CANNES — After launching a fund for distributors with Fondation Gan, Critics Week is now teaming with TorinoFilmLab to bow Next Step, a program dedicated to helping the directors of the 10 shorts playing in the sidebar to make their feature debut.

The five-day program, backed by the National film board CNC, will welcome the 10 short film directors, along with select industry professionals — screenwriters, directors and  producers — for a workshop in the fall.

“The goal of this program is to mentor and advise the directors that we’ve discovered in developing their feature debuts,” said Remi Bonhomme, Critics’ Week’s program manager. “It’s increasingly difficult for directors to make their first film because the marketplace is getting more and more competitive and audiences’ tastes are constantly evolving.”

Bonhomme said “Critics’ Week has discovered a number of talented directors such as Gaspar Noe (with “Carne”), Francois Ozon (with “Une Robe d’Ete”) and Justin Kurzel (“The Blue Tongue”)  who went on to have a successful careers.”

Kurzel, for instance, just directed “Macbeth” with Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender, while Claire Burger and Marie Amachoukeli, whose “Party Girl” opened this year’s Un Certain Regard, are also Critics’ Week alums.

The directors participating in Next Step will have the opportunity to be individually coached and discuss their ideas with professionals to get a sense of market trends, as well as elaborate the appropriate development strategy for their project.

Following this workshop, le Moulin d’Andé-CECI will host a one-month residence for the 10 directors.