As the 2017 Berlinale approaches its conclusion, many wonder how the European Film Market, or EFM, compares to its American and French counterparts. Although there are various film markets that congregate throughout the year, it’s the EFM; American Film Market (AFM) and Cannes marché du film that are regarded within the industry as the ‘Big Three.’ While the Berlinale and other similar film festivals generally circle the larger film markets, they are quite separate with the EFM working around the awarded and premiered films in order to sell distribution rights as well as help fund films that are currently in development. With the AFM and Cannes so heavily covered in November and May respectively, you may wonder how large the EFM is when compared to its sister markets.
In 2016, over 9,000 visitors officially registered at the EFM with 18% credited as ‘Buyers.’ The title of ‘Buyer’ at any large film market is deeply vetted and those registered generally need to provide evidence to justify their ‘Buyer’ status. This comes with a few cushy benefits including guaranteed entrance to market screenings as well as access to the coveted ‘Buyers lounge’, a place for an international community of film magnates to meet and network as well as try to purchase distribution rights for their individual territories.
Last year’s EFM screened 784 films across over 1,000 individual screenings. Out of those films, over 50% were ‘Market Premieres’ meaning that the films had never before been screened to the industry at a film market, allowing those in attendance to be among the first to offer distribution deals. Although the EFM did screen more films than the AFM in November of 2015, the majority of the screenings at the Los Angeles based event were market screenings leading the American event to feature a more exclusive roster of films.
The Big Three
While neither the EFM nor AFM are officially tied to a specific film festival, the Cannes marché du film is exclusive to the world-renowned film festival that takes place every May on the French Riviera. Comparing these big three, given Cannes’ coveted status in both film and social circles, the attendance is almost five times that of the EFM and AFM. Overall attendance however for both the EFM, which is heavily linked to the Berlinale, and Cannes, includes those who attend the festivals without taking part in the film markets themselves. Festival attendance is a poor relative indicator as it doesn’t account for the number of professionals in the markets themselves.
Although the ‘Big Three’ are the most popular and heavily-attended film markets each year, there are countless others taking place around the globe. Film markets are not only incredibly beneficial to attend because of the career and marketing opportunities they offer but also for the endless networking possibilities that come with each screening or event.