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Latest crisis could ultimately improve MIFED.

Latest Crisis Could Ultimately Improve MIFED

"For many years MIFED has had a tormented life," commented RTSI Chief Marco Blaser. He then continued: "The criticism toward MIFED is severe and, I must say, it is shared by most Europeans who, however, are resistant to express it as openly as the Americans do."

Nevertheless, Blaser will continue attending MIFED shunning the AFM.

"In the past two years, MIFED has shown signs of new vigor. It even showed some revival," he concluded. For MIFED, though, the path to peace seems more arduous than ever. Its life of "torment" though could continue only for a short while.

The latest new market dates make the third change in five months. The revised dates are now October 20-25. And the pressure on MIFED is building up in every direction: Internally, in Italy and from overseas. But MIFED is a part of a very large structure - The Milan Fair - that is self-financed and very rich with cash and all other resources. According to several observers, MIFED can implement drastic changes effectively and on a short notice.

What it is assured is that these latest crises will ultimately improve and strengthen MIFED's role in the international film-TV business. MIFED is here to stay, it is said. The overall advantages of MIFED are well known: Good business environment, non-dispersive market and buyer's attendance with a truly global representation.

In normal times, these attributes would be all that are required from a market. Today, however, the recession, the lower dollar exchange, the sad state of the independents and the overall poor business environment, are making new demands on exhibitors and buyers alike.

One of the major MIFED problems is said to be the fact that it follows MIPCOM and the London and Brussels Screenings. It is possible that if a buyer were on the market for two or three movies, he could found them before MIFED, apart from the fact that today more and more product is dealth over the phone, well before any market.

Then there is the location. Many buyers, especially from the Northern countries, tend to prefer warm sea resorts, like Cannes and, possibly, Santa Monica. Cost, of course, is on everyone's mind. Many international film companies consider Cannes the most expensive market, followed by MIFED with the AFM a close third. The lower dollar exchange rate has also worked against the Americans at MIFED, while it favored foreign companies attending the AFM.

Lowering MIFED costs is one of the organizer's priority. In an exclusive interview with Movie/Video Age, Tullio Galleno, the MIFED boss, introduced the new strategy: Special arrangements are being worked out with selected hotels willing to reduce their rates. Costs of stands could be reduced and the market will be shortened by four days. In addition, MIFED will improve the sound system of its screening rooms and increase the number of facilities with the Dolby Sound.

Plus, Galleno is studying how to invite major international buyers with expenses paid. Meanwhile, at the AFM, Galleno was "completely shocked" by Bill Shields' reaction." Shields, the AFM Chairman, made some strong remarks against MIFED during a press conference.

"The AFM was so businesslike. What happened?" asked Galleno. The MIFED boss was in Santa Monica with Elena Lloyd, the new MIFED Product Manager, who replaced Pat Martellini. Martellini is still with the Milan Fair, but she is now handling other expositions.

Why has MIFED returned to the original dates of October 20-25, in a frontal clash with the AFM Fall Market? "We had those dates first!" commented Galleno. "Our first revised dates of October 17-21 were harshly criticized by the Europeans, who saw MIFED as too submissive to the Americans. For the Europeans, there is no reason for them to go to the U.S. to sell their movies to other Europeans. Traditionally, Europeans don't sell to Americans anyway."

About MIFED, Galleno said that the Fiera is spending $700,000 to renovate 12 screening rooms' Dolby systems.
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Video Age International
Date:Mar 1, 1991
Words:661
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