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Sea, Sun, Yachts, Champagne, Penelope Cruz… Is there a Recession?

Sea, Sun, Yachts, Champagne, Penelope Cruz... Is there a Recession?

“Is the recession effecting the film industry?” This was the big question for a panel at the American Pavilion on Monday, and the answers seemed pretty consensual: “If you don’t need a lot of money don’t wait on us, go make your movie, and make it great…it will be seen.”

Agnes Mentre (Tazora Films/Wild Bunch), Jeb Brody (Vendrome Pictures), Roeg Sutherland (CAA), Glen Basner (Film Nation), Ben Browning (Wayfare Entertainment), and moderator Michael Fleming (Variety) were all on hand to tackle the topic plaguing nearly the entire world. At the beginning of the discussion, most only pointed out the positive stating their expectations had been met so far once arriving in Cannes. Par example, CAA said 75% of their 35 projects have financing.

After this array of hope, moderator Fleming asked the panel where the hardships were, as they seemed to be painting an unreasonably optimistic picture.

In response, Basner acknowledged that fewer films are being chosen, and the ability to finance certain films are gone. Additionally, Sutherland claimed that dramas can’t get financed: “$10 million and under is the norm, we’ve lost half of the distributors out there, first time filmmakers find it hard too.”

It was also made clear that Europeans tend to take more risks. Mentre gave the example of how Wild Bunch went with “The Wrestler” when all others passed, and that it paid off big for them.

Good movies are out there, they’re just being passed on. Most agreed that it’s not necessarily a convservative approach, but more of a cautious one. Movies aren’t coming into the festival with pre-buys, buyers are waiting, determining the pros and cons. Money is still the determining factor. You’ve got to spend it to make it and studios are erring on the cautious side to make sure they get theirs. Basner and others agreed that, “Everything you want to do you can still do, it’s just harder to do and takes ten times as much work to do it.”

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