Grand jury for competitive event to comprise five international personalities.

Cannes right size

Cannes mayor David Lisnard revealed on Monday details of the international TV festival he is spearheading.

The event, which it was previously announced has been earmarked for April 2018 and will run alongside MIPTV, will be called Cannes Series.

“We’re taking the same model as the film festival,” Lisnard told a press conference in the Palais des Festivals on the first day of MIPTV.

The inaugural edition will include an international competition revolving around an official selection of 10 unreleased series spanning all genres, lengths and screening devices, as well as a larger programme of some 200 screenings throughout the town aimed at the public.

There will be a grand jury composed of five international personalities known for their “artistic sensitivity”.

Lisnard stressed that the eventual artistic director and selection committee – both of which are yet to appointed – would operate autonomously like the film festival.  

The mayor was joined on stage by the festival’s new president, former minister of culture Fleur Pellerin, recently appointed managing director and former TF1 executive Benoît Louvet, as well as Paul Zilk, CEO of MIPTV organiser Reed Midem, and Maxine Saada, CEO of the Canal Plus Group. The latter two are partnering on the event.

“There will be an association that will run the artistic, cultural, creative side and then there will be the market, which will be run by the historic organiser of the TV market here in Cannes, Reed Midem,” Lisnard said.

Aside from the competition and programme of public screenings, there will be festivities, a writers’ residency and a co-production forum.

The inaugural festival will take place over the course of a week at the same time as MIPTV 2018, which will continue to run as before.  

Monday’s press conference took place less than two weeks after the French Ministry Of Culture announced it had chosen the northern city of Lille as the host city for a state-backed TV festival.

Cannes also put in a bid for the mandate at the end of 2016 but was eliminated from the first round alongside Bordeaux and Nice. Lille and Paris made it to the final round.

Lisnard made it clear that the town had no intention of abandoning its TV festival plans in the face of the government snub.

He said the creation of a TV festival had been one of his election pledges when he ran for mayor in 2014 and he was determined to uphold it.

The festival was also a plank in his broader strategy to make the town a hub for creative industries, interconnected with other audiovisual and shooting hubs in the region such as Nice and Marseille.

Lisnard said the projects committee for the new festival had budgeted the first edition at around €4m to cover bringing in talent, the festivities and public screenings programme. In the absence of state backing, he was instead seeking funding from the region as well as private sponsors.

He said the existence already of MIPTV meant that the costs would not be the same as starting a festival and market from scratch.

Reed Midem’s Zilk said the creation of a TV festival in Cannes made perfect sense given the town’s long association with the international TV business stretching back 52 years thanks to MIPTV.

“The television business has been part of Cannes for five decades,” Zilk said. “It’s the right step, at the right time and in the right place to launch Cannes Series.”