The independent distributors and exhibitors gathered at the 5th meeting sponsored by the Valladolid International Film Festival under the title of “The Future of Cinema Distribution” have, this Wednesday, October 27th 2021, committed to working together to recover the adult audience lost as a result of the pandemic, as well as to reaching the audience of the “emptied areas of Spain.”
The meeting, chaired by Fernando Lara within the framework of the 66th edition of the Seminci Festival, culminated in a document with twelve conclusions in which some of the challenges and problems faced by both goals are addressed, including, precisely, the desire to collaborate to recover the audience lost to the pandemic, especially the adult audience, as well as to promote the spectators of the so-called “emptied areas of Spain,” which would require joint action by the different levels of the administration.
One of the points that generated most debate focused on the possibility of creating a working committee made up of different agents to determine the ideal commercial exploitation deadlines, including those established by the platforms and free-to-air television channels. The initiative, proposed by Lara himself, raised different opinions among the participants, who in some cases considered that it could interfere in the area of free competition.
Along the same lines, the possibility of establishing windows was also put on the table, depending on the type of cinema and its commercial dimension, which varies greatly depending on the characteristics of the films. In fact, the conclusions show that, given the current configuration of the market, independent distributors will be more inclined to take films to digital platforms if the windows are not readjusted.
Lara, who presented the conclusions surrounded by distributor Enrique González Macho; the president of Adicine, Miguel Morales; the president of Próxima, Silvia Lobo; the president of the Federation of Cinemas in Spain, Juan Ramón Gómez Fabra; the director of the Acquisitions Area of Spanish National Television RTVE, Milagros Mayi; the deputy director of Promotion of ICAA, Elisa Rodríguez Orti, and the parliamentarian for Valladolid and member of the Culture Committee of the National Congress, Julio del Valle, emphasised the climate of collaboration that surrounded the meeting, whose participants expressed their conviction that meetings of this type between both groups contribute to the solution of their problems.
The conclusions also reflect the fact that distributors, who ratified their “firm commitment” to showing their films in cinemas, since the cinema release is the “essential beginning of a value chain that extends to the following stages of marketing,” were the ones who supplied material to cinemas when the pandemic allowed it.
Among the issues addressed was also the demand for more audio-visual education at all levels, including university, which would allow the birth and attraction of new audiences that would guarantee the continuity of attendance at cinemas.
The conclusions also include two warnings: one that has to do with the “possible arrival of an aggressive cultural invasion” that could lead to a reduction in the spectators’ possibilities of choice, since a greater offer does not mean a diverse offer, and the other related to the risks for independent distribution if the current problems are not solved, since, as has been shown, the sector would be in serious danger of disappearing.