Celebrities called in to fuel sales at MIPCOM
Sarah Jessica Parker among those touting shows in Cannes
More MIPCOM news
CANNES -- The weather on the Riviera at night is balmy and the stars are out. But it's not the Cannes Film Festival: It's that heretofore buttoned-down TV trade show known as MIPCOM, which is emulating its movie-mad cousin by upping the glitz quotient on the Croisette.
The parade of personalities this week is led by a twosome from "Mad Men" -- Elisabeth Moss and Jon Hamm -- who, among other things, will grace a first-ever red carpet event Monday night.
The Emmy-winning AMC drama is just starting to catch on internationally, and distributor Lionsgate decided this is the moment to pique buyer interest by bringing along the talent.
MIPCOM organizer Reed Midem several years ago said that there eventually would be cross-pollination between the film festival and the TV trade shows -- all French-based, French-fortified events. The Cannes fest would pay more attention to TV talent and money; sister markets MIP and MIPCOM would inject more glamour into the typically business-like atmosphere of the sales bazaars.
The glamor is not just about tarting up the trade shows' image: it's also about sales companies, including U.S. players, finding an easy way to create buzz among program buyers.
With Oliver Stone jetting in for a private lunch with buyers -- interviewed by no less than David Frost -- to promote his Showtime doc "The Untold History of the United States," and Sarah Jessica Parker hopping over for a meet-and-greet to promote her new show "A Work of Art," it seems that for all but the biggest franchises (which essentially sell themselves), exposing the talent is a smart way to sweeten deals for projects that are just getting off the ground.
"We do it very selectively, but this is one year we felt that with the lineup that we had, it warranted bringing talent over," says David Ellender, global CEO of Fremantle Media Enterprises, which is distributing the 12-hour Parker-topped series.
Other stars on tap to glad-hand with buyers include British comic Stephen Fry (here to stump for a doc about language called "Planet Word"); Matt Lucas and David Walliams (the BBC's "Little Britain"); Andrew Lincoln and Sarah Wayne Caillies (AMC's upcoming "The Walking Dead"); Laura Innis (ABC's "No Ordinary Family"); Gene Simmons (AETN's "Family Jewels"); and Ken Finkleman (Canadian show "Good Dog").
Even showrunners and exec producers, as in Steve Stark and Greg Berlanti, made the trek to greet foreign buyers of their new primetime dramas "The Event" and "No Ordinary Family," respectively.
So, why is this happening -- and why just as the global market gingerly begins to shake off two years of recessionary woes?
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