Philip Knatchbull and Eamonn Bowles among the speakers at the Marché’s new NEXT programme.

Curzon World CEO Philip Knatchbull and Magnolia Pictures president Eamonn Bowles will be among the speakers kicking off the Marché’s new NEXT programme, dedicated to new ways of storytelling as well as producing, financing and distributing film.

“We think it’s essential to take this opportunity to explore the realities facing the cinematographic industry in this digital demand-driven world we are now living in,” said Marché executive director Jerôme Paillard [pictured] of the NEXT initiative, which will be housed in a new pavilion in International Village.

Both the UK’s Curzon World, the parent company of exhibitor Curzon Cinemas and distributor Artificial Eye, and American Magnolia are “day and date” pioneers and run successful VOD platforms allowing customers to watch some films at home at the same time as they are released in the cinemas.

Interestingly, the roundtable comes on the eve of a VOD-only French release of Abel Ferrara’s Welcome to New York by Wild Bunch in protest against France’s strict media windowing laws outlawing a “date and date” approach.

“For decades, moviegoers have experienced cinema in theatres ut new technologies and multiple screens are inevitably modifying the consumer behaviour,” said Paillard. “Cannes will still be, for many years, driven by “all rights” distributors. But we see more and more digital buyers, aggregators or new players coming to Cannes.”

Other NEXT round-tables will tackle crowd-funding, how to drive VOD audiences and the fast-growing trend for Cinema on Demand, in which audiences programme their local cinemas.

Alongside the round-tables there will also be presentations by Power to the Pixel and Belgian fund Wallimage exploring new ways of engaging audiences.

The European cross-media market Cross Video Days will also host a pitching session for four interactive projects including Canadian Ziad Tourna’s thriller Le Judas, Jonny Peters feature film and social network/gaming platform project Dream Channel, Julie Friis Walenciak’s Museum and Ziga Virc’s mockumentary Houston, Imamo Problem!