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Reed Midem, City of Cannes Join Forces on International Drama Series Festival (EXCLUSIVE)

Reed Midem, the French organizer of MipTV and Mipcom, two of the world’s biggest TV showcases set in Cannes, is joining forces with the city of Cannes to launch an international drama series festival that will run alongside MipTV.

The first edition is to kick off during the 2018 edition of MipTV, which runs in early April, barely a month before the start of the Cannes Film Festival. The city’s mayor, David Lisnard, a driving force behind the initiative, said the festival would take a cue from the film fest by featuring a strong industry/market component, which will be handled by Reed Midem through MipTV.

“Reed Midem and Cannes have been close partners since the second edition of MipTV was held in the city in 1965. We share Mayor David Lisnard’s vision of an international drama series festival and the pertinence of holding it in Cannes alongside MipTV in April 2018,” Reed Midem said in a statement to Variety on Thursday.

“This event will combine Cannes’ experience in hosting major festivals and Reed Midem’s background in delivering the leading international television business events MipTV and Mipcom. Reed Midem is thrilled to partner with Cannes on a project that will be great for the international television community, great for the public and great for France.”

The last edition of MipTV brought together over 11,000 participants, including high-profile talent, influential industry figures from U.S. studios, and independent companies from more than 100 countries. MipTV, like Mipcom, has placed increasing emphasis on drama, with the recent launch of its International Drama Screenings and World Premiere TV Screenings.

Thursday’s announcement by Reed Midem and the city of Cannes steals a march on the French government, which has for several years been exploring the idea of starting up a high-profile international festival in France dedicated to series.

A specially appointed panel has looked at potential host cities, including Cannes, but has now narrowed down its list to Lille and Paris, Reed Midem confirmed. Lisnard, the Cannes mayor, said his city would go ahead with its own plans for a TV festival regardless of what the government chooses to do.

It’s unclear how the new TV festival in Cannes would be fully financed without government subsidies, although the French Riviera region is one of France’s richest and most powerful. Private investors could come into play.

If the government ends up selecting Paris as the site for its own competing festival, it could choose to schedule it to run alongside Series Mania, an increasingly important TV drama gathering held about a week after MipTV in Cannes. Whether it would be sustainable to have two international TV festivals so close to each other in both time (April) and place (France) is open to question.

Politics could play a role in the government’s final decision on whether to go ahead with its own festival. Paris and Lille are both run by mayors belonging to the ruling Socialist party. Lisnard, by contrast, is well-known figure of the French center-right.

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