International television conference and market MipTV is to give the Médailles d’Honneur, its prestigious award for senior TV executives, to Pascal Breton, CEO of France’s Federation Entertainment, Teresa Fernández-Valdés, an executive producer at Bambú Producciones in Spain, Izzet Pinto, founder and CEO of Global Agency in Turkey, and Weidong Yang, president of Youku, Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group in China.
The Médailles d’Honneur is given to “senior executives who have, through their talent, leadership and passion, made a significant contribution to the world of television and the development of the international TV community,” according to a statement. The four will receive their awards at a ceremony on April 11 in Cannes, France.
Breton gained his first experience in production in 1981 working on several TV magazine programs for French broadcasters TF1, France 2 and France 3, as well as “Souris Noire,” a live-action children’s series for France 3 sold in 14 countries. He then joined Ellipse-Fiction (part of Canal Plus) in 1988 as head of drama and animation, and was the co-producer of several series, including “Babar,” “Tintin” and “Zorro.”
In 1990, Breton and Olivier Brémond created the production company Marathon. In addition to managing the company, Breton also wrote and produced many of its productions, including “The Intrepids,” “The Challengers,” “Saint Tropez,” “Dolmen,” “Secrets” and “Sisterhood.” He developed the company’s first animated projects, such as the hit series “Marsupilami,” and several feature films, including Larry Clark’s “Ken Park.” In 2006 after Brémond’s departure from the company, Breton served as president of Marathon Group and acquired French production companies GTV, ALP (“Koh-Lanta,” “Fort Boyard”) and KM (“Le Grand Journal”), creating France’s leading production group. Marathon was then sold to De Agostini and united with Zodiak, Magnolia and RDF Groups. At Zodiak, Breton was senior vice-president of fiction and was instrumental in the production and distribution of “Millennium” as well as the production of the series “Versailles” (Capa, Canal Plus). After his five-year contract with Zodiak ended in 2013, Breton launched Federation, a production and distribution studio dedicated to high-quality French and international series.
Fernández-Valdés started out as a journalist in different media before devoting her time to TV production. In 2008, alongside Ramón Campos, she founded the production company Bambú Producciones. The company established its reputation with a string of drama series that achieved national and international success: “Velvet,” “Grand Hotel,” “Under Suspicion,” “Vintage” and “Hispania” are some of its hit series.
In 2014, she took a new step in her professional career and, alongside Campos, led two major projects: the feature film “The Misfits Club,” and in 2015 the company partnered with BBC Worldwide and Atresmedia to produce drama series “The Refugees.” In 2016, she produced the first original Netflix series in Spain, “Las Chicas del Cable.” Currently, Fernández-Valdés is writing and producing “Velvet Collection” for Movistar +, the Spanish pay-TV platform. In 2017, Forbes magazine named Fernández-Valdés as one of the most powerful women in Spain.
After graduating, Pinto went to Thailand and worked in the trading business for several years. After returning to Turkey, he represented some of the country’s bestselling authors as an agent. In 2006, he founded Global Agency with Turkey’s first local TV format, “Perfect Bride.” Since then, Global Agency has become one of the fastest-growing distributors in the world, representing some 150 projects, including “Magnificent Century,” “1001 Nights,” “Broken Pieces,” “Keep Your Light Shining,” “Perfect Bride,” “Shopping Monsters” and “The Remix.” In 2008, Pinto received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the non-profit, international organization Junior Chamber International. Today, Global Agency is one of the world’s leading independent distributors, acquiring and producing its own hit formats with offices in Turkey, France, the U.K. and Spain.
Weidong Yang has been president of Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group since December 2017. He has also served as president of Youku business group since October 2016. Prior to that, Weidong Yang headed the operations of the Youku business group and other digital media and entertainment businesses in various senior executive roles since joining Alibaba in May 2016. Before that, he was an executive officer of Youku Tudou, serving as president of Tudou.com from March 2013 to May 2016. Before joining Youku Tudou, he served as chief executive officer of Max Times, a youth entertainment content and marketing company, from November 2011 to March 2013. From January 2009 to November 2011, he served as marketing activation director of Nokia Greater China, where he held various positions in advertising and marketing. Weidong Yang is credited with building bridges between television and the internet. He has been a key figure in the development of China’s online content distribution and China’s digital platforms.
“It is a great honor to recognize these four exceptional industry figures, who have each, in their own way, made and continue to make major contributions to the international entertainment content sector, and whose vision and leadership set the standards in their respective fields,” said Laurine Garaude, director, TV Division, Reed Midem, which organizes MIPTV.
MipTV runs from April 9-12 in Cannes, France.