PARIS — Monte Carlo TV Fest topper David Tomatis coyly promised “a big name in entertainment” as the head of the Television Film jury, but he wasn’t ready to reveal the celeb’s identity at a press confab Thursday.
Tomatis reiterated his pleasure at being able to welcome Ted Turner, who will receive an honorary Golden Nymph at the opening ceremony June 30. “Our invitation and his availability finally meshed,” Tomatis told Daily Variety, adding that the fest approached Turner three years ago. A special award to Oz-born TV pioneer Reg Grundy will be a highlight of the closing ceremony.
The European preem of USA Network’s “Rudy — the Rudy Giuliani Story” will also kick off the six-day event.
Formats and Reality TV are the themes of a series of A-list panels for which Tomatis says registration is up over last year. New this year are trophies dedicated to the Format of the Year and a Grand Prix for a format that’s proved its durability.
Buyers and distribs from over 30 countries are expected although the fest no longer features a market.
“Waterworld” helmer Kevin Reynolds and multi-hyphenate Marshall Herskovitz (“thirtysomething,” “Traffic”) are among the jurors slated to select winners from a field of nearly 100 programs repping 22 countries.
Other programming highlights out of competition include the world premiere of France-U.K.-Canada production of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” helmed by mini-series powerhouse Josee Dayan and starring Catherine Deneuve as Madame de Merteuil, Rupert Everett as Valmont and Nastassja Kinski as Marie Tourvel.
In conjunction with Reporters without Borders, closing ceremonies will include a tribute to newsgathering professionals who have been killed on the job, with a special emphasis on broadcast journos killed during the war in Iraq.
(Lisa Klaussmann in Paris contributed to this report).