The European Film Market is currently in full swing in chilly Berlin. I have been contacted by a reader who asked how big the European Film Market (EFM) is, and how it compares with its American and French counterparts (i.e. the American Film Market and Cannes Marché du film).
There are three major film markets in the year: EFM (held in February), Cannes (May) and the AFM (November). Throughout the year there are other smaller and more specialised festivals but the EFM, Cannes and AFM are regarded as the ‘Big Three’.
Today, I’m focusing on the European Film Market, rather than the Berlin Film Festival. Although the two events are heavily connected, they fundamentally serve different purposes. Film festivals are primarily a way for audiences to enjoy and reward new films, whereas film markets are where the industry buys and sells the right to distribute the films. If you want to know more about the Berlin Film Festival then you may enjoy my article from last year: What types of films compete at the Berlin Film Festival?
And if you’re currently attending the EFM (or planning to) then take a look at my article entitled Tips for attending the Berlinale and European Film Market. I interviewed 237 film industry professionals who attended the EFM last year and asked for their advice for first-timers to the European Film Market and Berlin Film Festival.
Right, enough logrolling – bring on the graphs!
Attendance at the European Film Market
Last year, 9,230 people were officially registered as attending the European Film Market. Of those, 1,623 (18%) were officially credited as ‘Buyers‘. This designation is strictly enforced and evidence is often needed to prove that you have the clout and ability to purchase the rights to distribute films in your territory. The reason it’s controlled is that Buyers get special treatment, such as guaranteed first entrance to market screenings and access to the buyers’ lounge.
In 2016, 784 films were screened across 1,124 screenings (i.e. an average of 1.4 screenings per film). This is higher than in recent years but down from a high of 816 in 2013. 51% of screenings were ‘Market Premieres’, meaning that it was the first time that film had been shown to the industry at a film market.
How does the European Film Market compare with other film markets?
Just for a sense of scale, I had a look at how the attendance at Berlin compares with that of the industry’s other two big film markets – the American Film Market (AFM) and Cannes (festival and market).
Comparing data between markets is tricky because each is different and may have slightly varying ways of counting attendance. In addition, Berlin and Cannes have a film festival attached and so some of the people counted may not even attend the market.
Although the EFM has more market screenings than the AFM (784 vs 305 in 2016), the vast majority of AFM screenings are market premieres, compared with just half at the EFM.
The data for today’s piece came from the official European Film Market, American Film Market and Cannes Marche websites, and industry press articles. I haven’t managed to find attendance figures for AFM in 2015, nor Cannes in 2016. Therefore, on the chart the AFM line jumps from 2014 to 2016, and the Cannes line finishes at 2015. If anyone has these missing data points please get in touch and I’ll happily update the chart.
As with many things in life, size isn’t everything. Each film market has its own mix of types of films and attendees so we can’t use today’s data to say which is ‘better’. They each serve different purposes to the industry.