American Buyers Are Anxious as Cannes Presents a Confused Film Industry

IndieWire | 5/25/2019 | Staff
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At Cannes, weather often provides a handy metaphor to assess the state of the market. Two years ago, downpours were an easy visual aid for the gloomy prognosis; this time, the occasional rains never lasted long, but ominous clouds loomed and an eerie chill swept through the air.

That felt about right. Netflix may not have a big presence at the festival after it made a business decision not to attend last year, but streaming platforms became the regular subject of late-night dinner table conversations, with the specter of Disney+, Apple TV+, and many others around the corner.

Fact - Everything - Couple - Years - Situation

“The fact is everything is going to change so quickly that in a couple of years we will face a completely different situation in terms of distribution and marketing the films,” said Alberto Barberi, the artistic director of the Venice International Film Festival, from his temporary Cannes office. “It’s very curious. But it’s also difficult to predict what it’s going to be. We know that everything is going to change, but how is another story.”

European governments continues to provide a pipeline for the filmmakers that America abandoned long ago, but the budgets have started to dwindle. “It’s not like there’s only Netflix and Marvel films,” said Olivier Père, who runs the film department at ARTE France. “We still have auteurs working, but it’s more and more difficult because all these films are not raising a lot of money.” ARTE supported the bulk of the French films at the festival, in addition to international filmmakers who sought financial support in France. But he said that governments were putting less money into those funds. “Even great auteurs, if they want to make a film in France, they will have to make their films at a lower budget,” he said.

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