PARIS — The Cannes Film Market is set to spotlight China’s emerging helmers with a Chinese Film Talents Fund Forum featuring six projects from newcomers.

Selected by Chinese sales shingle Champs Lis Intl., the projects that will be pitched include Wang Fan’s drama “Bejing Carmen”; Ma Kan’s 1944-set “Flower of Blusher”; Dai Vei’s romance “Four Lives in the Willow,” adapted from San Sha’s novel “The Girl Who Played Go”; He Ruibo’s comedy-fantasy “Missing Father”; Wu Hongwu’s action-comedy “Fight and Kill” and Dong Chengguang’s fantasy-actioner “Love Changes the World,” budgeted at $10 million — the selection’s most expensive project.

“Chinese cinema is gradually opening up to international,” said Cannes Market topper Jerome Paillard. “For many years, the only Chinese movies we got to watch were films that were banned at home, and today we’re finally seeing more and more directors eager to make movies that can reach both local and international audiences.”

There’s a similar trend in India. “I’ve been hearing from producers looking to work on Indian projects that there’s a new generation of auteurs there who are not interested in making Bollywood movies, and who actually have a shot at being commercially successful outside of India,” said Paillard.

The dynamism of the Chinese and Indian production industries is reflected in the Cannes Market’s participation figures. Asia represents the biggest growth in market attendance, along with North America.

A week ahead of the mart’s kick-off, more than 10,000 professionals have registered, 7% up on last year, and Paillard said he expected to welcome a record 12,000 participants, 500 more than in 2012.

Meanwhile, the mart will host 5,000 films and projects including 120 3D titles and more than 750 documentaries, up 20% on last year. It will also organize 1,400 screenings.

Some 30% of martgoers will be producers, followed by theatrical distributors (20%) and sellers (12%). The biggest spike comes from the digital sector with 200 VOD players, up 30% on last year. It’s still a small number compared with such confabs as MipTV, which drew 800 VOD platforms. “That’s because most distributors coming to the Cannes film market buy all rights,” explained Paillard.

New programs include the cross-media corner, a forum showcasing multi-platform formats that will be presented by their creators. “The idea is to explain to producers how it works in a very concrete way,” said Paillard. The forum will host small round tables and demos allowing participants to experiment with ach format using multiple screens, joysticks, etc.

Michel Gondry’s “Mood Indigo” and Jan Kounen’s “Windwalkers,” which both feature an interactive component, will be presented as part of the cross-media corner.

The doc corner, a networking forum for documentary sellers, buyers and fest programmers, will be back for a second year with sales booth and a video library of 280 titles.

“Cross-media is popular in TV and documentaries, but in film it’s still something new,” said Paillard, a former film producer. “Not every film can be developed as a cross-media title, but the interactive component can, in some cases, be beneficial creatively and marketing-wise.”

Innovative digital avenues for film financing and distribution, from crowdfunding and community-based, on-demand models will also be discussed at the mart.

The market topper pointed to one new VOD participant to illustrate this, ilikecinema.com, a French community-based website that allows Gallic users to decide which arthouse films they want to see, and have them booked at their local independent theaters.

“In time, we might see local web platforms such as I Like Cinema expand their geographical footprints and work with European exhibitors,” said Paillard.
Cannes Film Market runs May 15-24.