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Cannes ISA of the Day: Jan Naszewski of New Europe Film Sales

Cannes ISA of the Day: Jan Naszewski of New Europe Film Sales

The ISA of the Day segment of SydneysBuzz resumes for
the Cannes Film Festival 2015. ISAs, or International Sales Agents, help to
bring films into global distribution by selling
distribution rights to distributors worldwide. Topics
include new trends in distribution and sales, inspirational success stories,
film slates and more. A worthy read for any serious filmmaker looking to have a
better understanding of the chain of business between producing a film and
sharing it with the world. 

Based in Warsaw and founded by Jan
Naszewski in 2010, New Europe Film
sells both short and feature films to the world market and to all major platforms: theatrical, TV, VOD and various internet platforms.

New Europe Film Sales is a leader in the short film market, and
works with new talents and seasoned directors alike, including Ruben Östlund,
Tomek Baginski and Jonas Odell. Six of New Europe’s short films have been
shortlisted for the Oscars, and awarded by prestigious festivals such as
Berlinale, Locarno, Sundance, Oberhausen and Rotterdam.

Seven of New Europe’s 18 feature films have had international
premieres at the Berlinale, and have opened in Cannes, Rotterdam, Karlovy Vary,
Toronto & Tribeca. 

Founder Jan Naszewski shares more:

I studied and worked in the
UK for a couple years after growing up in Poland. There I worked for a company
that did short film distribution, but acquired so many films. That wasn’t my
style. I like the small boutique approach where you can be very selective and
build a brand for your film. That’s why in 2010, I set up my own company in Poland, and
it’s really paid off. We work internationally, even though we are based in

Initially, this was just a short films sales company, but the idea from
the very beginning was to focus on quality over
quantity. We’re a four person operation.

We pick up 10-15 short films
a year, and our aim is to work up to having five to seven feature films a year.
We want to have enough time to work with all the films, meet the filmmakers and
producers, and don’t want them to be lost in a big slate. That allows us to be
much more focused and selective because in the end, I believe you can always
sell the quality films. 

The market is changing as
well, so it’s really a different situation these days. Films that sold ten years
ago don’t really work anymore in that sense, so this policy has really paid off
for us. 

We still deal with short films sales, and that’s been
really successful for us because in five years, we’ve had seven Oscar short-listers.
Every year, we have somebody going to the Oscars, and we’ve had nominations and
presence at the other big film festivals, which has been a good learning experience for us. Through that, we have access to really good producers and talent. We’re
happy to work with these people, and not for the dollar bills in sight.

My background is actually
with festivals. I had been working for different festivals in different
capacities, and with that network, it’s easier to enter the film sales world.
We are still the only sales agents based in Poland, and I can’t think of any
companies based east of Berlin, so that gives us an edge.

For us, it’s always important
that we work with international content and we don’t just handle Polish films. We
work with independent films from the US, Norway, and Denmark. We’ve always been
very keen on working with first-time filmmakers and directors, and giving them
a leg up into the market. We like edgy films. We like working with children’s
films, and animation is something we are really interested in. 

We have a feature film from Iceland
in the Cannes official selection this year. It’s called “Rams”, by Grímur Hákonarson, about two old men who are brothers in the middle of nowhere in Iceland. They are both
sheepherders, and haven’t spoken for forty years. Some of the sheep get a
disease, and all the sheep in the valley have to be killed. In order to protect
the sheep, they have to reconcile in order to save what’s really important to them.
It’s a touching drama.

Learn more about the New
Europe Film Sales catalog here.

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