Lao filmmaker Mattie Do (left) talks to Alessandro Gropplero. Photo: FEFF
Lao filmmaker Mattie Do (left) talks to Alessandro Gropplero. Photo: FEFF

“In the field of genre films, there is a possibility to find a common language in the way of writing, producing, and also releasing and watching films,” says Alessandro Gropplero who, along with the team behind the second Focus Asia film market in Udine, Italy, has worked to provide a platform for genre cinema.

Focus Asia sees 13 genre film projects from 13 countries that speak to audiences across borders. “I have to say, it’s a very impressive selection because it’s diverse and not only in terms of country representation,” Gropplero says.

“We also have a full representation of different genres. We have horror, we have sci-fi, we have romantic comedies, we have sci-fi comedies, we have psychological thrillers.”

It was the primary goal of the program – run as part of the Far East Film Festival – to help these projects find creative and financing partners, strengthening the connections between Europe and Asia from a financing and distribution perspective.

The festival draws industry representatives from across the globe. Photo: FEFF

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As well as an array of noted sales agents and buyers, Focus Asia expanded in its second edition to encompass representatives from other parts of the film industry, including producers and financiers, to number more than 100 decision-makers.

Through their participation on various panel discussions and in presenting case studies, the program gave voice to important new ideas about development strategies, financing and distribution.

Alessandro Gropplero says the pitch to investors is key. Photo: FEFF

At one such discussion, Todd Brown of North American sales company XYZ Films told the audience about the positives in online distribution. His session, Fixing a Broken Model: Global Distribution in The Digital Age, included a discussion of how the film industry can adapt.

Another panel discussion with Juliane Schulze from German agency peacefulfish covered the tricky topic of sourcing and managing private investors.

“Asia is the landscape of private financiers, and genre films, especially those in Europe, are most of the time supported by private investors,” Gropplero says.

“It’s really important to see how to talk to private investors, how to make them understand that it’s a smart investment. It’s not like talking to industry people. It’s talking to people who are not speaking the same language. It’s very important to focus on different things, on the creative side but also the business side.”

As a meeting point for Europe and East Asia, FEFF is a fitting setting for such forward-thinking discussions. With Focus Asia, the festival maintains its status as an occasion for fans, filmmakers and the industry.

David Pountain this week is attending the FEFF Campus, which is being sponsored by Asia Times

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