MADRID – U.S and China presence at 2014’s Cannes Market hiked attendance to 11,806 participants, an all-time record.
Result reps 1% growth, said Jerome Paillard, Cannes Market exec director. A new high, it also marks the eighteenth year of consecutive growth since 1995 for the Marche du Film with attendance only dropping in 2009 and 2010, because of economic crisis, with 2011 returning to above 2008 – a remarkable record.
At 2,129 in 2014, U.S. execs accounted for 18% of total attendance, up 4% on 2013, and the single biggest Market contingent, as has always been the case in recent decades, even in 2002, when attendance dropped slightly, Paillard said.
China’s presence was much smaller, 417 execs and 3.5% of attendees, but, with the U.S., as Variety anticipated, the Cannes Market’s biggest growth driver, up a muscular 22% on 2014.
France (15% of attendees) and the U.K. (10%) were the second and third largest presences, but Central and Southern America now send nearly as many executives (4%) as Germany (5%). China came in as the fifth biggest national presence at Cannes Market this year.
This year’s Cannes Market also rolled off the near global emergence of film industries, or at least filmmakers intent on building national production sectors.
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Up from 109 in 2013, 116 countries were represented at the Market, including Bahrain, Brunei, Burma, Iraq, Kurdistan, Laos, Mauritius and Syria, none present in the last three-or-four years.
Denmark, Ecuador, the Philippines- joined by France’s Marseilles – ran pavilions for the first time at the International Village.
In anther signs of still continuous growth at Cannes, attendance at the Cannes Market Producers Workshop ramped up 10%, the biggest single step-up since the it launched in 2011.
“We’ve seen a growing appetite from producers to find partners and become more professional when they deal with international business,” said Paillard.
He added: “The Producers’ Workshop can be very, very essential to identify proper ways of initiating business and possible partners. That’s not so easy even if you’re an experienced producer in your own country.”
The Workshop has also focused on small-group coaching, targeting participants’ needs.
The origins of producers has spread – this year a South Africa delegation from South Africa attended the Workshop – and national institutes, such as Canada’s SODEC, are partnering more with the Workshop, said Producers Network/Workshop manager Julie Bergeron.
Statistical growth hints at one of the major challenges facing the international independent industry: Competition. A mind-boggling 5,200 films – were presented at the Cannes Market, 3,100 completed films, 2,100 projects, all
jostling for sales, often to a contracting arthouse market.
Paillard commented: “It’s good because it shows the dynamism of the festival, which is still absolutely there, but people have to have projects. Not necessarily all will be produced and released.”
Edging up to 1,927, the presence of buyers remained strong and notably stable, as it has been for many years, even during the crisis, Paillard said.
“Through our survey, we asked our participants to define the 2014 Marche du Film and the most frequent keywords were ‘successful,’ ‘busy,’ ‘smooth’ and ‘stimulating.”
“In comparison to other markets, Cannes is really the place where there are more buyers of different types from all-rights to TV, video and VOD buyers,” he added.
That said, more producers look likely to turn to dedicated festival distribution or VOD – the latter up 33% to 106 execs, though from a low base – to seek some kind of international return on their titles.
“There’s not a drop in the number of film acquisitions being put through. The only point is the value of the deals. Even in Spain, many sellers reported a large number of sales,” Paillard commented.
In Spain, it looks like more producers and sales agents are accepting lower minimum guarantees, paradoxically hiking the number of sales.
Paillard also confirmed that new initiatives Next, a networking and debate initiative focusing on the future of cinema, as well as Marche Mixers, themed networking events which kicked off with a fantastic Mixer, dedicated to the genre industry, were “slated to become Cannes traditions.”