European sellers getting boost at Filmart

Promotional body lending financial support to 18 films

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LONDON -- Market regulars across the world are familiar with European sellers such as Germany's Bavaria Media, France's Celluloid Dreams or Spain's Latido Films -- and those names are to be given a market boost in Hong Kong.

The three are among a slew of European-based films and sales banners being supported by movie promotion and trade body European Film Promotion traveling to Filmart this week.

The promotion body, which gets funding from the European Union's MEDIA Program, said the Filmart support from its Film Sales Support cash pool is a first for companies traveling to Hong Kong.

Overall, 18 films will feel the love from the FSS support plan, which also offers financial help for films at selected non-European markets from 2009 onward.

To date, FSS had only been on offer for films at international festivals, the organization said.

An EFP executive said much of the decision to pick Filmart as an event at which to back projects came from the industry's call.

"With this recent adjustment, EFP wants to open up further promotional platforms for sales of European films to countries outside of Europe," EFP project manager Susanne Davis said. "The initial demand by companies for support at the Filmart shows that we were right to include important film markets in our scheme."

The Asian Film Market in Pusan and AFM in Santa Monica are the next markets for which FSS support will be available. FSS grants cover 50% of marketing campaigns for up to two European films, with a maximum of €5,000 for one film and €2,500 for the second.

Apart from the usual costs for promotional material, companies may be reimbursed for hiring a stand or booking market screenings for their films at the exhibition centers, EFP said.

Titles benefiting at Filmart include Berlinale competition title "Katalin Varga," directed by Peter Strickland, and Panorama entrants "Welcome," from Philippe Lioret, "The Countess" by Julie Delpy being sold by Celluloid Dreams, and Rune Denstad Langlo's "North."

Bavaria Media has "Kaifeck Murder" by Esther Gronenborn and Latido Films takes Juan Martinez Moreno's "A Good Man."

The U.K.'s Fandango Portobello Sales will also get support in Hong Kong for "Mid-August Lunch," directed by Italy's Gianni di Gregorio.