Cannes market goes 'virtual'

Online initiative launched to boost film sales during crisis

by Richard Mowe

Palais des Festivals in Cannes dressed up with iconic poster image of Agnès Varda for last year - the Market or Marché normally takes place in a vast hall under the main screening rooms
Palais des Festivals in Cannes dressed up with iconic poster image of Agnès Varda for last year - the Market or Marché normally takes place in a vast hall under the main screening rooms Photo: Richard Mowe

The official launch of the Cannes Film Festival Marché (Market) du Film online will take place on Monday 22 June.

The idea, as previously mooted, is to support film industry professionals while the main Festival, the Directors’ Fortnight, and the Critics’ Week miss out due to the coronavirus.

"No one knows what the second half of the year may bring and whether it will be possible to organise major film events again in 2020, including the Festival de Cannes," said Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate of the Festival. "Cannes has therefore decided to adapt its format for this peculiar year. Here's a first initiative: a Marché du Film Online, launched by Jérôme Paillard, Executive Director of the Marché. This brand new kind of market is organised in consultation and with the participation of many professionals from all over the world.”

The digital market place will be held from Monday 22 to Friday 26 June.

The online market is intended to mimic the market experience in Cannes, with live and real-time meetings. It will offer creative alternatives to facilitate business and networking for film industry professionals from all over the world. The Marché du Film Online will take the shape of a closed industry space including virtual booths for sales agents: sales companies will be able to connect with buyers and to display their new films and projects-in-progress in an online dedicated space serving as a digital equivalent to their booths in Cannes.

Institutions from all over the world will present their national cinematography, film commissions and film locations, support their producers and arrange meetings in a virtual space as they are used to doing in their pavilion in the International Village.

Participants can request and set up meetings via the Marché du Film networking app Match&Meet, which now integrates video calls.

There will be online screenings of films completed or in post-production and project presentations in about 15 virtual cinemas, to maintain the market momentum and allow time for viewing and negotiation. Reruns will be organised for buyers in different time zones. The platform will be based on Cinando's technology and on strict security measures.

Paillard said: "In this challenging situation, the film industry is expressing a need for a spring rendez-vous before the summer. A survey we conducted last week among distributors around the world reveals that 80% of them are interested in an online market and 66% have the capacity to make acquisitions (mainly of completed films but also of films in post-production and writing). We won't replace the Cannes experience with the Marché du Film Online, but we are recreating part of its essence online by offering professionals an efficient and cutting-edge platform to screen films, buy them, finance projects and meet partners. We’re also experimenting with a new market model that will allow professionals who didn't have the means or the time to come to Cannes to participate".

Accreditations for the Marché du Film Online will soon be available for industry professionals at an early bird rate of 95 euros until May 29 and 195 (normal rate) after that - including a one-year subscription to Cinando.

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