Market makes room for Riviera, dot-coms

MITIC to spotlight film technology, new venue awaits Website eruption

HOLLYWOOD — If the Cannes Intl. Film Festival only dipped its toe in the Internet and technology waters last year, organizers of the 2000 market have taken the plunge.

Featuring more space and tech exhibitors than ever, festival’s nearly 7,000 attendees should expect a barrage of dot-coms — with some making their first public appearances at the event.

Making its bow at Cannes, the Riviera exhibition space will feature up to 150 companies including Bavaria Film Intl., Behaviour Worldwide, CLT/Ufa Intl., Film Four Intl., Lions Gate Films Intl. and Le Studio Canal Plus; and Web outfits such as CannesMarket.com, FilmBazaar.com, InternetStudios.com, ReelPlay.com and ShowBizData.com.

The 70,200-square-foot facility also will feature eight screening rooms, equipped with Dolby and DTS sound systems, upping the total number of screening rooms at Cannes to 28.

And unlike the gloomy Palais des Festivals, affectionately known as the Bunker, the glass-encased Riviera boasts beachfront views of the Mediterranean and the old port of Cannes, outdoor terraces as well as an open bar for exhibitors and their clients, plus a restaurant.

“For the first time, people aren’t moving around and holding meetings at hotels and apartments anymore,” says Jerome Paillard, executive director of the Cannes Market. “The Riviera now provides a place for everyone to come together in one place.”

On the tech front, Web frenzy has even prompted the Cannes Market to get into the Internet game. It has partnered with ShowBizData and FilmFinders in launching an online rights-tracking and sales site, CannesMarket.

Several competing online rights-tracking Web sites will make their bow at Cannes, including OnlineFilmSales, RightsMart.com and ScreenExchange.com.

Now in its third year, MITIC (Intl. Market for Technology and Innovation in Cinema), will be held from May 10-21 as part of the Cannes Market to showcase emerging tech advances in the film biz.

“We wanted to create a zone where people can meet and get information on new technologies that affect their businesses,” says Paillard.

Housed on the ground floor of the Palais des Festivals with 10,000 square feet of exhibition space, MITIC will host a series of seminars on digital filmmaking and projection (to be held in the Variety Pavilion). Also, the event will feature screenings and exhibits from 40 film companies, associations and commissions including software maker Discreet Logic, French f/x house BUF Compagnie (“Fight Club”), Philips Digital Networks, technical trade group Ficam, Decipro, French cinema engineers society CST, Italian Riviera Monna Prods., TDF/Cinema Numerique, Quinette Gallay, AFCI, Le Technicien du Film, Offshore SA and Commission du Film.

After showing off Sony’s new 24-frame progressive high-definition camcorders at the National Assn. of Broadcasters confab in Las Vegas in April, the camera will make its European debut at Cannes.

With more filmmakers experimenting with the digital format, Sony is heavily hyping its new digital camera as the next must-have for the biz. It uses digital videotape but records at 24 frames a second, the same speed at which a traditional film camera runs.

At a cost of $100,000, the camera (sold under the HDW-F900 name and new CineAlta banner) is much cheaper than the traditional 35mm types. Sony has already sold 125,000 of its much cheaper DVCams, which were used to shoot Mike Figgis’ “Timecode.”

Six of the high-definition cameras, built with lens maker Panavision, are being used by George Lucas to shoot the next “Star Wars” prequel.

Philips is also expected to showcase its digital toys.

But despite being the only film festival and market that mixes technology with pics, MITIC isn’t trying to outdo itself over previous markets and isn’t buddying up with a flurry of dot-coms.

“We’re trying to keep the number of exhibitors around 40 because people are coming to Cannes for the films, not the technology,” Paillard says. “We want to show off technology that appeals to film professionals — to visual effects technicians, cinematographers, filmmakers — people who make the movies and show them opportunities that feed creativity.”

Outside of the Riviera and the Palais, dot-coms journeying to Cannes are setting up their computers in hotel lobbies or the American Pavilion, which is set to host sponsors E! Online; InternetStudios.com and its Web site ReporterTV.com; On2.com; Palm Inc.; and Pop.com, a Netcaster founded by DreamWorks and Imagine Entertainment.

Looking to build its library of Internet content before its June launch, Pop is sending five acquisitions executives to accept submissions from emerging filmmakers, scour short-film screenings and hear pitches for six-minute online shows every day at 11 a.m. at its booth.

The site is also planning to host several parties, including a soiree at the American Pavilion for new filmmakers May 15.

“Going to Cannes will definitely be a promotional trip for us, but we’re also looking to acquire content and want Pop.com to have a strong presence in Europe and want European filmmakers to know about us,” says company exec Dan Sullivan.

Similarly, AtomFilms is going to meet and greet filmmakers for its Web site at the Petit Majestic bar in Cannes.

The short-film site also will hold screenings of its pics daily from 4 to 6 p.m. for buyers, view projects from budding filmmakers at its AtomStudio as well as host a party May 12 at the AtomFilms villa.

And although it is not repeating its Sundance stunt of showing its films on shuttle buses, Atom staffers will be speeding around Cannes on mopeds with AtomFilms flags and giving out promotional gear.

FilmStew.com, a business-to-business site set to launch at Cannes by Neil Blatt, the former head of distribution and exhibition for Miramax Films and Cineplex Odeon, will be housed out of the British Pavilion.

And business Web site CreativePlanet.com, which is hosting MITIC’s presence on the Web, will be showing off its own services on the terrace of the Noga Hilton Hotel instead of MITIC’s Palais digs.

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