Cannes 2022 - Marché du Film
Industry Report: Distribution, Exhibition and Streaming
The challenges of producing for streamers in France explored at Cannes
CANNES 2022: A case-study analysis with Netflix France and Prime Video France was organised during the Cannes Marché du Film
Streaming services have increased their role in the filmmaking process in recent years, and the Marché du Film invited film producers and services’ reps to take the stage at a joint panel this year to share their recent experiences of collaboration. The moderator of the panel, Jeremy Kay, Americas Editor for Screen International, started the conversation by asking the streamers’ representatives on what they are looking for and how they collaborate with producers.
Thomas Dubois, head of French Originals for Amazon Studios, mentioned that streamers are a new opportunity for producers, as they stimulate creativity and try to innovate around the format of storytelling. They are focusing a lot on formats: what matters is the story, some of them needing to be told through a movie while others through a series, both formats therefore being equally valued. It is also important to understand the needs of the customers and to follow them. The key point is to generate a conversation around the title, and how the story is going to drive a conversation in a crowded landscape with lots of offerings. In terms of action films they produced Overdose by Olivier Marchal, but they have also made comedies and are aiming for more indie movies as well.
Sara May, director of content acquisitions for Netflix France, added that investments on the films and producers’ commitment in doing movies are growing, and that films are becoming an important pillar of their content. Regarding content, she mentioned that French action films, such as Earth and Blood [+see also:
interview: Julien Leclercq
film profile] and Sentinelle, both directed by Julien Leclercq, or Lost Bullet [+see also:
film profile] by Guillaume Pierret, had a huge impact, along with Olivier Marchal’s Rogue City [+see also:
film profile], which premiered on Netflix when cinemas were closed during the pandemic. These films had a pretty great resonance in France and globally.
She added that they are looking for projects that create a diverse offering because their member base is growing, and Netflix should be complementary to the theatrical and TV market. French action is not the only genre they are interested in, and more are emerging, such as urban films inspired by pop culture and hip hop, like Romain Gavras’ upcoming film Athena [+see also:
From the producers’ side, Marine Forde, director of cinema production at Gaumont, mentioned that this is a new way of working and they are now producing the first 100% Amazon financed film. It is challenging and there are some stories more dedicated to streamers than other formats. The process is faster and a film can be completed in less than one year, which is new and different from the traditional way of producing.
Lionel Uzan, co-founder at MD Federation Entertainment, underlined that the streamers can help both in promotion and exposition of the film, and that the talents in post-pandemic time are more open to streamers than before. He is currently editing a comedy for Amazon, which was developed before the partnership with a full package but whose script was finally worked out after partnering with Amazon. He also emphasised that, with streamers, he doesn’t have to worry about the financing and can therefore focus on the creative part entirely.
Producer Julien Madon was amazed about the success that his action film The Crew [+see also:
film profile] had on Netflix, especially beyond France back in 2018, which marked the beginning of his collaboration with them. He believes that there is freedom in doing his job as a producer while the streamer can do the marketing and deliver the final product to the audience.
On the relationship between streamers and producers, Dubois mentioned that streamers communicate to producers what customer expectations are, since it is a matter of impact to the audience, and that this can be created by mutual collaboration between producer and streamer as well as through open discussion, establishing trust with the talent as well. It’s all about telling a good story.
May added that the number one priority is the French audience, but another is how to offer maximum global visibility to these films which are dubbed in 9 languages and subtitled in more than 30. Action films are a good vehicle for travel and tell a story both locally and globally. No algorithms decide on the content; it’s a very complicated process that needs many stars to align in order to have something new as an original.
Finally, the volume of submissions is increasing for both streamers and is a lot to manage, especially for films that get financed to go to theatres. The talent pool in France is very wide and there is a lot to choose from, which is a luxury, as May underlined.
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