The organizers of upcoming Euro media events are committed to holding their confabs as planned — but with heightened security and more inconvenience for attendees.
Despite the terrorist attacks Sept. 11 in the U.S., there have so far been no high-profile American cancellations from these events.
MTV’s Tom Freston has promised organizers of Mipcom — the fall’s key TV tradeshow — that he will attend the event in Cannes next month despite potential fears over security.
Freston is being honored Oct. 10 as Mipcom’s personality of the year.
“Freston told me that even if he weren’t being honored, he would be totally determined to come, whatever happened; (MTV Intl. topper) Bill Roedy, too,” Mipcom topper Xavier Roy told Daily Variety Tuesday. “That’s the kind of American spirit I like.”
Roy said the company had received “not a single cancellation” in the wake of last week’s horrific events.
In any case, Roy is working to ensure execs don’t get cold feet about their trip to the French Riviera. In a missive sent out to some 8,200 participants Tuesday, the Reed chief promised “comprehensive measures” to insure security.
Reed staff have held confabs with government officials and local police to map out security arrangements on and around the Croisette.
These include an additional 40 riot police patrolling the city and carrying out identity checks and twice as many security staff in the Palais des Festivals carrying out systematic identity and bag checks.
Later this week, Reed staff also will meet with Cannes hoteliers.
Echoes of Gulf War
“Mipcom will be different this year: People will be inconvenienced,” said Roy, who recalled conditions on the Croisette in 1991, when the Midem music mart started two days after the Gulf War broke out.
Meanwhile, Elena Lloyd, product manager at the upcoming Mifed film market (Oct. 28-Nov. 1), described this time as “a waiting period.” She expects U.S. companies scheduled to attend will assess the situation before reconfirming in the next week or two.
For now, there has been “absolutely no discussion” of canceling Mifed, she added.
As of Sept. 1, 97 U.S. companies had signed up for the 68th edition of Mifed, representing almost half of the 218 companies registered by that date.
“Right now, we don’t have a very clear picture of precisely how great the impact of the terrorist attacks will be on the market,” Lloyd said.
“Last week, we were unable to reach clients in the U.S. due to communications problems. This week, we’ve started communicating again with companies in New York, but only to express our sorrow and solidarity with them. It’s still clearly not the right moment to expect them to know about committing to Mifed or not.”
Mifed released a statement Tuesday, joining the entertainment world in expressing its solidarity with the American community and announcing its decision to cancel a gala evening to showcase new Italian cinema.
Budget for the evening will be donated instead to an as-yet unspecified charity.
Pressed on prints?
“We still have no clear indication from transport and freight companies of the possible problems we might encounter this year with print movement, given that we have over 400 films scheduled to screen, with the majority of them coming from the U.S.,” Lloyd said.
“I can confirm that we are working hard to prepare for what we hope will be another successful market, and that we’re studying plans to increase security so that people can participate at Mifed without feeling anxious for their safety.”
There were similar reactions from the organizers of the London Screenings, the film market that leads into Mifed.
“Nobody has canceled yet out of a fear of flying,” said Jo Jo Dye, a spokesman for Screenings organizer Fusion Events. “In terms of people saying they are not coming: No, it hasn’t happened.
“It really depends on what happens in the next few weeks,” Dye added. “If things remain like they are now, then we don’t expect much to change.”
(Liza Foreman in London contributed to this report.)