Lindsay Peters, Julie Bergeron • Market & industry director, executive director, Frontières
by David González
- Frontières@Brussels market and industry director Lindsay Peters and executive director Julie Bergeron dissect the genre film professional event's third edition as well as its future
Shortly after the third edition of the Frontières International Co-Production Market, which took place in the wings of the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival, wrapped, Cineuropa sat down with market and industry director Lindsay Peters and executive director Julie Bergeron to discuss the event’s successful third edition, as well as its future, which will see it taking a detour from its Belgian setting, arriving at the Cannes Film Festival.
Cineuropa: This edition of Frontières has been particularly fruitful, as many deals were made for films from this and previous years’ selections… What would you say is this year’s highlight? What has improved from previous years?
Lindsay Peters: Not only did we receive a record number of submissions, the overall quality was that much higher, making this our most competitive edition yet. This year we also decided to really focus our panels to do more case studies rather than broad discussions - one was our international co-production case study, on the Belgian-Irish-Spanish co-production on Jaume Balagueró's next film, Muse, which is a collaboration between Frakas Productions, Fantastic Films, and Filmax (read more). While Muse was not an official Frontières project, it's still very much a Frontières success story in that the producers met at a previous edition – as Brendan McCarthy of Fantastic Films said during the panel, "Frontières is a family business." Our other panel was a digital media case study on cross-platform universe building, with a focus on the short-film-turned-web-series-turned-video-game, The Riftworld Chronicles, which is a great example of Canadian-Belgian collaboration. This project received support last year from the Canada-Wallonia Digital Media Incentive.
Julie Bergeron: Many of the North American participants travelled more than 30 hours to be with us in Brussels for a few days. They are the super-heroes of this year's edition! Also, this year we could definitely feel how much Frontières has grown into more than just a co-production market. It is now a brand in the genre film world and has become a strong network of producers who are keen to share and work together. Muse is a good example. Although the project was not pitched at Frontières, the co-producers met through Frontières and succeeded in bringing together Spain, Belgium and Ireland – not an obvious combination – and getting Eurimages funding.
Next year, Frontières will not be held in Brussels…
J.B.: We have realised after three years of holding two editions per year, resulting in more than 40 projects pitched each year for a total of more than 120 over the past 3 years, that many of the projects and the producers from the Frontières network were asking us for more follow-up. Instead of multiplying the number of projects we present each year, we think it is a good idea to offer – in partnership with the Cannes Film Market, where I am Head of Industry Programmes – a yearly platform that would help more of Frontières projects and producers access the international market. The Cannes Film Market has a long tradition of welcoming genre films and is very excited to partner with Frontières to offer more dedicated industry events. We are in discussions with European partners at the moment, since the European location of the Financing and Packaging Forum is still to be announced. We also hope that we will be able to secure continuing support from Creative Europe to build up these new Frontières initiatives.
L.P.: Yes, after three amazing years at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival we are looking for the Frontières platform to evolve. With this new partnership, we are confident that the creation of a forum will offer the projects and network a strong opportunity to follow up before we all go to Cannes. The forum will be an invitational event for projects that can benefit from additional intensive meetings with VFX experts, casting agents, marketing specialists. The forum projects will then work towards a presentation session and dedicated genre industry networking opportunities in Cannes in May.
Could you just tell us a bit about what the Frontières edition in Cannes will entail?
J.B.: We are already planning a series of events for the genre film community in association with Frontières in Cannes this year. Sunday 15 May is being designed to offer a Genre Film Day in Cannes. Virtual reality genre films will be presented at NEXT (curated by the Canadian Film Center and Frontières), some works-in-progress of the Frontières projects (and/or from producers), looking for sales agents and festival selections, will be presented under the banner “Frontières goes to Cannes” and the day will culminate at the Fantastic Fanatics Mixer, which is offered by the Cannes Film Market and sponsored by Frontières, Tallinn Black Nights, Blood Window and Bucheon Fantastic Festival.
L.P.: The Fantasia edition of the co-production market will continue as usual each July in Montreal – this year our dates are 21-24 July; project submissions are open until 13 April. For this year, and for future editions, we will be looking for ways to develop the market, including in-depth discussions on the state of and future directions for the genre film industry, and presentations of projects from territories outside Europe and North America. The sense of community is really the defining aspect of Frontières, we are now eager to develop this spirit even further with these new initiatives throughout the year.