Cannes Film Festival

“Le Judas,” by Canada’s Ziad Touma, Dane Julie Frik Walenciak’s “Muleum” and Australian Jonny Peter’s “Dream Channel” will feature at the Pitching Sessions of Next, a roundtable and workshop program that marks one of the biggest innovations at 2014’s Cannes Market.

Focusing on issues such as video on demand, cinema on demand, multiplatform marketing and distribution, and new media release windows, Next comprises workshops and sessions taking place at a dedicated Next Pavilion in the Village International Pantiero May 14-25.

The three projects all mine different genres. In “Judas,” a householder of an apartment is found dead. His six tenants fall under suspicion. Viewers are invited to help an investigator to identify the killer.

“Muleum” turns on a young Norwegian girl who, shortly after her 18th birthday, receives a text message from her father: “We’re going down. Love you. Do what you want. Dad.” In “Dream Channel,” a guy sells his girlfriend to a gameshow.

A fourth Next Pitching Sessions project, “Houston, Imamo Problem,” from Slovenia’s Ziga Virc, turns on the urban myth that Yugoslavia’s sale of its secret space program to the U.S. sparked president Kennedy’s announcement two months later that the U.S. would go to the moon.

Co-organized by Cross Video Days, and taking place in Cannes primetime — the first Saturday afternoon — Next’s Pitching Session will be followed by a keynote speech about engaging audiences with transmedia tools.

Next will bow officially May 15 with opening words by Cannes Marche honcho Jerome Paillard followed by a Q & A with Curzon Cinema CEO Philip Knatchbull and Eamonn Bowles of Magnolia Pictures and Magnet releases.

Another roundtable, Working the Crowds, examines, among other things, the potential for equity crowd-funding support films on the basis of profit participation, not philanthrophy.

One Next highlight looks set to be two Special presentations. Here, speakers occupy different tables and, after general introductions, will address small groups of producers, who table-hop every 20 minutes.

Financing Innovation & Cross Media assembles cross-media specialists, at some of the world’s most prestigious powerful film-funding board. They will talk about their support for new types of entertainment products, audience engagement tools and cross-media projects.

A second presentation, Connectivity, Interactivity, Immersion, will analyze how these factors have impacted the moviegoing experience, and what that means for the future of cinema.

“Next’s general idea is to give everyone — producers, distributors — a perspective on new business opportunities in financing, producing and distributing films, a program where they can discover new ideas, concepts, experiences,” said Paillard. “It’s not the only future for film, but it is part of that future.”

For most producers, the Next speakers may be little known. But that’s the point. Next’s events are wide-ranging. Its workshops, for example, are intended for smaller groups, with renowned experts on specific themes for more intimate and in-depth discussion, said Marche du Film industry film program manager Julie Bergeron.

Presenting companies involved in cinema on demand and crowdfunding, the “slam” sessions are more like networking events.
Moderated by Michael Gubbins, the roundtables will adopt “a Q & A conference style,” the opening one being “very promising” with Knatchbull and Bowles.

From a variety of angles, the speakers will attempt to present best practices and business models that have already proved successful.
The Marche du Film does not aim to develop conferences on a large scale, Paillard said. “Next is more about proximity, having the possibility of sharing ideas and expertise.”

Twelve companies will have an exhibition presence at the Next Pavilion, including the World Bank-backed Connect 4 Climate, VOD platform Mubi, the Wallimage film fund, Gallic crowdfunder Touscoprod and Power to the Pixel.

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