This month we speak with Igor Stanković, the CEO of MCF MegaCom Film, the distribution company he created in 2004. Igor Stanković was appointed to the Order of the Knights of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture for the promotion of French and European culture. He is a member of the Board of the Yugoslav Cinematheque and received two significant awards in 2014: the Captain Misa Anastasijevic Award (the biggest for film and culture in Serbia) and the Plaque of the Yugoslav Cinematheque for his contribution to the film industry.
MCF MegaCom Film is now the largest distributor of European films in Eastern and Southeastern Europe and the exclusive representative of 20th Century Fox in the region. It is also the producer of two film festivals: Serbian Kids Fest and Auteur Film Festival.
With the largest VOD platform, MagicBox, in cooperation with the biggest regional mobile operator, VIP mobile, and with four cinemas, one of which (Vilin Grad Niš Cinema) got the prestigious title of the best Serbian cinema in the Europa Cinemas network, MCF MegaCom Film has also local offices in Macedonia (MKD MCF), Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH MCF) and Montenegro (MNE MCF).
FNE: How would you describe your lineup? What are your upcoming titles?
Igor Stanković: Diverse, full of successful movies, movies from recognised authors but also from directors whose rise to fame is yet to be expected. As for the genre, the festival is equally diverse without a precise division between genres.
There are two upcoming festival - the 13th Serbian Kids Fest and the 23rd Belgrade Auteur Film Festival, for which we have prepared many titles already planned for regular distribution. Of course, some of those titles will probably get removed from the list for regular distribution due to their weak results, while some titles might be added due to the great interest they will generate. In particular, movies such as The Killing of a Sacred Deer by Yorgos Lanthimos, La Cordillera by Santiago Mitre, BPM (Beats per Minute) by Robin Campillo, The Florida Project by Sean Baker, Loveless by Andrey Zvyagintsev, Happy End by Michael Haneke will be theatrically released before and during the festival.
FNE: Do you have good examples of fruitful collaborations or partnerships with local cinemas? Do you have your own cinema and if so how do you use it to accompany the release of your films?
Igor Stanković: A prerequisite for successful distribution is the collaboration with cinemas. Organising premieres and ticket giveaways along with branding in the cinema itself, promotions and good hours, are all good examples. We have our own cinemas and they do not come before others. The important thing is that the cinemas show good and high-quality movies, regardless of whether the movie is ours or not.
FNE: If you think of a good success you had in 2016, what’s the percentage of income you got from each window (theatrical, VoD, Home Video, TV)?
Igor Stanković: This year has been much better than 2016. One of the windows does not exist and that is Home Video, so there is no income from that window, the ones bringing in the most profit being Theatrical and TV: 90% compared to VoD, which is still in development and will remain to be so at least for a while.
FNE: What is your marketing campaign you are more proud of? How did you develop the campaign on different windows?
Igor Stanković: There have been some interesting campaigns since the beginning of 2017 such as the ones for The Salesman by Asgar Farhadi and Graduation by Cristian Mungiu, but the one that was definitely the best was the campaign for The Other Side of Hope by Aki Kaurismäki. This was the campaign that showed that it is possible to make a successful campaign with other formats. Also, a retrospective of Kaurismäki’s movies on national TV was successful, as well as some other campaigns on various formats.
FNE: Where do you see your company in five years from now?
Igor Stanković: Owning and running the place in Belgrade with several screens, a concert hall, children’s education and creative center, media and press center, a VR cinema (Vve aRe cinema) is already bound to happen in 2018. Dvorana Doma Sindikata, a venue, which has been open in the center of the city since 1957, will be completely renovated by then. In the next five we will probably do the same thing and also something else related to the film and entertainment industry.
FNE: Do you have have any advice for a new distributor?
Igor Stanković: Never give up; once when you think it is impossible it is just a stop towards more complicated things, which you are keen, ready and crazy to sort out.