Mipcom Junior closes on a subdued note

News of the bombing adds surreal quality

CANNES — Mipcom Junior brought some childish fun to the Croisette over the weekend, but the bombing of Afghanistan lent a surreal quality to the close of a mart from which a sizable number of top TV players had already decided to stay away.

In the bar of the Hotel Martinez, venue of the kidvid programming event, delegates were sipping cocktails to the strains of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” an hour after the bombing began, many of them unaware of the news.

Afterward, L.A.-based animation company DIC went ahead with a dinner for around 300 delegates.

Numbers are down from last year, according to the organizers’ figures. Some 674 participants attended, down from 760. They included 363 buyers, compared with 418 last year, and 268 distributors, 11 fewer than in 2000. The number of programs viewed in a videotheque dominated by animation shows also fell, to 11,634 from 12,572.

Like many Europe-based execs, Jules Borkent, senior director of programming for Nickelodeon Europe, found himself holding down the fort in the absence of senior U.S. colleagues.

“They weren’t afraid to fly. They just didn’t want to find themselves stuck here, far from their families at a time like this,” the exec told Daily Variety.

Paul Zilk, Midem’s recently appointed managing director, said the organization was planning to install extra television sets in the Palais des Festivals, where Mipcom gets under way Monday, “so that delegates can stay informed.”

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