Power to the Pixel Presents Financing Innovation & Cross-Media
by Ernesto Leotta
- CANNES NEXT: A warm and sunny afternoon was the perfect setting for NEXT's first Special Presentation at the Cannes Film Festival
Yesterday, at the NEXT stand, the world-famous British company Power to the Pixel presented a well-attended session in which a wide spectrum of international audiovisual experts shared their views on financing innovations and cross-media.
Liz Rosenthal, the CEO and founder of the company, acted as moderator, recounting her very own experience first, and then bringing out several heads of funds and commissioners who started an intense and gripping debate with an unexpectedly huge audience.
Aided by a short but clear PowerPoint presentation, Rosenthal began her speech by pointing out the difference between the platform-centric and user-centric cross-media approaches. “Creatives and commissioners from across the media industries are still, for the most part, platform-focused when developing stories,” she said. “We take an alternative user- and audience-centric approach to development that involves carefully looking at the people we are communicating with – their needs, motivations and behaviour – before choosing the relevant platform to design an appropriate experience for that user.”
It was then Monique Simard's turn to hold the microphone. Simard is the current president of the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC), Quebec’s arts funding agency. She was also involved with the National Film Board, where she headed the studio’s French programme. In addition, she has run an independent documentary-film production house, spent two years in the National Assembly as a Parti Québécois MNA and served as a top executive at the CSN (Confédération des syndicats nationaux) union. Her keynote speech was eventually addressed to the world's most powerful mobile companies, which “don't give back enough for what they take” in terms of content shown, just like cable TV years ago.
Later on, the iconic “man with the white glasses”, Philippe Reynaert, took over the stage, delivering an interesting and amusing speech on his experience as director of Wallimage, in his typical Belgian accent. “We started from Wallonia, the poor south of Belgium,” laughed Reynaert, “but now we get to finance start-up digital enterprises... and it's not so common for a regional film fund to give money to young companies. But we believe in them!” After studying literature, Reynaert started out in television in 1983 presenting the Midnight Film Club on RTBF. He has been collaborating with public-service broadcasters ever since. He then assumed the directorship of Wallimage, the regional fund for investment in the audiovisual industry created by the Walloon Region’s Minister of Economy. After sharing his personal story, Reynaert went on to highlight Wallimage's accomplishments and projects in front of an audience that was eager to learn from him and the other pioneers.
One of the listeners even asked about a possible collaboration between two of the experts, and that was when Graeme Mason, CEO of Screen Australia, and Karen Thorne-Stone, president and CEO of OMDC, told NEXT about their experience with Time Tremors. This exciting and ambitious interactive co-production includes: a live-action television component, an online web series enhanced for mobile and an online “Treasure Hunt” game that features innovative storytelling connecting children with cultural museums and art galleries during their quest.
When all of the special guests had finished their keynote speeches, including Claus Ladegaard, head of development and production at the Danish Film Institute, and Burkhard Althoff, deputy chief of ZDF, the members of NEXT's audience could finally enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to chat with international audiovisual experts while sipping some fresh drinks offered by Power to the Pixel.