In further signs of growth, the Cannes Film Market has added four new festivals to its Goes to Cannes works-in-progress brand: France’s Annecy Animation Festival, the Panama Film Festival (PIFF), Mexico’s Los Cabos Fest and Montreal’s Frontières/Fantasia.
Ramping up its Goes to Cannes line-up from its 2013 inaugural single event BAL Goes to Cannes, the Cannes Film Market is also tapping into some of world’s fastest-growing events – Los Cabos, Panama; regions – Central America, Mexico; and movie types: international animation and genre, catered for by the Fantasia Fest’s Frontières Intl. Co-Production Market.
Both Mexico’s Guadalajara Festival and Dubai will repeat showcases from last year.
Hosting detailed 90-minute presentations by “Hotel Transylvania’s” Genndy Tartakovsky or “The Peanut’s Movie’s” Steve Martino, Annecy Festival’s Work in Progress is a major industry/art fixture at Annecy, with the clout to attract animators from the studios, top-of-the-class practitioners in Europe – “Ernest and Celestine” received an Annecy WIP one year, “Ballerina” in 2015 – and beyond.
Called “historic” by festival director Pituka Heibron, the Panama Goes to Cannes showcase will be of the winning film at fest’s Primera Mirada focus, curated by the Toronto Festival programmer Diana Sanchez, and focusing on rough-cuts of movies from Central America and the Caribbean.
Cannes invite comes after some of these countries have created film support structures and others, with hardly any structure at all — think Nicaragua – have, against all odds, produced movies, such as “Ixcanul,” which win major festival prizes and sell pretty well worldwide.
Branded by its devotees as one of the most exciting festivals in North America, Fantasia now hosts a slew of world premieres as directors over the world are exploring genre for commentary on sexuality and social issues in a burgeoning line of genre auteur movies. Frontieres is Fantasia’s twice-a-year Intl. Co-production Market, held in Montreal in July and Brussels in April.
Unspooling strategically just after the American Film Market, Los Cabos has attracted an extraordinary mix of top Hollywood, Mexican and Canadian players. Its work-in-progress drinks from the seemingly bottomless well of new Mexican talent, as Mexican production levels have reached levels of its 1950s Golden Age.
Guadalajara’s Work in Progress kicks off March 5, framing new features by Mexico’s Max Zunino (a Berlin-set young woman’s bildungroman), Cuba’s Enrique Alvarez (“Venice,” now “Sharing Stella”) and Argentina’s Hernan Belon (“Blood in the Mouth,” which won a clutch of prizes at Ventana Sur).
Last year the Dubai Goes to Cannes featured two movies, “The Curve” and “Madina” – both backed by Jordanian producer Rula Nasser Imaginarium Films, a new talent hub in the region, in a focus on up-and-coming filmmakers shared by the other Goes To showcases.
“The idea is to give sales agents and festival programmers the opportunity in Cannes to discover curated selections of works-in-progress from different regions, and, this year, to also cast the spotlight on more niche genres such as animation and fantastic/genre films,” said Julie Bergeron, Cannes Film Market head of industry programs.
It is no coincidence that just as movie production levels have escalated around the world, so have festivals’ own works-in-progress, competitive pix-in-post showcases offering prizes in services from local and regional companies which also offer a first filter of local productions. Featuring up to five films, but consisting of extracts presentations, mostly programmed in the second half of the festival, the Cannes Film Market Goes to Cannes’ showcases run mostly just over an hour, attended by a crème of sales agents and fest-heads in a rare excursion out of their offices for some of the former.
“Cannes is the perfect opportunity for works-in-progress to have an international visibility as it is the largest film industry gathering of the year,” said Jérôme Paillard, executive director of the Cannes Film Market.
He added: “Showcasing films that are in post-production means that potential partners can become involved at this critical stage of the production process, and have the possibility of being completed with the eye and opinion of experts in the international film business. Hopefully, they can also be picked up by sales agents, which will facilitate even more the future of their projects overseas.”