Written by: FFT Webmaster | February 10th, 2012
Despite bone-chilling temperatures, the European Film Market has its official opening today, with the historic Martin Gropius Bau as its epicenter, along with a number of satellite hotels in the area of Potsdamer Platz. The market, expected to be the busiest in a number of years, is bursting with a mix of private sales companies and institutional promotion boards that are all hawking their wares to an assembled audience of film buyers, distributors, programmers, festival reps and, increasingly, online platforms. Many of the films in the main Festival sections have accompanying market screenings for professional attendees and films from January festivals events such as Sundance, Rotterdam and Gothenberg are high on the radar of buyers and programmers. However, much of the buzziest activity expected over the next week is from sales companies offering pre-sales to anticipated future projects, for which there may be a trailer, scene sequence or only a script at this early stage. Pre-sales have been rather anemic in the past few years, considering the number of finished films also available, but the pre-sales market is the way that a distributor in a particular territory can get its hands on highly anticipated titles long before completion. It is a gamble that has failed as many times as it has succeeded, but the allure remains strong to jump on best bets.
Among the films still in pre-production or just beginning to be filmed that are being hawked in Berlin are THE TOMB, a crime actioner to co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone; HEAT, a remake of an 1980s political thriller that will team director Brian De Palma, British action star Jason Statham and screenwriter William Goldman; A MOST WANTED MAN, a contemporary thriller to be directed by Festival jury member Anton Corbijn and to star Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman; HAPPYTIME MURDERS, a film noir puppet comedy (?) featuring Katherine Heigl; PLUSH, an erotic thriller set in the Los Angeles music world which will team star Evan Rachel Wood with director Catherine Hardwicke; WER, a horror film that will be director William Brent Bell’s follow-up to his mega-hit THE DEVIL INSIDE; CAN A DOG SAVE YOUR LIFE?, a feel-good romantic comedy that pairs Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson; and an untitled comedy that will make actor Joseph Gordon Levitt’s directorial debut. However, European economic woes and the current euro crisis negotiations could be a damper on the deals. Sellers are banking on strong sales to the growing markets of China, India, Brazil and Eastern Europe, all of which are sending an unprecedented number of buyers to shop for the newest wares at the European Film Market.