MIPCOM Gears Up for Memorable 27th Edition

 ABC

PARIS - While a main attraction will be Missing, this year’s MIPCOM won’t be devoid of additional star power or industry intensity when talents, TV programs and technology descend on Cannes for the market’s 27th edition in October.

This year’s content market will see small screen talent schmooze with top industry execs as MIPCOM continues to raise its glam factor while keeping its focus on business.

ABC’s thriller Missing will open the market with a gala screening and red carpet event with its stars Ashley Judd, Cliff Curtis and Adriano Giannini. The show’s exec producers Gregory Poirier, Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo will also be in town for the international launch of the series before its midseason premiere on ABC. “It’s going to be a very big night,” Director of Reed MIDEM’s TV division Laurine Garaude said of the festivities planned at the Palais and later at the opening party’s red carpet that will feature a lineup of international talent.

The Sopranos’ star Stevie Van Zandt will head from Jersey to the French Riviera to present his new dramedy mafia series Lilyhammer. Also raising Hell on Wheels at the market will be hip hop artist turned actor Common and his co-stars from Entertainment One, Endemol USA and Nomadic Pictures’ new series for AMC.

MIPCOM will embrace the seventh art when feature film directors Werner Herzog, Paul Verhoeven and Yann Arthus-Bertrand head to Cannes to promote their latest projects. Herzog and ZDF will bring market attendees Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life, Verhoeven will be launching The Entertainment Experience, in the Netherlands with FCCE.TV and Arthus-Bertrand will be in town with partner Jean-Yves Robin and their new Hope Production unit.

After a trip to Hell on Wheels and Into the Abyss, MIPCOMers will see Death in Paradise, a new BBC One and France Televisions drama series about an English policeman posted to the Caribbean island of Sainte Marie. The show’s stars Ben Miller and Sarah Martins will be in Cannes paradise promoting the title.

Margaret Cho will be at the market to add some laughs to the dark drama atmosphere with her new show Cho Dependent repped internationally by Beyond Distribution.

Endemol will also be bringing TV Land talent to MIPCOM land including Happily Divorced star, co-writer and exec producer Fran Drescher and The Exes star Kristen Johnston.

“When top talents come, it helps in reaching out to the thousands of international buyers present at MIPCOM and, at the same time, creates a wider awareness for new programs through the buzz and anticipation created onsite and via the media. I think it does have real impact,” Garaud said of the increasing number of talents present every year, but added: “All of this comes with a very serious business perspective. We don’t want to lose sight of that.”

The 2011 MIPCOM will definitely be getting down to business this year with a series of high-profile keynotes, matchmaking events and conferences. The market has been sold out for several weeks and boasts over 90 new exhibitors including Miramax and Hasbro, plus pavilions from MIPCOM first-timers Turkey, India and Indonesia.

“MIPCOM is the biggest place in the world to launch new programs and it’s also a great place for producers to find new sources of revenue. Through networking events and matchmaking, execs can also meet new contacts to do business,” Garaude said.

Russia will be in the spotlight with a MIPCOM-wide Focus on Russia. With 330 TV channels, 20 free-to-air networks and cable revenues in excess of 723 million euros, the country is a major player on the small screen scene. The international TV biz will be able to discover new content from the territory and participate in conferences, panels and production case studies.

Asia will also be a major force at this year’s MIPCOM with 1,200 Asian participants, 451 Asian buyers and 53 different stands and pavilions from the continent. The market will play host to an “Asian Content Exchange” featuring a West Meets East buyers panel, an opportunity to meet the Asian animation financiers and networking opportunities.

"Trading has become more international. There’s a strong focus on global partnerships and being able to come up with budgets for quality programming that will work internationally,” Garaude said.

MIPCOM will head back to the future with conference theme “Tomorrow’s TV today.” “What seems like the future is actually very current,” Garaude explained, adding: “These are developments that need to be addressed now.” A series of “Money Matters” conferences and events will focus on alternative financing, branded entertainment and crowd-funding while a “Rebooting TV experience” theme will focus on connected TV, ultraviolet and social media TV. MIPCOM will add a new dimension to its program with a special “3D TV day” on Oct. 3 devoted to the format featuring a 3D keynote from Sony Corp.’s Akira Shimazu.

Also on this year’s impressive keynotes slate are Miramax CEO Mike Lang, Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos, president and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks Robert Bakish, Channel One Russia’s CEO Konstantin Ernst and Entertainment President of Fox Broadcasting Company Kevin Reilly.

Disney/ABC TV group president and Disney media networks co-chair Anne Sweeney will be the spotlight as MIPCOM 2011 Personality of the Year, the first woman ever to receive the honor. Sweeney will accept her award during a gala dinner on Oct. 5.

Even before the main MIPCOM market kicks off, this year’s MIPJunior promises to be a market off the books.

“We’re creating a forum where producers can meet with publishers to discuss the possibilities of working together,” Garaude said.

The publishing and media industries will collide during this year’s brand new Books to TV Exchange in partnership with the London Book Fair that will include matchmaking events, an intensive agenda of debates, interactive workshops and pitching sessions.

“Ebooks, apps and other developments are creating new opportunities for collaboration between these two sectors,” Garaude explained.

Warner Bros.’ evp of Creative Affairs Sam Register will give the MIPJunior keynote, and a Kids’ Jury competition will be in its third year.

“Kids are watching more and more TV and watching on multiple screens in different ways,” Garaude said of the importance of the MIPJunior market.

This year’s MIPJunior will run from Oct. 1 – 2 in Cannes followed by the MIPCOM market from Oct. 3 – 6.

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