VENICE, Italy — The Venice Production Bridge, the Lido’s concept market, kicked off Wednesday with more than 1,800 accredited industry execs, a slight increase from last year’s final number. This year’s edition is marked by a strong presence of streaming companies, including Netflix and Amazon, and the introduction of virtual reality works.
“Unlike Cannes and Berlin, this is not a sell and buy market,” said Bridge manager Pascal Diot, adding, “Our philosophy is [that] we are about projects.”
More than 1,000 curated one-on-one meetings have been scheduled tied to the 47 feature films, documentaries, TV series and virtual-reality projects that have made the cut for the Venice Gap Financing Market, which helps European and international producers secure the final portion of financing for their projects, roughly half of which are from Europe. The meetings are between the teams from the selected projects and potential investors, including producers, financiers, bankers, distributors, sales agents, TV commissioners and streaming platform execs.
The projects comprise 25 feature films and documentaries, many of which have been making the rounds of co-production forums on the festival circuit. What distinguishes the Venice market is that submissions must have at least 70% of financing in place, meaning that these projects have a better chance of actually reaching completion.
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Netflix vice president of international original series Eric Barmack will be giving a keynote speech during a panel on their international expansion plans. Amazon execs on the Lido include former Tribeca Film Festival director Genna Terranova, who is in charge of their VR initiative, and business affairs executive Tara Pietri.
Diot noted a strong presence of Chinese execs, which is reflected in a panel on joint Europe-China VR collaborations.
French sales companies, including Celluloid Dreams, MK2, Wild Bunch, Pathe and Indie Sales, are handling a large portion of the non-U.S. titles in the official selection, and Germany’s The Match Factory also has a robust lineup.
The European Film Forum will focus on VR and also on the future challenges being faced by Europe’s Media Program in a panel featuring new European commissioner for digital economy and society Mariya Gabriel.