Canada returns to Mipcom this year after several years of physical absence, and will present its new eco-friendly Canada Pavilion, connecting homegrown producers and production companies with the international market for networking, financing, co-production, acquisitions and sales opportunities.
“Telefilm is excited for Canada to have its first physical presence at Mipcom after nearly two years of participating in international events virtually,” says Francesca Accinelli, Telefilm Canada VP of promotion, communication and international relations.
Among those attending in person are producers such as Toronto-based Julian De Zotti, who admits that he simply can’t handle doing yet another virtual festival or market. “The magic that comes with those accidental meetings or drinks at an after-party is what can lead to great collaborations and deals, and you just can’t get that virtually,” he says. De Zotti is hoping to secure additional international territories for his six-episode dramatic comedy series, “For the Record,” after its successful premiere at SXSW. He’s also got several other projects to shop around, including “The Existential Disasters,” a half-hour workplace comedy that takes place at a think tank in the Canadian Arctic as a group of experts from around the world tackle preparing humanity to survive the next extinction-level event. “It’s perfect for an international cast, and tackles the apocalypse narrative from a fresh, timely perspective.”
There’s little doubt that TV exhibitors are eyeing Canadian projects with a bit more interest these days given the immense international success of series including “Schitt’s Creek,” “Letterkenny” and “Transplant.”
“I think the world is looking closer at Canada as a maker of our own distinct stories that have global reach, that translate across continents,” De Zotti says. “These projects have urgency. They are about now. They have a point of view that is unique but relatable, with a specifically Canadian sensibility.”
De Zotti adds that global co-productions are the future of Canadian content. “You can make shows on a larger budget at a reduced price because the risk is spread across many partners, and potentially take the rights to your own home territory.”
Looking beyond your own borders, he says, also means that you can find partners with more diverse backgrounds and experiences that might be more symbiotic with specific projects.
For S.B. Edwards, who’s also attending this year, there’s a hope that the environment will be somewhat less competitive this year.
“As a marginalized creator in the endless grind, I am always seeking out ways to be strategic,” says Edwards.
They are parallel developing “Nowhere” as both a feature and TV series with U.S. producer Chris Moore (“Manchester by the Sea”), as well as exploring co-production opportunities with Ireland on a horror project “The Estate,” which might have spinoff potential as a series.
“Years ago, I was told that no one would be interested in the childhood story of an extraordinary young girl,” says fellow producer Nikila Cole, who is bringing a limited series proposal based on the origin and childhood story of Catherine de Medici to Mipcom, along with several other projects.
“The Other Medici” is a European story that happens to originate in Canada, says Cole, who has been obsessing over and researching her tale for years. Similarly, she adds she was previously discouraged from mentioning that she was Canadian when pitching to Europeans. “It would eventually slip out and I would see peoples’ eyes glaze over.”
But, nowadays, she says, streaming platforms have been encouraging filmmakers to make local stories that can resonate internationally and this has helped change the game for Canadians like her.
Cole has been a member of Telefilm Canada’s RDV Meet the Series Team, which has allowed her to develop and pitch her projects online for the past year, but, like De Zotti and Edwards, she’s excited to finally turn up in person and be in the same room with buyers and broadcasters.