Doc Discussion/ 3

Mikael Opstrup writes:

Dear Louise

Thanks for your raising the issue about independent, feature docs.

It’s of course a key issue, as you point out. I see it like this: 15 years ago the establishing of a ‘preproduction TV-market’ with all the pitching forums etc. was THE right thing, it brought together the filmmakers and it brought together the filmmakers and the financiers at a time where TV was a major financing factor. In some of the big western European countries like Germany and France and in the Scandinavian countries there was and is a massive national public funding – but it doesn’t change the overall picture in Europe in general.

Now this has changed radically, the TV money has gone down dramatically and there is absolutely a need for a change.

The big question is what today’s equivalent in terms of financing is. I have a clear feeling that we are in a limbo, the old financing has diminished and no new one has come instead. Cross Media, VOD and other online platforms, crowd funding etc. none of it fills the gap and I’m not sure they will or at least I’m not sure which one will?

So the only source that I see apart from these ones is the public funding, which is of course more cultural and national orientated and less market orientated. There is no doubt that public funding and independent doc has a beautiful history together  – in Europe, not talking about the US – but is it realistic? I’m not sure – and I’m not only thinking of the current financial crisis but also beyond this.

Of course – speaking about strategies and future possibilities – one also has to take into consideration what impact the changing formats have on the financing possibilities. Will we see an explosion in shorter formats for web, mobiles etc? Will the digitalization of cinemas open up this location that has almost only been a temple for fiction and alongside screening sports events, operas etc be a possible financial possibility for docs?

Photo: Steam of Life, Finland, 2010, 82 mins. – chosen by Mikael Opstrup.

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