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Pascal Diot • Director, Venice Film Market

“The networking side of the business will increase”


- VENICE 2015: Cineuropa met up with Pascal Diot, director of the Venice Film Market, which attracts buyers, world sales agents, producers, exhibitors and festival programmers from all over the world

Pascal Diot  • Director, Venice Film Market

Today, the Venice Film Market (VFM) kicks off in the Excelsior Hotel on the Venice Lido, and the event will provide international film professionals with various networking opportunities. “The main strength of the VFM,” says Pascal Diot, director of the event, “is the opportunity to facilitate long, in-depth conversations between professionals.”

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Cineuropa: What is your approach to the VFM in order to attract the industry?
Pascal Diot:
Ever since it was created, we have positioned the VFM as a “networking” event. Of course, you can find all the basic elements of a market, but the main strength of the VFM is the opportunity to facilitate long, in-depth conversations between professionals.

Is there a need to keep the structure flexible? What are the main improvements and initiatives this year?
Our industry is constantly evolving, and it’s a necessity to stay flexible and open. This is our fourth edition, and we have been launching new initiatives every year. So this year, we wanted to stabilise and slightly expand the existing initiatives, like, for instance, increasing the number of countries eligible for the European Gap-Financing Market (EGFM) and Final Cut in Venice. Nevertheless, together with Roskino, we are co-organising a co-production pitching session for Russian projects.

Is the VFM getting a boost thanks to the establishment of the EGFM?
Yes, because the EGFM is unique among its kind, and so new kinds of professionals are coming (private-equity funds, financiers, post-production companies and so on). This year, we also had the support of MEDIA through a grant, which helped us to invite more people.

What kinds of projects are presented at the EGFM?
The European Gap-Financing Market is the first of its kind because all co-production markets focus on development, and with the EGFM, we wanted to focus on the completion of the film, which, most of the time, is as difficult as developing a movie. The criterion is that the projects must have secured 70% of their financing. Then, for the 15 selected European projects, we organise one-to-one meetings with financiers, private-equity funds, post-production facilities, and of course sales agents, producers and distributors. This year, we have projects coming from the main European countries (France, Italy, Germany and so on) as well as from “smaller” ones (Croatia, Romania and Portugal), and one from Turkey. 

How is the market linked to the other festival programmes and activities?
We automatically work closely with the festival in various areas, such as promoting the three Biennale College Cinema films, arranging private screenings of movies shown in the selection or organising international panels that are open to all of the festival participants and not only the industry ones.

Does the Venice Film Market cooperate with other markets?
Not for the time being, but we are in discussions with some of them. 

In your view, what is the outlook for the future of big film markets?
I believe that large film markets will evolve in a direction where it will be increasingly difficult to have more and more stands, mostly for economic reasons; on the contrary, the networking side of the business – meeting people and so on – will increase.

Is the human factor and the personal contact that one gets during meet-and-greet opportunities something that cannot be replaced by online screenings?
Of course; it will always be necessary for people to meet each other, whatever their activity may be: selling, buying, producing, investing… Nevertheless, I think that for the industry, online screenings will increase.

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