Dialogue: Jerome Paillard

The market's executive director on emerging territories and the power of the Internet.

The Hollywood Reporter: The Berlin International Film Festival market was a bit of a disappointment. How has that affected you?
Jerome Paillard: At Berlin, many companies were telling us they had a lot of new titles for (the Festival de Cannes), and the indication we have today in terms of titles presented and screenings requested is very, very high -- even higher than last year. As of today, we have more than 4,000 titles registered in the lineup -- about 10% more than last year -- with more than 60% of titles debuting, which means there are more than 2,300 new titles. What we call a new title is one that has never been introduced in Berlin, (the American Film Market) or (the Toronto International Film Festival), and we can track that with our database, Cinando (formerly Cannesmarket.com). Now that we are tracking Toronto, AFM, Berlin and Cannes, we are able to have a very in-depth view of where the titles are being announced, so it is very easy for us to know if it is a new title, not just a seller who pretends! Obviously, we are getting the most titles by far (of the markets). AFM and Berlin are more or less at the same level, but not the same kind of titles: For European titles, Berlin is much better; for American and Latin American and genre films, AFM is the best.

THR: Is Latin America playing a bigger role in the markets than in years past?
Paillard: That is the region where we are seeing the biggest increase: Latin America is 33% more (in terms of attendance) than last year and with some very interesting countries -- Chile, Colombia and Peru all have much more people coming. Those countries are now transitioning into film production, and they have some government support in their countries. Colombia is building a new governmental support (system) for their producers, and Mexico is also working on a new law to support local domestic production. What happened in Eastern Europe two or three years ago is happening there, where most of the governments created some kind of film agencies to support production.

THR: What will they find new in Cannes this year?
Paillard: In the Palais (des Festivals), we have a new floor called the (Rotonde) Lerins, the first floor of the Riviera building. This new floor will have about 20 sales companies and four theaters. That is an additional 2,000 square meters (21,500 square feet). And we are refurbishing many of the theaters, so we will have eight of our 30 theaters refurbished, and two digital cinemas. We continue to (develop) the Producers Network, a program for producers where a maximum of 500 can meet every morning for breakfast with investors and other producers. This will be the fourth year. We also organize the Short Film Corner, and we have a huge increase this year; we have more than 1,600 films -- almost double last year's 900. In many countries, we have established partnerships with local agencies to help the filmmakers afford to come to Cannes.

THR: What single factor do you think will most directly impact the market in the next few years?
Paillard: The Internet. We can imagine ultimately that for some small-budget films, they may be tempted to do worldwide distribution by themselves -- because now, from home you can organize it using VOD and viral marketing. But I am talking only about low-budget films, not the rest. But there are so many questions about the new Internet opportunities. All those things are questionable, not only because of piracy but because the economic models are not clear.