As previously reported, the market will coincide with the official Marché du Film. Details of the market first emerged last month, as agents and distributors clamored to keep business going in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, which has brought the industry to its knees.
Confirmation of the market comes just days after the Cannes Film Festival revealed it will not be able to go ahead with a June-July event, given France’s government ban on festivals and large gatherings until mid-July.
A joint statement by the agencies on Thursday reads: “Conceived as a contingency plan should the market for financing films not proceed at Cannes as planned, the six-day market will be structured to offer global buyers access to screenings of finished films, early footage, and filmmaker presentations, sales meetings, and other essential elements of a film market. The initiative will coincide with the official Marché du Film.”
Details of the slate of sales packages and finished films are to be announced in the coming weeks.
The agencies promise that digital platforms will “provide a uniform experience for buyers and sellers” and that screenings and filmmaker presentations will be scheduled to accommodate a variety of time zones.
The initiative sees the agencies teaming with 30 companies, including sales agents and distributors.
Firms involved include: 30WEST, AGC Studios, Anton, Archstone Entertainment, Brickell & Broadbridge, CAA Media Finance, Capstone Pictures, Cornerstone Films, Endeavor Content, The Exchange, FilmNation, Goldfinch, Hanway Films, Highland Film Group, ICM International and Independent Group, Independent Film Sales, Lionsgate, Mad River International, Miramax, Mister Smith, MPI Media Group, Protagonist Pictures, Rocket Science, Sierra Affinity, Solstice Studios, The Solution Entertainment, STX Entertainment, UTA Independent Film Group, VMI Worldwide, Voltage Pictures, West End Films, and Wild Bunch International.
Meanwhile, the Marché du Film is expected to unveil details of its own virtual event on Friday.
Jerome Paillard, head of the Cannes market, had previously said he was considering using the Marché du Film’s own digital tool Cinando, as well as other apps such as Zoom, to create a virtual confab allowing for screenings, which would be complementary to the agency-led initiative which will focus on presentations around packaging of projects and promoting movies.
The pair of virtual markets will, of course, need to differentiate themselves to buyers. As it stands, the Marché du Film’s virtual market is to cater to a wider array of sales agents and target arthouse distributors, while the U.S.-driven initiative will be geared towards bigger projects with high-profile talent.
Despite the markets that will precede it, Cannes maintains hope that it can continue as a festival this fall. Festival director Thierry Fremaux told Variety Wednesday that he will continue watching submitted films until June, and is recalibrating what an “Official Selection” may look like for 2020. The director also revealed discussions have been taking place with other festivals about potential tie-ups.