Friday, May 7, 2010

Disappearing Act 2: Smart panel talks about current foreign-language film distribution

TM hopes that some of his local readers managed to get to a few of the films screened recently in Irena Kovarova's fine series Disappearing Act 2, which looks like it may become an annual event at Manhattan's Czech Center.

In the midst of these free screenings of recent foreign films from all over Eastern and Western Europe, most of which were either not distributed in the U.S. or disappeared too quickly to be readily viewed, is presented a panel discussion. This year's -- titled The New World Distribution for Subtitled Films -- explored the uneasy path of foreign language films toward US distribution (often by any means necessary: theatrical, streaming, VOD, a kind of film-of-the-month-club, and screenings at which the filmmaker shows up for Q&A's to help entice an audience).

This year the panel, moderated by Ms Kovarova (shown above left), was chaired by IndieWire's editor in chief and co-founder Eugene Hernandez (above center).  He was joined by Ryan Werner (below, left), vice president of marketing at IFC Films; Meghan Wurtz, vice president at Film Movement (above, right); and Carlos A. Gutierrez, co-founding director of Cinema Tropical (below, right).   Having only four panelists, rather than six, as happened last year, made this program seem even more accessible to some of us present. Hearing more from each speaker/panelist helped us get a bead on that person, who s/he was, what s/he liked and more about the company s/he represented and what it is doing toward better distribution of foreign-language films.

The program proved, as did last year's, a fascinating evening -- of great interest to anyone who follows and loves foreign-language films. Ms Kovarova and the Czech Center graciously videotaped the entire show, so that you can see and hear the nearly hour-and-one-half presentation (including the Q&A that followed).  Just click here and go to it.  And if you have comments, questions or suggestions of your own, feel free to post them here and I'll get them to Ms Kovarova.

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