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From cinema to sofa: is COVID accelerating a production shift from theatrical to non-theatrical?

European Audiovisual Observatory announces its 2021 Cannes conference online
Strasbourg, France 15 June 2021
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From cinema to sofa: is COVID accelerating a production shift from theatrical to non-theatrical?

Tuesday 13 July 2021 from 15.00 to 17.00 CEST

COVID sent us all to our sofas to watch our favourite films during lockdown. And only now, over a year later, are cinemas opening up again and welcoming back their audiences. But was COVID the cause or just an accelerator of an already established move from big screen to small? And what was the effect of this move from cinema to sofa on the production of films and series? The European Audiovisual Observatory’s Cannes conference this year will take place online as part of the Cannes Marché du Film and be simultaneously streamed on YouTube as well. You can already register free online here.

The Observatory’s traditional annual Cannes conference took place entirely online last year and will repeat the exercise this year, hoping for next year’s return to real life! This year’s conference will look at the audiovisual production shift from theatrical to non-theatrical during the pandemic (and before?) and dive into some key questions. What are the inherent differences between theatrical and non-theatrical production, notably high-end series? What was the real effect of COVID on production and the switch from big screens to small? What are the stakes, risks, and possibly even chances for production companies in Europe, given this trend? And what can the industry do, along with policy makers and public bodies, to protect its interests, counteract the threat to independent production and ensure cultural diversity?

The Observatory’s Experts, Maja Cappello and Gilles Fontaine, will provide their traditional scene setting information linked to this year’s theme. Our conference is divided into two distinct panels: industry shifts and policy shifts. As every year we’ll be bringing together a stellar panel of cinema industry professionals, broadcasters, streamers, policy makers and representatives from public bodies such as film institutes. Our speakers and programme will be announced in due course.

The Observatory’s Executive Director, Susanne Nikoltchev said she was looking forward to another online Observatory Cannes conference, before hopefully getting back to real presence in 2022. She felt that it was “high time to take stock of the effects of COVID on production in Europe” and anticipated a “thoroughly energetic discussion of possible solutions for the European film industry”.

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