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Hollywood considers online portal as alternative to Cannes Film Festival and Market

2020-03-21 10:37:23 GMT2020-03-21 18:37:23(Beijing Time) 

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the top talent agency in the world, is exploring a palace coup that could be a game changer for the entertainment industry, business insiders said.

They are building industry support to set up their own virtual film festival and market to replace the prestigious and influential Cannes Film Festival and Market.

Hollywood's trade press reported on Wednesday that the uncertainty of whether the Cannes Festival Market would be held or cancelled has frustrated the powerful agencies and their heavy-hitting producing clients who depend on the market to sell their films.

Held in May, Cannes is the largest film market in the world, where thousands of films are bought and sold by and for every country and territory in the world. It has been postponed due to the spread of the coronavirus, organizers of the annual event in southern France said on Thursday.

With the film industry on the brink of the worst recession in decades due to widespread movie theater closures and production stoppages in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, the additional devastating losses that the entire industry would suffer if there was no Cannes market to sell their films has driven CAA to take matters into their own hands to protect their clients and the industry.

The virtual initiative, led by CAA in concert with Hollywood's other top agencies, UTA, ICM Partners, and Endeavor Content, would create a robust online film market site that could support thousands of transactions all across the globe, thereby circumventing the need to buyers and sellers to congregate in person.

Since Cannes itself has been dithering over whether to go forward or not, Variety reported that CAA's viral film market idea was welcomed with relief by some of the bigger foreign sales companies.

But, in response to CAA's bold initiative, the Cannes Marche moved to announce that it was setting up its own official virtual market initiative on its existing Cinando industry platform, to focus on the festival-screening side of the event. Cannes officials contend that the platform will be capable of serving all accredited participants for approximately 50 percent of the regular rate charged for their in-person market.

The Head of Marche du Film, Jerome Paillard, told the media that CAA's effort will likely be complementary, not competitive, with theirs, since the agency portal would most likely focus more on marketing presentations, than screenings.

Some European companies have expressed concerns that the CAA-backed portal might turn out be a members-only club for big U.S. and UK companies that might exclude other industry players.

Media reported that one European seller confessed that he would prefer using an official Marche du Film virtual platform rather than the CAA-led one because "if the Americans go through with this, it could jeopardize Mipcom and MipTV."

At this juncture, big changes are afoot that could create seismic shifts in the entire entertainment industry that could upset over 80 years of Cannes tradition and 100 years of Hollywood tradition. The CAA-led consortium will decide shortly whether to launch or not or fall in with Cannes' official platform.

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