Lumière’s International Classic Film Market Celebrates 10th Edition With Focus on Spanish Cinema, Distribution, New Territories, Education

The Lumière Festival’s International Classic Film Market (MIFC) in Lyon, France, is celebrating its 10th edition this year with a wide-ranging program focusing on bolstering classic film distribution, the prospects of new commercial territories, film education and a focus on Spain’s heritage film sector.

The MIFC, which runs Oct. 18-21, kicks off with a keynote by Gian Luca Farinelli, director of Italy’s Cineteca di Bologna film archive. Market organizers praise Farinelli for “allowing classic films to be found, restored, reviewed and, most often, put back on the market firstly through the Il Cinema Ritrovato Festival, exhibition and distribution activities within the foundation, while maintaining strong links with cinemathques from around the world.”

Farinelli’s work, the MIFC notes, “contributes to ensuring that the history of cinema is always active, alive and accessible.” Many who work in the classic film sector would second that opinion.

The Classic Film Market, which launched in 2013 – four years after the first Lumière Festival — will also celebrate with a special anniversary meeting of industryites, many of whom have remained MIFC mainstays over the years, to discuss the key issues that have run through previous editions and examine the new challenges facing the heritage film sector.

Among the speakers are Lumière Festival director and Cannes topper Thierry Frémaux; MK2 CEO Nathanaël Karmitz; Sandra den Hamer, director of the EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam; Frédéric Maire, director of Cinémathèque Suisse; Davide Pozzi, director of Italian restoration company L’Immagine Ritrovata; Gaumont catalog director Jérôme Soulet; Anne-Laure Brénéol, artistic director and head of theatrical at Paris-based distributor Malavida; and MIFC director Juliette Rajon.

With this year’s focus on Spain, the MIFC will examine the state of the heritage film market in the country, particularly distribution in traditional circuits and on both classic and digital channels, and new avenues of development.

Taking part in discussions will be such major players as Sophie de Mac Mahon, head of sales at Mercury Films and its FlixOlé streaming platform; Pilar Toro, chief marketing officer at Spanish streaming service  Filmin; Philippe Chevassu, president of Paris-based Tamasa Distribution; Diana Santamaría of Atalante Cinema; Joxean Fernández, director of Cinémathèque Basque in San Sebastian; and José Pastor, head of fiction and cinema at Spanish pubcaster RTVE.

As part of the Spanish focus, the MIFC will screen restored versions of Basilio Martín Patino’s 1966 drama “Nueve cartas a Berta” (“Nine Letters to Berta”), a totem of Spain’s progressive New Spanish Cinema, and Iván Zulueta’s 1979 cult film “Arrebato” (“Rapture”), the high-point for many of a left-of-filed cinema which flowered during Spain’s transition to democracy.

This year the MIFC also offers a case study on Canada with a panel discussion on key private and public sector organizations dedicated to the preservation, restoration, distribution and exhibition of the country’s rich cinematic heritage. As part of the presentation, the market will screen Denys Arcand’s 1972 crime drama “Dirty Money.”

In a separate screening for cinema exhibitors, the MIFC also presents a newly restored version of Jeanne Moreau’s 1976 semi-autobiographical drama “Lumière,” which likewise unspools as part of the Lumière Festival’s showcase of the actress-filmmaker’s three directorial works, which also include 1979’s “L’Adolescente” and the 1983 documentary “Lillian Gish.”

Taking a look at international markets, a number of discussions aim to share experiences across borders, particularly in the wider distribution of films as well as on the challenges of film restoration in countries with limited capacity.   

A workshop with the International Confederation of Art Cinemas (CICAE) will explore ways to promote the international circulation of classic films in theaters and include panelists from Austria, Spain and Bulgaria.

Another large international panel will discuss “The State of the Heritage Film Industry in Countries with Low Production Capacity,” with participants from Bulgaria, Hungary, Malta, Latvia, Slovenia, Slovakia, North Macedonia, Lithuania and Albania.

Examining prospects and opportunities beyond Europe will be a case study on new commercial territories in the major developing regions of Asia and Africa. The overview will look at the audiovisual, mobile and internet landscape in Africa and Asia, the rise of OTT vs. the box-office and television, and market opportunities for companies specializing in post-production, restoration and localization.

Film education is likewise on the agenda with a presentation of two European initiatives that promote access to films and develop educational programs around European works:

  • Franco-German pubcaster Arte has launched a collection on entitled ArteKino Classics, which shows restored European classic films every month.
  • The European Film Factory platform, supported by the Creative Europe MEDIA program and led by the Institut Français in partnership with Arte Education and European Schoolnet, aims to support teachers and pupils aged 11 to 18 across Europe in their discovery of European cinema.