France’s Screen4All event (Oct 28-30) aims to stay one step ahead of future innovations across film, TV and new media. Melanie Goodfellow reports.

Screen4All, a new event dedicated to technological innovations disrupting the worlds of film, TV and new media, launches on the outskirts of Paris this month.

“It will anticipate the innovations of tomorrow and after tomorrow and what’s going to happen to the ecosystem of cinema, broadcast and new media due to these new disruptive technologies,” says founder Stéphan Faudeux, director of French events company Advance Rapide, which is spearheading the event.

“We’ll look at how film, TV and new media professionals can use these new innovations at every step of the image chain, from production to distribution, to their advantage,” he adds. Topics on the agenda at the two-day forum (October 28-30) in France’s National Dance Centre in Pantin, will include multi-screen content distribution, ultra HD, over-the-top delivery, gaming and funding.

Shift in focus

The event is born out of Advance Rapide’s 3D-focused conference and expo — Dimension 3 — which ran in Paris for seven years up until 2013, and a multi-screen production training programme — the Screen4All Campus — that the company piloted in November 2013.

“Although Dimension 3 also looked at other technologies such as 4K and Ultra HD, it was principally devoted to 3D. The 3D technology hasn’t taken off as we had anticipated — it’s still confined mainly to Hollywood blockbusters and hasn’t really been embraced in France or the rest of Europe. We decided we needed to reframe the event,” says Faudeux of the new focus (Dimension 3 becomes a smaller part of Screen4All).

‘We’ll touch on state funds as well as crowd-funding’

Stéphan Faudeux, Advance Rapide

Key events include Ultra HDay, examining issues related to the adoption of 4K Ultra HD; Gear Up, for companies interested in investing in audio-visual projects using new technology; Dimension 3 — The Big Festival; and The Demo Zone. A second edition of the Screen4All Campus will also take place during the festival.

“We haven’t ditched the 3D element completely, Dimension 3 — The Big Festival will showcase some of the best independent productions, documentary, shorts and student films shot in 3D or 4K,” says Faudeux.

“Gear Up will look at what kind of funding is out there for projects using innovative production or distribution technology and talk about how to draw up a business plan. We’ll touch on state funds as well as crowd-funding, and speakers will also include representatives of banks and private family funds,” he adds.

The sidebar will feature talks on the European Union’s new Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, which has some $101bn (€80bn) of funding available over seven years, as well as a roundtable examining why it is difficult to generate private investment for IT projects in France.

Workshops over the two-days include a presentation of France’s state-backed RIAM fund, aimed at research and innovation in the audio-visual and multimedia sectors; a discussion on how companies can use big data to target users more effectively; and an event called ‘How to create your own Netflix in 10 points’, looking at how the arrival of the US streaming giant in France could change the distribution scene.

Faudeux is expecting some 1,000 professionals to attend the inaugural edition. Participants signed up include French digital science body Irisa/Inria, 360 video specialist VideoStitch, German 3D company KUK Film and Hong Kong post-production house Digital Magic, along with digital media service providers and consultants such as Mesclado and Arkena, which help content producers with today’s multi-screen environment.

Screen4All Campus

The Screen4All Campus builds on an event piloted in November 2013 and aims to teach participants how to master multi-screen production from the development stage to distribution.

Tutors will include independent film producer Peter De Maegd of Brussels-based Potemkino, whose credits include innovative projects such as Where Is Gary? and the participative drama series The Spiral; Margaret Dunlap, writer and co-executive of the award-winning The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and ‘transmedia architect’ Djamil Kemal, whose credits include In Memoriam and Alt-Minds.

“The campus talks the participants through how to produce content across multiple screens. It is continuous training aimed at professionals already working in the audio-visual industries who want to get up to speed with the latest practices and developments,” says Stéphan Faudeux, CEO of Advance Rapide.

“Last year a lot of TV people attended but we also had a few participants from the cinema world.”