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Cannes pic market growing under Paillard

Entering his second decade as Cannes’ market chief, Jerome Paillard will see participation top 10,000 this year.

“That’s an interesting step for us,” says Paillard, who took over as market organizer in 1996, when the confab counted just 1,900 participants. “At that time, the American Film Market was maybe twice our size. Now we are not far from twice theirs.”

Not only is participation up, but the number of films headed to market has spiked sharply as well.

“This year is looking very, very strong,” Paillard continues. “It is difficult to figure out why. Maybe it is the impact of the AFM (move to November), or maybe it’s just the fact that there are more films to be sold.”

The market chief notes the demand for screening slots is so high this year that he’s had to limit films that already screened at AFM or Berlin to just one unspooling at the Marche.

According to Paillard, AFM had 700 screenings last November, while February’s European Film Market in Berlin had close to 1,000. Cannes, with its ability to screen from 9 a.m. to midnight for 10 days straight, will have 1,480 showings. That number is about the same as last year, because the number of theaters has remained at 30. A new screening venue has been added at the Gray d’Albion hotel this year, while some other salles have dropped out of rotation.

Paillard says one of his biggest accomplishments was the launch in October of a year-round version of the Cannes Market Web site (www.cannesmarket.com).

“It works in connection with other markets and is really a permanent tool now — a world database,” he says.

Trumpeted in the go-go days of the dot-coms as having the potential to become a cyberspace market, the site didn’t become a rights-trading platform; instead it has become a valuable online guide to the buyers, sellers and indie film product. “It’s not a moneymaking thing for us,” Paillard says. “If people register for Cannes, they get one year of free access. Basically, most people get it for free.”

Going into its third year, the Producers Network — the market’s breakfast mixers for industryites from around the globe — will expand to include about 500 participants. To boost opportunities for filmmakers to cross-pollinate, a Producers Lounge has been added at the Village Intl.’s Pantiero location, where happy hours will be held daily. The Pantiero also is home to the fest’s Atelier du Cinema filmmakers, who have projects looking for financing.

American, British and French producers have the largest presence in the Network, followed by Canadians and Germans. This year, there are higher numbers of producers looking to cross over from television, particularly Europeans, as well as more of a presence from Japan, Hong Kong and mainland China. “Conversations might not be as fast,” quips Paillard. “We will need interpreters.”

The Village Intl. has added a bit more space to accommodate 49 pavilions this year. New countries with their own berth include Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Morocco and Thailand.

Among the other logistical movements this year, Variety’s offices will be located adjacent

to the Grand Hotel instead of on the beach. Copies of the Cannes dailies will continue to be available in front of the Grand near the Croisette.

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