“We have been welcomed with open arms” say Julia Weber and Alice von Einem (formerly Buquoy) about becoming part of the Beta Group family of companies to head up the new world sales outfit Epsilon Film.
Julia and Alice are, of course, no strangers to the world of international sales – or the film industry as a whole: before embarking on this new chapter in their professional lives, Julia had been Head of International Acquisitions and Sales at Munich-based sales company Global Screen, with Alice working with her as SVP TV & Theatrical Sales & Acquisitions International before they made the move at the end of last September.
“It seems like a perfect match for us to come together with Beta to set up this new subsidiary when you see what both sides can bring to the table,” Julia explains. “For our part, we can offer our many years of experience and knowhow as well as an extensive international network of contacts. At the same time, we have a big player like Beta behind us with all of its infrastructure and the various companies working in distribution and production.”
The boutique operation, which will be officially launched at this year’s European Film Market at the Berlinale, is starting out modestly with only three employees on the payroll. While Julia and Alice have been appointed as Epsilon Film’s joint managing directors and will also oversee the sales and acquisition activities, they will be joined by another former Global Screen colleague, Matthias Ziegler, who will draw on his experience in the field of production to concentrate on the nitty gritty of film financing and production for the projects the new company decides to board.
“The lean structure for the company means that we can operate very quickly and in a flexible way,” Alice suggests. “So, when we speak to a producer, we can decide quickly both creatively and commercially about whether we want to get involved in a project.”
“I think that there are several elements to Epsilon’s USP,” Julia continues. “Apart from our long-standing experience in the business and the network we’ve built up of international producers, distributors and broadcasters, what Alice and me have in common is our passion that when we fall in love with a project, we will really be behind it and do everything that we can to also make the conditions for the producer as favourable as possible. Epsilon has the agility of a small boutique to act quickly, but the clout of a large player through the setup with the Beta Group. And one shouldn’t forget the importance of good old German reliability!”
As Alice points out, Epsilon won’t be restricting itself territory-wise for either its acquisition or sales activities, and the same goes for the genres of the films selected for the new company’s sales line-up.
“We want to build on our long and successful experience of working in the sector of family entertainment and on IP-based content,” she explains.
Any concerns that Epsilon could be faced with competition from its sister company Beta Cinema are swiftly dispelled.
“There may be a certain overlap with projects from German producers and for a producer to approach us both,” Julia notes. “But we are in a constant exchange of information and ideas with Dirk [Schürhoff] and his team on projects, so there won’t be any conflicts. After all, we’ve known each other now for more than 20 years!”
There isn’t any hard and fast rule when it comes to the specific stage when Epsilon might come onboard a project. “This could be at any stage,” Julia declares. “This might be from the very first idea or it can be at the rough cut or with the finished film. It depends on the individual project and the partners and the situation in the market.”
“The projects we will be working with could also benefit from synergies within the Beta Group,” Alice adds. “For example, they have an excellent TV sales division with a great track record, and very good partnerships all over the world that we could tap into and benefit from.”