The return to enterprise on the Cannes Film Market hasn’t essentially marked the return to enterprise as normal, as sluggish foot visitors and empty stalls within the Palais des Competition can attest. However AGC Studios CEO Stuart Ford says the previous yr has hardly dimmed his confidence within the indie movie enterprise.
“The unbiased financing and gross sales market continues to be an extremely fertile floor to finance content material at a big degree,” he mentioned. “It’s a really engaging enterprise mannequin, and it’s a really environment friendly enterprise mannequin.”
Ford appeared Saturday on the Cannes Movie Market as a part of a world movie finance discussion board hosted by Winston Baker to debate how the worlds of movie finance and distribution will emerge from the uncertainty of the pandemic yr.
“It has been a tremendously troublesome interval for worldwide distributors internationally,” mentioned Ford. “It’s been a interval the place adjustments that had been already very a lot afoot within the worldwide trade have been accelerated and should properly result in a brand new regular as we come out of the pandemic, again to no matter the brand new regular really seems to be like.”
Nowhere has that flux been extra evident than within the streaming trade, whose explosive development previously yr was largely fuelled by cinema closures and the necessity of stressed homebound audiences to seek out contemporary types of leisure.
Popping out of the pandemic, the theatrical enterprise mannequin—already underneath risk pre-pandemic—seems to be much more unsure, leaving indie distributors to grapple with find out how to construct a worthwhile enterprise mannequin round a movie’s launch.
Ford careworn that “diversification would be the key,” with many indies already shifting away from a “core enterprise” constructed round theatrical and residential leisure launch to a “barely extra rounded” mannequin that comes with movie and TV manufacturing in addition to theatrical releasing.
The technological shift that spurred the streaming increase has additionally had an upside for the indie film biz. “Digital markets have been an absolute game-saver for the unbiased trade,” Ford mentioned. Nonetheless, he praised the face-to-face encounters of bodily markets just like the Cannes Marché because the “connective tissue” holding the trade collectively. “I believe we might fortunately dwell with two [physical markets] a yr, and maybe a few digital markets every year.”
Two years in the past, AGC Studios launched Roland Emmerich’s $140 million sci-fi blockbuster “Moonfall” on the Croisette, which the corporate subsequently financed “nearly totally out of the unbiased area,” mentioned Ford.
“Within the area of 10 days we got here to Cannes, and we completely constructed the complete monetary and distribution basis for that industrial enterprise in 10 days, begin to end, $140 million, and that’s distributed worldwide,” mentioned Ford. “That’s extremely environment friendly.”
This yr Ford has been bolstered by his time on the Croisette, even on a considerably downbeat yr. “It was extremely useful, and has been very useful, as a result of it is a barely extra sedately paced pageant than normal, to have the time to take a seat down and actually take heed to what’s happening with [my partners’] enterprise and of their marketplaces amidst this yr or 18 months of giant change and challenges for everyone,” he mentioned. “It’s crucial for me to know what’s really taking place on the market.”
Talking to Selection after the occasion, Ford added that there have been encouraging indicators of life in an in any other case low-key market. “All the most important U.S. patrons are right here for all of the competitors entries, they usually’re energetic. There have been offers,” he mentioned. “Clearly, for the worldwide patrons we had the digital market two weeks in the past, however I get the impression there’s loads of follow-through happening right here. Typically, I believe that the wheels are turning, and this has been a very constructive train.”