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Successful networking day for the book, film and games industries

Frankfurt, 20 October 2016 - “Just find yourself a bad director, then everyone will say the book was much better.” This comment might not have been meant entirely seriously, but Dutch author Dimitri Verhulst was acknowledging the great dilemma writers face when their books are about to be filmed. For this reason, Verhulst recommends that books and films-of-books should be viewed as two separate art forms, each subject to its own rules. Put more poetically, “You have to think of your book as a child that you’re releasing into a new world.”

The cross-genre adaptation business was the focus of “A Book is a Film is a Game”, the book fair’s first networking day on Thursday, 20 October 2016. Almost 180 agents, rights managers, publishers and games experts gained new insights from 12 case studies, as well as presentations and expert panels on market data and market potentials. The discussions also addressed new business opportunities, as well as the pitfalls and success factors of the adaptation process.

“This first outing for our event was a huge success,” said its organiser, Jenny Kühne of the Frankfurter Buchmesse. “The great interest shown in the professional programme – with 180 participants from 17 countries – demonstrates just how keen these industries are to cooperate and exchange ideas. Today we’ve clearly seen how great the potential is for the crossmedial rights and licensing business – and how big a need there is for new business models.”

Some revealing and surprising findings were supplied by undergraduates of the Book Studies course at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, in a paper with the title “The Adaption Business. Market Facts and Figures”. For instance, nearly a fifth of all films currently on cinema release are book adaptations. Of the 585 films that opened in Germany in 2015, almost 19 percent derived from literary originals. It is a different story in the games sector where, despite the growing popularity of this medium, screen adaptations of videogames are still rather rare. For the last five years, there have only been about two such adaptations each year.

The good news for authors and publishers: even if film adaptations of literary bestsellers do not automatically become blockbusters, they can still help pave the way to increased sales and a prolonged presence in the bestseller lists.

In her case study “From game to book”, Eleanor Fletcher, Global Brand Management Director with Egmont Publishing UK, shared insights into the highly diversified marketing universe of the successful computer game, Minecraft. Some 11 million copies have been sold to date, just of the various different handbooks to the game. Indispensable for the hardcore fans is the 300-page cuboid reference work, the Minecraft Blockopedia.

Laurent Duvault, Director of International and Audiovisual Development with the Franco-Belgian publishing group Media Participations, explained the story behind the most expensive French film of all time. Cult director Luc Besson (Nikita, Leon, The Fifth Element) is currently working on a film adaptation of the famous sci-fi comic series Valérian et Laureline (German publisher: Carlsen Comic). The 200-million-euro project, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, starring Dane DeHaan and supermodel Cara Delevingne, is due for cinema release in July 2017.

Bestselling author Markus Heitz and Jan Theysen of KING ART Game spoke about how a popular novel can be adapted successfully into a computer game. The subject of the talk was Heitz’ own fantasy saga The Dwarves (Piper), which is currently providing the material for the development of a new computer game. Part of the million-euro budget was acquired through two Kickstarter campaigns, as Theysen explained. “But crowd funding doesn’t just mean money,” he said. “By using this channel we also raised awareness about the game. We got a huge amount of feedback and we developed a community at the same time.” The author Heitz also spoke in favour of a strict division of labour for adaptations: “KING Game had absolute freedom to do whatever was necessary to produce a good game.”

The programme was organised in cooperation with the Netherlands Film Fund. The partner for the networking day was Kaiken Publishing/Rovio Animation.

About Kaiken Publishing
As a subsidiary of Rovio, Kaiken Publishing Ltd. is the right partner for owners of intellectual property, want to promote their material in the field of publishing and transmedial storytelling. Kaiken designs publishing programmes for children, young adults and comic fans the world over, drawing on original stories and on behalf of previously existing labels. The company’s storytelling experts are always actively searching for new ideas, which readers can discover through Kaiken’s extensive global network of publishers and digital partners.

About Rovio
Rovio Entertainment Ltd. is a globally active media and entertainment company. With its headquarters in Finland and studios around the world, Rovio created Angry Birds, the online game for mobile devices which became an international phenomenon and changed the industry. Today, Angry Birds is not just the most frequently downloaded game of all time; it is also a recognised entertainment trademark which encompasses other segments, including animation, licensing etc. The Angry Birds film is currently showing in cinemas worldwide.

About the Frankfurt Book Fair
The Frankfurt Book Fair is the international publishing industry’s biggest trade fair – with 7,100 exhibitors from more than 100 countries, around 275,000 visitors, over 4,000 events and approximately 10,000 accredited journalists – including 2,000 bloggers - in attendance. It also gathers key players from other media, including the film and games industries. Since 1976, the Book Fair has featured an annual Guest of Honour country, which showcases its book market, literature and culture to attendees in a variety of ways. The Frankfurt Book Fair organises the participation of German publishers at around 20 international book fairs and hosts trade events throughout the year in major international markets. With its Business Club, the Frankfurt Book Fair offers essential services and an ideal setting for the activities of publishers, entrepreneurs, pioneers, experts and visionaries. The Frankfurt Book Fair is a subsidiary of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association.

Contact for the media:
Press & Corporate Communications, Frankfurt Book Fair
Katja Böhne, Vice President Marketing & Communications, tel.: +49 (0) 69 2102-138,
Kathrin Grün, PR manager, Tel.: +49 (0) 69 2102-170,
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