Pascal Diot • Head, Venice Production Bridge
“Our criteria are always the same: quality, quality and quality”
by Birgit Heidsiek
- VENICE 2019: We chatted to Pascal Diot, head of the Venice Production Bridge, to gain an insight into this year’s iteration of the major Italian industry event
For the fourth time, the Venice Production Bridge (VPB, 29 August-3 September) is about to provide a valuable networking opportunity for all professionals involved in cinematic production. Pascal Diot, head of the VPB, gives us an insight into the major Italian industry event that focuses on book-adaptation rights and gap financing as well as new formats and the crucial issues facing the audiovisual industry.
Cineuropa: How does the VPB reflect the changing business and financing models in the industry?
Pascal Diot: The Venice Production Bridge is constantly adapting and trying to pre-empt the industry changes. To give you an example, this year we have tried to have more projects in the Venice Gap-Financing Market [VGFM] which are intending to reach broader audiences, and so we have more genre projects. We are also creating more and more synergies with the VR side of the Venice International Film Festival, not only through the VGFM, but also through hosting several panels on the so-called VR Island.
What do you consider to be the most significant trends in the film industry right now?
One of the obvious trends is the development of streaming platforms and their increasing involvement in local productions. We have, year after year, a stronger and more significant presence of all the big players: Netflix, Amazon, Disney and so on. This trend gives rise to a higher demand for content and original stories, which fits in nicely with our Book Adaptation Rights Market [BARM]. Most of those streaming platforms are looking for new IP, and that’s probably one of the reasons why we are receiving more and more requests from publishers.
What is your approach when it comes to the selection of the projects for the VGFM?
Besides the one I have just mentioned, our criteria are always the same: quality, quality and quality. We are looking for outstanding projects, and it’s true that we are achieving some incredible results with the films that pass through the VGFM. Then, and of course if they are eligible, we look at the team, the director and the producer, in order to be sure that they are working together in the same direction.
What is the impact on the VGFM of the fact that there are well-known filmmakers such as Agnieszka Holland, Jasmila Zbanic, Bruce LaBruce and Aleksei German coming along to present their new projects?
It’s obviously a real “recognition of quality” for us to receive more and more projects from well-known directors and producers. It also shows that the one-to-one meetings that are set up are producing tangible results.
Producers are always longing for fresh content. What will the fourth edition of the BARM provide for them?
Five more publishers are coming to the BARM this year, and we even had to decline some requests. We are presenting a wide range of publishers offering all kinds of literature you may wish to find, from contemporary novels to classic ones, from children’s books to genre movies, and from essays to comic books.
Are there any films at this year’s festival that are based on stories which were presented at the BARM in Venice?
Probably, because we have several of the biggest publishers in the world. I haven’t had the time to go through all of the films selected at Venice to check if they have come from one of our publishers, though.
The Final Cut in Venice programme is taking place for the seventh time already. Which Final Cut titles have received international attention?
Several of them, like Felicité [+see also:
interview: Alain Gomis
film profile], which won the Silver Bear at Berlin in 2017 and the Etalon d’Or at Fespaco in 2017; Our Madness [+see also:
film profile], which screened in the Berlinale Forum in 2018; The Harvesters [+see also:
interview: Etienne Kallos
film profile], which was in Un Certain Regard in 2018; aKasha (The Roundup) [+see also:
film profile], which was shown in the International Film Critics’ Week in 2018… The list goes on.
How many film professionals are attending the VPB?
Last year, we had 2,461, and this year, before the beginning of the festival – which means that they won’t be the final figures – we had 2,420.
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