Distributors on the Move. The pilot’s results and the launch of 2020 edition

by Isabella Weber

In the ever-evolving film market the need to be up to date with the latest trends is greatly felt by distributors and especially by people working in film marketing. While some know-hows and expertise remain necessarily linked to the local territory, there are in fact many important aspects related to marketing techniques and tools to connect with the audience that can work across territories. Europa Distribution members always found peer-to-peer confrontations most useful to get acquainted with new ideas and learning from best practices. To further encourage the exchanges and foster the creation of bridges across companies from different countries, in 2019 Europa Distribution launched a pilot edition of its exchange programme “Distributors on the Move”, addressed at members working in marketing who wish to have an intensive learning experience with a company abroad.


From February to December 2019, seven distributors visited a distribution company in a foreign country to observe a different way of working, compare their marketing strategies and share ideas and tools on how to improve their work. Participants travelled to Belgium, Czech Republic, Poland, Spain and Egypt creating new bridges and developing personal and professional connections between distribution companies and people.


Each participant was assigned a tutor from the hosting company who would guide her/him throughout the daily activities of the company. Companies were matched on the basis of their line-ups so that the participants could compare distribution and promotion strategies of the European films they had in common. Some of the titles took into exam were La Belle EpoqueThe TraitorThe WhistlersGirl and I Lost My Body.


Besides working on promotional campaigns for theatrical releases, during these exchanges distributors took the time to approach broader topics such as: VOD platforms and their role in a company’s portfolio, online promotion, influencers, active collaborations with cinemas, new methods to approach broader audiences, working with data and smart emailing. Participants and hosting companies discussed about the structure of the workflow in their offices, analysing the whole process of the film release, from the acquisition to reporting.


Katarzyna Orysiak-Marrison, Head of Marketing at Gutek Film (Poland) visited Aerofilms in Czech Republic for five days in October after having hosted Aerofilms’s PR & Marketing Manager Jan Noháč over the summer. “I have learned a completely different approach you can have towards the film, and how differently you can plan the work division in your office. We have shared a lot of promotional ideas about the three titles we were both working on and that changed our perspective towards the release plan. I have learned how important could be your own VOD streaming service and how to implement it. Also – how to use the cinemas you manage to promote films you distribute. 

Even after the end of the programme we kept on exchanging ideas with Aerofilms on the films we have in common: for posters, trailers, video spots, titles, special events. I think we should even continue the exchange annually: it’s difficult to find time on a daily basis to discuss some complicated topics, on the other hand – it’s very rewarding to actually be in other company’s office and see the work in progress!”


In many cases the exchange visits were only the beginning of an ongoing collaboration among the companies. “There is willingness to continue sharing information and strategies, mainly regarding common releases.” (Joana Sousa, Outsider Films, Portugal).


After the success of the first edition the adventure continues! The call for participants for 2020 edition of “Distributors on the Move” is now out. The programme will kick off as soon as Covid-19 travel bans will be lifted, bringing together once again the most enthusiastic European distributors to share, learn and invent new ways to best promote European cinema.


The list of the participants of “Distributors on the Move – 2019”:

Jan Noháč, (Aerofilms, Czech Republic) visited Gutek Film in Poland
Katarzyna Orysiak-Marrison, (Gutek Film, Poland) visited Aerofilms in Czech Republic
Edisson Chatchatrian (The Searchers, Belgium) visited MAD Solutions in Egypt
Moshira Farouk (MAD Solutions, Egypt) visited The Searchers in Belgium
Katerina Dvorakova (Aerofilms, Czech Republic) visited Lumiere in Belgium
Simon Wullens (Lumiere Publishing, Belgium) visited Aerofilms in Czech Republic
Joana Sousa (Outsider Films, Portugal) visited A Contracorriente Films in Spain