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Raise Your Eyes: “EFM Horizon” Presents Social, Artistic and Technological Developments in the Film and Creative Industries of the Coming Years


Sustainability, well-being, diversity, storytelling, artificial intelligence and immersive media are the focus of this year’s edition of “EFM Horizon” (February 21-25) at Berliner Freiheit (Berliner Freiheit 2, 10785 Berlin). In its fourth year, the platform of the European Film Market bundles forward-looking developments of social, technological, economic and creative nature and provides an outlook into the future of the film and entertainment industry. Numerous initiatives, such as the “EFM Industry Debates”, the “EFM VR NOW Summit” and the “EFM Startups”, as well as various panel discussions, keynotes, talks and presentations will be offered under the aegis of the “EFM Horizon”, funded by Medienboard-Berlin Brandenburg.

On Friday, February 21, the programme commences with the presentation of the 7th Nostradamus Report under the heading “A Creative Explosion” by Johanna Koljonen, author of the annual report of the Göteborg Film Festival. The report aims to predict the future of the screen industries for the next three to five years. Johanna Koljonen succeeds at this endeavour by virtue of extensive research as well as interviews and discussions with industry experts. The presentation is followed by an in-depth talk with respect to different aspects of the report.

The “EFM Industry Debates” will again be presented by IFA, the world’s leading trade fair for consumer electronics and home appliances. The talk series (February 21-23), will see top-class experts discuss currently relevant topics for market participants. Under the title “The Future of Storytelling” (in cooperation with “Screen International”), the influence of a new generation and of new formats on the narrative flow and the way of storytelling will be explored and expounded. The debate “Indie Strategies in the Streaming Age” (in cooperation with “The Hollywood Reporter”) illuminates independent niche portals, which in addition to the streaming giants Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+ as well as the newcomers Disney+, HBO Max and NBCUniversals Peacock have to defend their position. The third of the “EFM Industry Debates”, under the heading “Future-Proofing Marketing Strategies” (in cooperation with “Variety”), discusses the challenges in marketing with regard to offering customised market content in the changing media landscape.

Once more, ten selected startups are eagerly waiting in the starting blocks to present new ideas and applications at the interface between film, media and technology at “EFM Startups” (February 23-25). Startup entrepreneurs from Denmark, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the USA have the opportunity to network with the market participants for three days. Conversely, they can enter into dialogue with visionaries and creatives from other industries. Included are an online streaming platform for pan-African television content, a technology developer for secure special effects, a startup that revolutionises the listening experience by virtue of haptic feedback as well as startups based on artificial intelligence for music selection, storytelling and data analysis, a startup with VR and AR-based visualisation tools and much more.

Cinematic VR is the central theme of the fourth “EFM VR NOW SUMMIT” (February 24), presented by Virtual Reality Berlin-Brandenburg e.V. and VR NOW. The programme opens with the keynote speech by six-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer Caleb Deschanel. Under the heading “Virtual Production - Why is Virtual Reality a Revolution for Film Making?”, he shares his experiences regarding the shooting of “The Lion King”, which was shot completely on a virtual film set. Indeed, a game engine and VR hardware catapulted the filmmakers from a warehouse in Los Angeles into the African savannah within seconds. “Immersive Content Production for Multiple Channels“, “Dreamscape - Pushing the Limits of Immersive Entertainment“, “VR in the Year 2020 - between Disruptive Power and Unfulfilled Expectation“ are topics of further lectures at the Virtual Reality Summit. Moreover, there are official market screenings for 360° VR projects in the “EFM VR Cinema” on the premises of Berliner Freiheit.

With its Sustainability Manifesto, the European Film Market wishes to make a comprehensive contribution to environmental protection, which also encompasses the promotion of diversity and of mental health. For this reason, these topics also play a significant role in “EFM Horizon“:

Evidently, modern societies are going through large-scale social and economic changes. The number of mental and psychosomatic disorders has increased in recent years, and this also, or even especially, affects the creative industries. Accordingly, an event under the heading “Well-being Well-focused: The Connection between Creativity and Mental Health” (February 22) addresses numerous examples of how companies, particularly in the film and music industries, can manage the balancing act of increasing the potential of their employees without burning them out and at the same time acting in an entrepreneurially profitable manner. This time-critical question is discussed both from the perspective of the employees and from that of the companies.

An entire morning is dedicated to “sustainABILITY: New Green Skills, Tools and Models for Industry-wide Transformation” (February 23). In particular, the aspects of sustainability relevant to the film industry are considered here, ranging from changes in (film) festivals to green film production, encompassing thereby sustainable streaming and the creation of creative ecosystems.

Diversity is the topic of the keynote “5050 - A Roadmap for the Future” (February 23) by Anna Serner (CEO Swedish Film Institute). Her presentation and the subsequent discussion sheds light on the “5050x2020” movement from its beginnings as a call for more gender equality in Swedish film funding to today’s global movement, which has taken up the diversity debate and additionally encompasses other groups.

Additionally, the participants of “EFM Horizon” can expect further panel discussions, keynotes and presentations, for example on future production (February 22: “Nobody Knows Anything”), on artificial intelligence (February 25: “AI: Film’s New Normal? Pragmatic AI for the Entire Production Cycle”), a fireside chat with a pioneer and disruptor of the film industry (February 24: “EFM FilmTech Meetup” in cooperation with the podcast Film Disruptors and the FilmTech Office), a workshop on challenges in sales (February 25, by invitation only: “Challenging Distribution 2020”, presented by Next Wave & “EFM” Horizon) and a workshop on European streaming policy (February 25, by invitation only: “Streaming Geopolitics - The EU’s Next Moves on the Global Chessboard”) as well as a conversation with Andrew Keen - bestselling author, “Antichrist of Silicon Valley” and one of the first to warn of the dangers of the internet for culture and society, - about the possibilities of the creative industry in shaping a better 21st century (February 25: “Tomorrows Versus Yesterdays. How Creatives can Fix the Future”, presented by THE ARTS +, the innovation platform of the Frankfurt Book Fair), in cooperation with the DLD conference.

Access to the “EFM Horizon” events is possible with a Market Badge (priority) and Press Accreditation. Guests who pre-register for “EFM Horizon” events have priority access. Please note that some events, however, are accessible exclusively by invitation.

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