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daily tiger 42nd International Film Festival Rotterdam #5 Monday 28 January 2013 ZOZ voor Nederlandse editie (NEWS P3) (Longing for the rain / our nixon / my sister’s quinceaÑera P5) (36 P7) Following a successful first day of meetings, IFFR’s Head of Industry/CineMart Manager Marit van den Elshout welcomes CineMart delegates and other industry professionals for drinks in de Doelen. photo: Ruud Jonkers A room of its own Further details have been revealed of IFFR in the Cloud, the new gateway for festival filmmakers to reach international audiences via iTunes. By Geoffrey Macnab   Through a ground-breaking partnership with French digital distribution company and aggregator Under The Milky Way, IFFR is opening up its very own “room” on iTunes ( where – initially – viewers from the Benelux will be able see selected Rotterdam titles. Under The Milky Way first approached Rotterdam last year, shortly after Cannes. “I don’t remember if we were really talking about iTunes or if it was a more general proposal at that stage”, recalls Juliette Jansen, who oversees distribution at IFFR.  “For us, the interesting thing about the proposal was that we really needed a partner to internationalize our distribution policy.” Effective distribution “It all started last year, when I was invited here to give a talk on digital distribution”, Under The Milky Way CEO Pierre-Alexandre Labelle explains of why he decided to pitch the festival. The aim for both parties is, as Labelle puts it, to help “filmmakers and rights holders who often bring films to great festivals like Rotterdam but have a hard time getting effective distribution on a global basis.” IFFR already had its own distribution label, Tiger Releases. Festival films have also been available on other VOD platforms, among them Mubi, Ximon and Cinemalink. The festival acquires rights on selected titles for the Benelux. “We have broadened the selection. We used to have only the Hubert Bals Fund titles within the distribution section, but now we want to have a more representative selection from the Festival.” For example, IFFR released last year’s highly controversial Tiger winner, Clip, on DVD and various VOD platforms. iTunes, though, promises to give the Rotterdam brand a huge boost internationally. Under The Milky Way serves more than 170 rights holders and has offices in 10 countries. It has aggregation contracts with global platforms like Google, Sony and Amazon, as well as iTunes. By partnering with Rotterdam, the company has practical plans to give the festival’s filmmakers access to international distribution. The attraction for the filmmakers is that they have few upfront costs or risks. The Festival will pay for 30% of the encoding costs while Under The Milky Way will cover the remaining 70% (this can cost from €700 to €1,000). Rights holders will be given “quality reports” detailing exactly how their films are performing. Go for it At first glance, an internet giant like iTunes may not seem a natural home for festival films. However, as Labelle notes, “these guys are like retailers. They have big shops … they understand that the film market is very atomized. There are many different players out there – producers, distributors, sales agents. The whole patchwork of rights is a very complicated matrix … that’s where we come in.” In other words, this is another example of the “long tail” wagging. (In the words of Wired Magazine’s Chris Anderson, long tail theory posits that in “an era without the constraints of physical shelf space and other bottlenecks of distribution, narrowly-targeted goods and services can be as economically attractive as mainstream fare.”) Jansen contacted around 100 rights holders and producers from the Bright Future and Spectrum sections to see if they were interested in putting their films on iTunes Benelux. The initial selection will be limited to 30 titles that have no sales agent or Benelux distributor attached. “I notice that people are waiting a little bit”, Jansen observes of their original response. “It might be the case that they will find a sales agent during the Festival. They have to wait for the US premiere because they can’t be on iTunes. They still have many questions.” Today, Jansen will be meeting rights holders, trying to address their concerns. “So far, I think I have six or seven that immediately said, ‘Yes, I’ll go for it’.” Timing “With IFFR in the Cloud, there’s a direct contract between the filmmaker and Under The Milky Way in order to have distribution”, Labelle explains. “The Festival is involved in helping us manage the material aspects and obviously the communication, branding and so forth.” Labelle suggests that Under The Milky Way’s working method is akin to that of a traditional video distributor, putting DVDs into a shop. “I think it’s just a question for the filmmakers of finding the right timing and when it feels good for them”, Labelle says. INTERNATIONAL film festival rotterdam Branding Thanks to the digital revolution, there are tens of thousands of films available on VOD platforms. That’s why branding is so important and why the Festival is trying so hard to guide viewers into Rotterdam’s room on iTunes. To underline just how IFFR in the Cloud can help filmmakers, Labelle cites the example of   David Dusa’s Fleurs du Mal (Flowers of Evil). The film, which came through CineMart and screened in Rotterdam, was a festival success but didn’t find a distributor willing to give it commercial distribution. “What we did was brought it on iTunes and gave it a global release in 60 territories simultaneously … the film all of a sudden is available in 60 countries with different subtitle tracks. That is a typical example of what it can lead to.” At present, Labelle points out, the IFFR room is available in the Benelux only, but the aim is to expand it further so that “the brand of the festival can also be seen in the Canada, USA and Australia.” “I am dreaming of that!” Jansen states. Industry Panels today 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Aggregate partners and get your films seen online. Rotterdam Lab, De Unie, Mauritsweg 34-35 2 p.m.–3 p.m. IFFR in the Cloud Industry Club, de Doelen 4th floor

Daily Tiger #5 (English)

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