What is the state of the Japanese market today for a French film sales agent?
We still have the impression that the golden age is behind us, but in fact it has always been difficult. Japan remains a country where there are many interlocutors. There is, for example, a whole range of distributors: from major independents to small companies specializing in genre films, through to distributors of so-called "festival" films. Not all countries have this number of interlocutors and it's a great strength of the Japanese market's diversity. Each exporter hence manages to find interlocutors likely to be interested, no matter what kind of film they bring to the market. This doesn't mean that everything sells, far from it, but what is certain is that there's a real dynamic, in terms of diversity, and this provides great opportunities.
In terms of volume of sales revenue, is market tension palpable?
Here, too, we still have the impression that the best is behind us, but I have personally always found that Japan is a country of contrasts: a certain number of prices can skyrocket, because the market can be very competitive between distributors who sometimes ferociously compete against each other, and at the same time it's true that the cinema-going audience is ageing and has not necessarily adopted the new media platforms for watching films... Demographically, it's certain that the shrinking of our "solvent" public probably curbs price increases.
Which Films Distribution titles are you the most proud of having sold to Japan?
I'll speak instead of our latest sales. The success of selling BPM (Beats Per Minute) to Japan is proof of the film's quality, of course, but also of a certain opening of the market. It's a film that would have been far more difficult to sell ten years ago. The unexpected success of Moonlight in Japan paved the way, it's a sign of optimism. And of course we're very proud of the Japanese sale, in Cannes, of Amant double. How many admissions will it generate here, at what number could we consider it a success... all of this remains complex to define because everything depends on the money which has been spent, then on the secondary revenues. You can easily have films whose income is generated after theatrical release. When you're a serious professional, you must take into account all the complexity of this equation.
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