Jérôme Paillard • Executive Director, Marché du Film
"In the eyes of the world, the Marché du Film is a symbol of the vitality of European cinema"
by Domenico La Porta
- At the wheel of the Marché du Film since 1996, Jérôme Paillard sheds some light on its 60th anniversary edition
Helming the Marché du Film since 1996, executive director Jérôme Paillard talks to us about this year’s 60th anniversary edition of the event, running 14 to 23 May during the 72nd Cannes Film Festival.
Cineuropa: How is the Marché du Film doing on the eve of its 60th anniversary?
Jérôme Paillard: Compared to this time last year, we’ve seen an overall increase in registrations to date. China’s presence, for example, will be just as significant as in previous years, despite the many factors that hinted otherwise. Other countries such as Brazil benefit from our support, which helps them weather the difficult climate and ensures they maintain their presence at the Marché du Film. We’re pleasantly surprised, given the considerable drop in numbers experienced by other professional platforms, such as the EFM for example, which has announced a 15% decline in 2019. The projects are just as plentiful as ever, as are the films, and we’re in quite a rare position in terms of our struggle to accommodate the high demand for screening slots. Sixty years on and the Marché du Film continues to grow.
Since its creation, the Marché du Film’s priority has been to respond to the needs of professionals. Sixty years later, is it not more a question of anticipating these needs?
Yes, we make a point of doing both, even if it does become quite difficult to introduce new things every year. For the anniversary edition, we’ve placed a particular focus on looking towards the future by putting together a small group of professionals, whom we consult with on a regular basis for informed opinions on matters relating to the general evolution of the industry, but also on how we can best accommodate them in Cannes and respond to the specific needs they may have. It was out of these discussions that Animation Day was born, a new event for 2019 which we’re organising with our partners from Annecy; it will be a little along the same lines as Doc Day, with meetings, a debate on the distribution of animated film and a lunch allowing animated film professionals to extend their networks.
Animation Day isn’t the only novelty for 2019…
We’re also launching “Meet The Streamers”, which provides sales agents with the opportunity to meet around a dozen VOD platform representatives whom they might not know particularly well, within a speed dating-type scenario, changing tables every 20 minutes.
In terms of genre films, the Frontières platform will be fortified by “Fantastic Seven”, a new project which we developed with the help of the Sitges Film Festival, for which we asked 7 festivals (Macao, Sitges, Toronto…) to choose a genre project in development in each of their countries, which will then be pitched at our event by the producer and the director in a bid to find partners.
The reach of new technologies is growing thanks to Cannes XR, which provides immersive projects with a dedicated space which is now separate from NEXT. As well as hosting conferences, Cannes XR will present around a hundred films. It’s less than last year’s 250 films, but the curation process is more rigorous and more relevant thanks to the high-level studios we’ve invited. What’s special about our VR library is that it will allow these films to be available for a further three weeks in Location Based Entertainment (LBE) venues all around the world.
This year, we’re also testing our matchmaking application, which is separate from Cinando and which allows professionals who sign up to the programme to specify the type of meetings that they would like so that the platform can then propose potential partners, places and times for these meetings, taking everyone’s diary constraints into account.
You have headed up the Marché du Film for over a third of its existence. What are you most proud of?
It’s a joint effort and I’m proud to share the credit for its success with my team. The first years were the easiest, because the Marché was relatively small in 1996. Things became more complicated when we became a leader. Maintaining that same level of success is more difficult than it is to reach it. Expectations are very high, as are the demands. The creation of a guide in 1996 was a mini revolution which has continued with Cinando, which might allow us to drop the paper version definitively. I’m also very happy that festivals from all over the world come to Cannes. They play a vital role in the life of a film, as of the development phase, and today, between 1,300 and 1,400 festival programmers come to Cannes. There are as many of them as there are distributers!
Do you get the impression that the new generation of professionals who have grown up within a « digital ecosystem » are changing the codes of cinema? Or are they just using them differently?
There’s no obvious answer. The codes of cinema remain the same, perhaps because we work in a field motivated by passion, first and foremost. International strategies have changed very little. There are definitely fewer advertising boards on the Croisette and fewer marketing inserts in the dailies, but that’s more a question of budget than any real change in practices. Fundamentally, physical meetings, in person, between professionals remain essential. Digital tools facilitate these meetings, but they can’t replace them, in the same way that the democratization of online screening hasn’t led to cinema screenings becoming obsolete.
Given that it’s based in France, does the Marché du Film feel it has a duty towards European films?
On the one hand, it would be inappropriate to have any kind of bias towards Europe when dealing with multiple candidates and where absolute impartiality is required; but on the other, the fact that the Cannes Film Festival and the Marché du Film are the two leaders, and that these two leaders are European, does help to strengthen the image of Europe on the international film scene. The Americans have Hollywood and the Oscars, but they don’t have the equivalent of Cannes. In the eyes of the world, the Cannes Film Festival and the Marché du Film are a symbol of the vitality of European cinema.
(Translated from French)
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