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Thessaloniki 2023 - Agora

Industry Report: Market Trends

Thessaloniki Film Festival unveils insights from its Think Tank series


The series, which took place over three months and focused on the future of film markets, was organised in collaboration with Cannes' Marché du Film and Berlinale's European Film Market

Thessaloniki Film Festival unveils insights from its Think Tank series

The global film industry has undergone significant transformations due to various technological, economic, and societal changes, most notably the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the traditional model of film markets continues to shift, questions about the needs that must be addressed, and what the sustainable future of film markets could look like, have become paramount. In response to these pressing questions, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival initiated a series of Think Tanks titled "Think Tank: Shaping the Film Markets of Tomorrow," in collaboration with, and with support from the consultancy agency, The Catalysts.

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Throughout the Think Tank discussions, several key themes and insights emerged. One prominent theme was the continued importance of face-to-face meetings in film markets, even in the digital age. In-person connections were deemed crucial for nurturing relationships and facilitating business deals. Additionally, film markets were acknowledged to be strategically chosen based on their specialisations and their ability to cater to the needs of industry professionals. Major film markets have evolved into significant hubs for audiovisual production and distribution, playing a vital role in enhancing the economic competitiveness of the European industry. On the other hand, smaller markets play a crucial role as gateways for newcomers, ensuring that the industry remains dynamic and well-connected with evolving audiences.

However, film markets also face various challenges that demand attention. Rising costs, audience fragmentation, social shifts, and the growing imperative for sustainability are among the pressing issues. To address these challenges, participants stressed the need for implementing new pricing structures and adopting greener practices. Moreover, supporting systems for staff and intensifying collaborations with other markets and training programs were seen as essential steps toward overcoming these obstacles and achieving a sustainable future for film markets.

The Think Tanks identified several critical needs for the future of film markets. Film markets must be more inclusive, offering access to valuable information and contacts. Emphasis was placed on providing opportunities for younger generations to participate and contribute. Sustainable practices should be promoted, striking a balance between digitisation and physical events without full digitisation.

Participants also highlighted the necessity to challenge conservative power structures, fostering transformation and inclusivity by welcoming diverse groups. Additionally, as film markets expand, the focus on well-being and prioritising quality over quantity was emphasised. The urgent need to address the environmental impact of film markets was acknowledged, calling for dedicated personnel to implement greener practices. Moreover, discussions centred around finding new sources of financing in the face of a shrinking financial landscape. To enhance inclusivity, accreditation prices should be adjusted to accommodate film professionals. Finally, film markets must embrace efficiency by downsizing, while maintaining exclusivity and upholding standards of quality. 

Additionally, the Think Tanks highlighted the significance of peer collaborations between film markets. Dialogues, transparency, and sharing of ideas were deemed crucial for the future of film markets. Several European film markets discussed the potential formation of a coalition to collaborate and exchange information regularly.

The Think Tank series was officially announced in November 2022 during the 63rd Thessaloniki International Film Festival. Subsequently, the first Think Tank, titled "Weaving the Market Fabric," was held in February 2023 during Berlinale's EFM. The second Think Tank, titled "Modelling the Market Place," took place in Thessaloniki during the 25th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival. Finally, the series concluded with the third Think Tank, "Financing the Market Place," which occurred at Marché du Film in Cannes. The final results of the Think Tank series were also presented at the Cannes event.

With active participation from over 100 film professionals, the Think Tank series succeeded in gathering diverse insights and perspectives on shaping the future of film markets. Notably, numerous film markets, including AGORA - Thessaloniki Film Festival and Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, Marché du Film - Cannes FF, European Film Market - Berlinale, Venice Production Bridge - Venice FF, KVIFF Eastern Promises, San Sebastian Industria, IFFR Pro, Locarno Pro, Les Arcs - Industry Village, Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event, Cinelink Industry Days - Sarajevo FF, When East Meets West - Trieste FF, MIFA - Annecy Animation FF, Visions du Réel Industry, CPH:DOX Industry, IDFA Markets, DOK Leipzig, Baltic Sea Docs, Sofia Meetings - Sofia FF, MIA Market, Göteborg Film Festival Industry, Connecting Cottbus - Cottbus FF, DOK. fest München Industry, and Glasgow Film Festival Industry, took part in either some or all of the three Think Tanks. You can read the full report here

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