With the Cannes Film Festival now in limbo due to France’s ban on events with big crowds until mid-July, the Marché du Film is now setting up a full-on virtual market from June 22-28, Variety has confirmed. In addition, the Marché du Film, which has always run alongside the festival, will this year run at the same time as a CAA-led virtual market, according to an industry source close to both initiatives.
Jerome Paillard, head of the Marché du Film, is to communicate details about the virtual market on Friday.
Paillard 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 put together a virtual confab allowing for screenings, which would be complementary to the CAA-led initiative which will focus on presentations around packaging of projects and promoting movies.
The Marché du Film’s virtual market will cater to a wider array of sales agents and target arthouse distributors, whereas the U.S.-driven initiative will be geared towards bigger projects with high-profile talent.
For many of these bigger projects, sales representatives are under pressure to get them out on the market and find buyers in order to recoup their loans, said a U.S. agent. Private investors, who often play a large part in getting these movies financed, are also eager to recoup their investment as fast as possible considering the volatile context.
For other sales agents handling more arthouse titles with no cast, “it will tougher to attract buyers within a virtual set-up — only the true gems will stand out from the clutter and find distributors,” said a sales rep.
“You need sellers and buyers for a market to work, but apart from three or four financially-solid distributor in the major markets, most won’t be able to make new acquisitions until the end of 2020,” he added. Indeed, many independent distributors are struggling with the shutdown of theaters and will be dealing with a raft of movies to reschedule during the second half of the year.
Last year’s Marché du Film drew a record 12,527 participants. It’s considered to be the world’s biggest and most important movie markets for the independent film sector, ahead of the EFM in Berlin and the AFM in Los Angeles.
The Cannes Film Festival, meanwhile, won’t take place in late June or early July due to the coronavirus pandemic, though organizers have said they continue to explore different options for 2020.