Variety honored its 10 Producers to Watch for 2018 at a breakfast on Monday morning on Cannes’ Nespresso Beach.
First launched at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998, the event celebrates an eclectic mix of producers from the U.S. and the international film community, who are united in their commitment to bold and original storytelling.
The films produced by this year’s honorees have played festivals including Berlin, Sundance and Venice, with a number screening at Cannes. “As well as they’re doing, as exciting as they are right now, there’s even greater things ahead,” said Variety’s VP and executive editor Steven Gaydos.
Victor Loewy was also honored with a lifetime achievement award for his long and distinguished career. “You can’t tell the story of Cannes, you can’t tell the story of international cinema, you can’t tell the story of Canadian business in cinema, without knowing who Victor Loewy is and what he’s done,” said Gaydos.
The veteran Canadian film executive reflected on 45 years in the business, recalling how the movie industry has weathered threats from TV and DVD, while describing the emergence of streaming services as “the biggest change by far.”
“I personally don’t know where this is going,” he said. “I don’t know whether or not people will go and see films in the cinemas in five years, or 10 years.”
Commenting on the Cannes controversy surrounding Netflix, which pulled out of this year’s festival because of a rule changing banning any films without theatrical distribution in France from playing in competition, Loewy said, “I think films should be shown in cinemas, and I think if Netflix wants to be in Cannes, then they should play by the rules.”
Despite the uncertain climate, Loewy said he’s hopeful about the direction the industry is heading. “What I’ve noticed in the last few years is a whole new generation of professionals who have entered the business,” he said. “There’s a new wave of producers and distributors and professionals and they are very passionate about the business.”
Variety’s 10 Producers to Watch in 2018 are: Tom Ackerley & Josey McNamara (“I, Tonya”); Sol Bondy & Jamila Wenske (“The Tale,” “The Bookshop”); Dina Emam (“Yomeddine”); Anna-Maria Kantarius (“Amateurs”); Lasha Khalvashi (“Scary Mother,” “Horizon”); Christopher Lemole & Tim Zajaros;(“Mudbound,” “Arctic”); Murad Osmann & Ilya Stewart (“Leto”); Shaun Sanghani (“Class Rank,” “The Pretenders”); Hugo Selignac (“Sink or Swim”) and Rachel Song (“A Kid Like Jake”).
The 10 to Watch series, which is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year, spotlights emerging writers, actors, producers, directors, comics and cinematographers. Honorees are curated from submissions from the entertainment industry and selected by a team of Variety’s critics, reporters and editors.