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Cinema is the most marketable cultural product

21 February 2014 / 19:02:44  GRReporter
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In times of crisis, when there is a shortage of available resources, culture suffers the most. This also applies to Greece, where government funding for cultural projects has recently drastically fallen.

However, it appears that this is not so tragic, at least for the film industry. According to head of the Greek cinema centre Grigoris Karantinakis, in 2012 the sales of Greek films abroad were 1.6 times higher than in 2008. During the same period the participation of Greek films in international film festivals increased 2.5 times. "They not only participate in them but win awards," he said at the conference "Financing Creativity", organized by the Greek Presidency of the European Union in Athens.

The latest international success of Greek cinema was marked at the 64th edition of the film festival in Berlin, which ended a week ago. The film "At Home" directed by Athanasios Karanikolas was awarded for best film in the section "Forum of Independent Film". It tells the story of a housemaid who has worked at the house of a wealthy family for many years, taking care not only of the household but also of the young daughter in the family. When the family learns that the woman is diagnosed with an incurable disease they decide to get rid of her.

According to Karantinakis one of the most serious problems for the Greek film makers are the torrent sites that violate the rights of creators due to the lack of a protective legal framework. He pointed out that the state is also adversely affected by this as its annual losses amount to 550 million euro.

"The tendency to limit state funding for creative projects will continue and artists have to seek financing alone. However, there are many ways for this," said expert in private equity funds and venture capital Javier Ehari.

The most common among them is the financing on the part of the family, friends and fans of an artist who believe in his or her talent and therefore provide funds in order for him or her to realize his or her idea. According to Liam Collins of the British consulting company Nesta, 80 percent of the money that finances a project is provided by people who are close to the artist.

The public sector can also be a source of funding, but in this case, we are talking about a strategy and state funds.

Javier Ehari described crowdfunding as a very popular means for fundraising. These are online platforms where artists present their idea in the best possible way, specifying how they intend to spend the funds they expect to receive. "The people who finance them in this way give them their personal money, like family and friends do, but here they still run the risk of failure."

Business angels are the fourth consecutive category among funding sources. They are private investors who invest money earned from other business activities in creative projects. In contrast, investment funds invest the money of others and are therefore more conservative in terms of financing risky projects. Banks are last on the list with potential investors in creative projects as they have the money entrusted to them and they would not want to have an obligation to pay it back if the project fails.

In Europe there are already companies that finance projects of companies with a huge range of activities. As stated by Virginie Siberia, Director General of the Belgian company St'Art, they provide 50 percent of the funding and the other half of the required amount is provided from the sources previously mentioned. "We are interested in both the financial success of the concept and of its artistic value," she said, adding that the valuation of intangible assets is often a difficult task, as the legislation in different countries does not provide help in this direction.

The conference also discussed the globalization and export of cultural products. "Europe and each country individually have to find which ones would attract the interest of the audience in the world. For example, the Scandinavian countries very successfully export metal music and South Korea pop music," stated David Loskos, General Manager of Tenzing Media. His colleague Klaus Haasis from the German Creative Coach and Business Angel stressed that diversity gives good results in this sector. "It is important to offer the products in the right way. The German band Rammstein does not sing in English, but it has fans worldwide. The same is true for the singers from Latin America who are popular in many countries although they sing in their own language."

Tags: EconomyCompaniesFinancingCreativityInnovationCultural products
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