with a very well-known director or an impressive cast.
What are the major areas that you focus on? (theatrical/DVD/VOD/TV distribution, production, exhibition...)
We focus mainly on theatrical release (the DVD market doesn't work so well and the VOD platforms are at the beginning), but we also release titles on DVD regularly. We have closed deals with major VOD platforms and we also offer titles to the main TV stations. We handle all rights for our titles.
What is your film acquisition policy?
Our objective is to offer at least one title per month to all movie lovers, with a special view towards the arthouse, upscale segment. Also, a big accent is put on the acquisition of new and original titles from across the world, with a special emphasis on European and Romanian cinema. Last year we released 18 titles and we will release 13 by the end of this year. In this autumn Transilvania film plans to release for the first time a 3D animation, Ronal the Barbarian.
What films have been your biggest hits?
Among the Romanian films, Tudor Giurgiu's Love Sick/Legături bolnăvicioase was the most successful Romanian film we released. It had 22.000 admissions in 2006. Dan Chişu's road movie The Bear/Ursul, released in 2011, was the second most successful Romanian film wereleased in terms of admissions.
What are your upcoming releases and how will you promote them?
On the 14 September 2012 we will release a very appealing feature, the comedy Of Snails and Men/Despre oameni şi melci, the second feature from director Tudor Giurgiu. The producer/director and three of the most acclaimed Romanian actors, Andi Vasluianu, Monica Bîrlădeanu and Dorel Vişan, worked jointly with the famous French father and son actors Jean Francois and Robinson Stevenin, to deliver a memorable bitter-sweet comedy about Romania's wild and bumpy economy rides. We plan a huge promotion campaign that has already started and one of the biggest national release for a Romanian title, reaching more then 35 cities in Romania.
We will also release great titles such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the 3D animation Rolan the Barbarian and the wonderful comedy Come as You Are by the end of this year, and we plan to promote each of them differently.
Transilvania Film is an ambitious cinema, video and TV distribution company for a series of very select arthouse titles, including prize winners at the most important international film festivals. Conceived by the same team behind the success of the Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF, www.tiff.ro), held in Cluj-Napoca every year, the main goal of Transilvania Film is to offer the Romanian public a wide range of movie titles, with an emphasis on the arthouse segment. Transilvania Film was founded in 2003 and has been active on the film distribution market since December 2004. It has released 86 films in cinemas so far, including 16 Romanian films.