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in Filmmaking
on May 17, 2009

Here’s another report from producer Noah Harlan recounting the business news he’s hearing in Cannes:

An additional update. I had dinner tonight with a major European Foreign Sales agent and then later was talking with an indie packaging & sales agent at a big agency and both echoed the same thoughts about the sales environment.

The top end is doing pretty well but there are few films at the top. There are pockets of niche product that are moving. Everything else is totally flatlined. All the so-so films or B+ films are dead in the water and no one’s buying. Seems like there is a real flight to heat/quality and, for this festival, just being at the dance won’t get you a date. Also, the sales agent said it’s a total massacre out there for regional distributors. They are closing and laying off people so fast that people who were attending pre-meetings in Paris last week are now out of a job by Cannes.

Unusual demands coming from foreign buyers include a desire for step deals where they pay to get the limited theatrical rights, then they’ll pay an installment for further engagement, then an installment for DVD, etc… Basically allowing them to turn tale and flee if something shows signs of not performing.

Oh yeah, and the Russians are crazy. Reports of their insane back peddling demands are completely true.

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