"This is how we can offer quality and boast appeal"
Industry Report: Produce - Co-Produce...
Pierre-Emmanuel Fleurantin & Jérémy Zelnik • Co-Directors, Coprocity
We met with the heads of the Coprocity platform, a professional tool successfully initiated in summer 2021 which is now introducing a Best Project prize
Launched last July, the online Coprocity platform works in partnership with 13 co-production markets (Cinéfondation Workshop, La Fabrique Cinema, Ventana Sur, When East Meets West, Torino Film Lab, Thessaloniki - Agora and Agora Docs -, Connecting Cottbus, Baltic Event, Meeting Point Vilnius, New Nordic Film Haugesund, Les Arcs Industry Village, Sofia Meetings and CineLink) to help film entities (distributors, international sales agents, TV networks, co-producers,…) keep a watchful eye on the progress of the projects which are presented during these markets, all the while making or developing professional contacts in order to facilitate the development and funding process.
Cineuropa: Where is Coprocity at, ten months after launching?
Jérémy Zelnik: The project was immediately well-received. The idea was to bring a significant number of co-production markets together and to rapidly become a reference point for project monitoring. We felt there was real enthusiasm for the initiative, proving that something really had been missing in this domain. 13 markets said yes very quickly and did their bit to encourage producers to list their projects on the platform.
Pierre-Emmanuel Fleurantin: We’re now looking to gradually expand Coprocity, moving beyond film and European borders. Whether we’re looking at series, documentaries or animations, we also want our tool to be useful to the audiovisual market. In fact, we’re already in discussion with several specialised markets in this respect.
JZ: We wanted to move forwards slowly, one step at a time. Firstly, because we’re in the process of enhancing the platform with several additional features, but also because we started out in a film market in which we were already active, given that we organise the Les Arcs Industry Village, which made things easier for us. But from the very start, we designed Coprocity so that it would work for audiovisual funding too, in the wider sense of the term and all over the world.
P-EF: In this first current phase, the projects listed on the platform have previously been selected in partner markets. Our set-up is that we invite projects which have taken part in partner markets or professionals registered on Cinando to appear on our platform. It’s one of Coprocity’s pivotal strengths because the few tools which have been created in the same vein are open to anyone and everyone. We’re trying to create a relatively selective system, both in terms of the firms which take part and the projects listed on the platform. We believe this is how we can offer quality and boast appeal. When you go on Coprocity, you know that you’re going to find well-established producers and projects with potential.
How does Coprocity work, in practice?
JZ: Partner markets invite producers to list their projects on the platform. If the producer accepts, our system allows us to collect the data for the project, so that producers don’t have to pull it all together again. Then there’s the "public" side (it’s accessible, but only to those who have been authorised by us to sign up to Coprocity) and the "private" side: the former mostly consists of what you’d usually find in a co-production market catalogue (synopses, statements of intent, directors’ biographies, etc.) whereas specific details on the projects (scripts or treatments, budgets, funding plans, potentially projects’ first extracts, moodboards, etc.) are only available with the producer’s prior permission, on a case by case and on request basis. The producer decides who has access to what and when; he or she controls the various details based on the principle of asymmetric production information.
P-EF: The principle of asymmetric information is a major principle in this market: we don’t give information to anyone and everyone at any old time; we release it gradually and specifically to those whom we want to enter into contracts with or with whom we want to share information first. Coprocity works on a fairly detailed level: producers can decide to share a treatment with one party and a full version of the script with another, because we don’t always communicate with sales agents and co-producers in the same way, for example. We might also have several drafts of the budget depending on the type of funding we imagine might be possible: if it’s a co-production or a far more national film, etc. What we’re actually doing is trying to replicate how we work in “real life” on a platform, and mostly via emails. One advantage of this is not having to send emails and our experience of co-production markets, both from a project bearer and participant standpoint, has taught us that it’s quite time-consuming having to follow-up on projects after markets. It’s much faster with a platform and it makes things easier.
JZ: In terms of heads of acquisitions at international sales agencies, who were highly receptive to the Coprocity initiative, it allows them to centralise all the projects they want to follow: they can categorise them by market, by how interested they are in them, and by many other criteria (projects which they’ve read or are yet to read, those they need to reply to, those they wish to follow and whose changes they wish to be kept informed of, etc.). To give you a clear idea, when you take part in a market and you’ve got 10 meetings on your agenda, you often have a favourite project and you’re going to fight to get it, but there are also two or three other projects which you find interesting but which it’s still too early to be looking at because the right version of the script isn’t quite ready or because everything hinges on them obtaining funding within their country, etc. When you’re responsible for acquisitions and you travel to 15 markets a year, it’s not easy keeping track of these projects, and when you’re a producer, it’s even harder to keep track of them because developments and funding sometimes stretch out over three, four or five years.
P-EF: That’s where Coprocity comes in, a tool which helps you to stay up to date at any given time. When a producer uploads updates, you’re informed: whether auditions have been announced, funding has been awarded or the project is moving into the preparation, pre-production or filming phase, etc. All of this can be monitored via news-bulletin updates on what’s happening with the different projects. And we’re also keen on creating an algorithm measuring the buzz surrounding projects.
JZ: We’ve also decided to launch an award in order to foreground projects which are generating the most excitement. At the end of June, we will pre-select the 15 projects which are being monitored the most on the platform. Then, a jury composed of international sales agent Clémence Lavigne (The Party Sales), distributor Vladimir Kokh (KMBO) and a journalist from the professional international press (whose name will be announced at a later date) will choose the winning project, whose identity will be revealed around 20 September and which will be awarded 5,000 Euros in development aid.
What are your aims for Coprocity in the medium term?
P-EF: We realise that this kind of tool always take a bit of time to set up. The aim is to become a reference tool for producers, as well as for all types of financiers in the wider sense of the word. This is why we’re tackling the market in a global fashion, since film producers are increasingly leaning towards series and are also making growing numbers of documentaries. And in the second instance, as well as projects hailing from co-production markets, we’re going to allow producers to add “private” projects, which won’t be visible to everyone but which they will be able to share with users whom they’re already somewhat connected with: it will be a system along the lines of LinkedIn, so that sales agents aren’t inundated with projects which don’t interest them, for example, and so that they can approve someone first, before receiving their projects. The system in its entirety will be designed to avoid the usual issue associated with platforms, where you can’t find what you need without wading through anything and everything.
JZ: We’re not looking to replace co-production markets in any way; we complement what they do. But there’s also a whole raft of projects which don’t feature in these co-production markets because they don’t necessarily need to: their producers have their own networks, their directors have plenty of experience, the film has more of a commercial target and isn’t really suited to co-production markets, the project already has a sales agent associated with it, etc. But they might still need to find a distributor, co-producer or sales agent at a given point in time. With Coprocity, they can specifically target whomever they want to engage with.
(Translated from French)
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.