Venice Production Bridge: Connecting producers and partners
by Birgit Heidsiek
- VENICE 2017: The second Venice Production Bridge, held on the Lido from 31 August-5 September, attracted 2,070 industry professionals
Thanks to the combination of the Venice Gap-Financing Market (VGFM), the Book Adaptation Rights Market and Final Cut in Venice programmes, the second Venice Production Bridge attracted 2,070 industry professionals. This year held from 31 August-5 September, as part of the 74th Venice International Film Festival, the event has become a specialised meeting point for completing projects. “When you are creating a new event, it takes time for people to understand,” said Pascal Diot, head of the Venice Production Bridge. “In 2016, we had 607 pre-scheduled one-to-one meetings; this year, we had a total of 1,132.” These figures represent an impressive increase of 86%. Altogether, representatives of 145 companies came to attend project meetings at the Venice Production Bridge.
According to Diot, the tremendous increase in industry representatives is due to the success of the projects that were selected for the VGFM in the past. “Many of the films have been presented in competition at international film festivals, such as Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Toronto and Sundance.” This year, there were 47 projects presented at the VGFM. The hottest projects that were clearly in demand included the Argentinian drama Irene by Celina Murga, the New York-set dramedy Brighton 4 by Levan Koguashvili and the Spanish-French documentary La Ciudad Oculta (The Hidden City) by Victor Moreno, while in the VR section, the Canadian project Escape VROOM by Sean O'Reilly piqued a great deal of interest.
The presentation of 17 VR projects gave the event an additional boost. Besides the new VR competition, virtual reality was a subject for discussion at several panels at the Venice Production Bridge. “For VR, there is still an economic model to define and to find,” said Diot. The exploitation of VR was also discussed at a session attended by European and Chinese experts in the field. “When the Chinese start something, they invest a lot of time, energy and money in it – and they are quick. They have already reached the same level as the Europeans and are really trying to become a key player.”
Thanks to VR technology, Diot is also expecting more cross-media works and digital marketing for traditional films on smartphones and handheld devices. The promotion and buzz for a film can be created by using all of the various media channels and adding further elements such as a game and a quiz to the film. “An increasing number of distributors arranged meetings with VR producers in order to see how they could access this new technology, and they are also thinking about the exploitation of VR projects.”
Most of the 90 films that were presented at the 74th Venice International Film Festival already had a sales agent. “Before the festival, we sent a list of all the films that didn’t have international distribution to all the sales agents,” explained Diot. Therefore, the list of films without a sales agent has shrunk. “The sales agents and distributors work in advance of the festivals to secure sales and distribution.”
This year, the aim was to strengthen the Venice Gap-Financing Market, Final Cut, and Book Adaptation Rights Market initiatives, as well as the presence of virtual reality. “We will keep developing these four main areas,” summed up Diot. “Our philosophy is to become a bridge between producers and partners, be they publishers, another producer, a sales agent, a post-production company or a broadcaster.”
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