Time to let the guests speak! Halfway through the 2nd Kids Kino.Lab session, full of writing exercises and producers meetings, on the 3rd of March, everyone gathered for a presentation made by Fulko Kuindersma, the acquisitions executive from Dutch Features – a sales agency and world distribution company specialized in content for both adults and children.
Since its foundation in 2012, Dutch Features has become successful in its global approach to worldwide content sales and distribution, with offices in Amsterdam and Los Angeles and prosperous distribution relationships with leading international media companies, including Netflix, Canal +, and Amazon Prime. But most importantly to Kids Kino.Lab participants, Dutch Features has established itself as a successful platform for marketing and selling both high-quality thrillers (for adults) as well as… award-winning family films. Its business model pays equal attention to older and younger audiences, with series such as Floor Rules and Seven Little Criminals and films Taiki and Summer with Rana.
During his “World Sales for Children’s Films” presentation, Fulko highlighted the statistics of children content productions in Europe, shared his experience of having worked in the industry for nearly 20 years, and answered the audience’s questions. As the meeting was open for all Lab participants (writers and producers of future young audience content) as well as for the local audiovisual industry representatives, it made for an enlightening and valuable exchange of perspectives.
Status quo – where are we?
We learnt that: less than 1000 European children’s films were produced between 2004-2017; they were watched by a little over 3% of the total EU cinema audience for international films (including films from outside Europe); live-action films for children rarely find their place outside markets of their origin.
In other words, the statistics are not in the creators’ favour.
This is why, to make sure that the projects developed in the lab are truly unique, Fulko posed an essential question to all the participants: WHY DO YOU WANT TO MAKE THIS FILM/SERIES?
Your project – where are you?
In his experience, realizing what is special about your own film on a personal level means learning their objectively best and unique qualities. Knowing why you’ve decided to proceed with this particular project means knowing the answer to the second most important question in producing visual content: HOW TO POSITION YOUR STORY?
The moderator left this question for the listeners to answer on their own.
Forecasting – where we can be?
To advise on putting the participants’ story in the right context and make sure they reach the right audience, Fulko talked about his experience in gaining national funding and choosing the right film festival strategy by studying successful releases of Mr. Twister, Taiki and Los Bando.
As an addition, going beyond the current state of screen industries and forecasting where it can be in 3-5 years (the possible release time of the participants’ projects), the moderator quoted the recent discoveries made by the creators of the 2020 7th Nostradamus Report, who annually analyze the trends of global cinema market by running extensive interviews with people in strategic positions (CEOs, festival directors, etc.). According to their research, with more platforms for global distribution, high-quality and diverse content is going to be embraced more than ever in the years to come – new types of films and series will be needed to answer the audiences’ new needs, to reach out to new groups, and to surprise the regular viewers.
This means that there has never been a better time to change the statistics than right now.
The open session was followed by a networking dinner organized by Creative Europe Media Desk Greece – one of the final events of the 2nd Kids Kino.Lab session ending on the 5th of March.
All the participants, the Greek film industry guests, Fulko Kuindersma, and the Variety journalist Christopher Vourlias were present to discuss the ideas presented by the guest speaker.
What were their conclusions?
With the projects participating in the lab and the case studies presented, it is clear that there is no single formula for success. Moreover, the success comes in different forms – the film that you are developing right now may not bring you fortune right away, but it may bring you an audience for your next film; your live-action film may not resonate with the audiences outside of your national market, but it may open the doors to future potential co-productions. But first, you need to both know why you want to do this particular project and… make sure it shows.