The Monte-Carlo TV Festival wants to be for television what the Cannes Film Festival is for movies. TBI speaks to the organisers about the upcoming edition of the talent-packed and (hopefully) sun-drenched week in Monaco
“When I became the head of the festival in 2012, I decided we needed to bring it to the same level as the Festival de Cannes, but for TV,” says Laurent Puons, CEO of Monaco Mediax, the organiser of June’s Monte-Carlo Television Festival.
That cause has been helped by the global rise of drama; a point not lost on Puons. “There is a lot of money in TV series now, and a lot of big actors involved such as Kevin Spacey and John Travolta,” he says. “I think Spacey earns more in House of Cards than when he worked in film, and in the future you will see the likes of Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise coming to TV, and not just as producers.
“TV series are more important than feature films, and you can see them on numerous platforms, whether that’s Netflix, Amazon or something else, meaning TV actors are more watched than film actors.”
The other industry trend fuelling a get-together like the Monte-Carlo Television Festival is the need, in an era of mega-budgets for drama, for different parties to join forces and coproduce.
“There is now an obligation to do coproduction,” says Puons. “If you want to succeed you must group with others, and that is another role for the Monte-Carlo Television Festival: to bring international partners together in the same place.”
The festival boss is fully aware that the calendar of international film and TV events is a busy one, and that his event is close to several others. He contends that Monte-Carlo has a different role from other markets and content confabs.
“During MIP and Cannes there are markets, and buyers and sellers can do good business, but after that they need to promote their products,” he says. “Monte-Carlo is an exclusive place to communicate about new content and series, and there is lots of press from around the world to talk about these in comfortable surroundings.”
In an effort to raise the public profile of the Golden Nymphs, the accolades given to best-in-class drama and news content, the Monte-Carlo TV Festival has installed actors in the judging juries.
The number of juries has also been trimmed from four to two, and a Crystal Nymph has been created to award an actor for his or her body of work, with Donald Sutherland and Patricia Arquette the two recipients thus far.
Gareth Neame, boss of Downton Abbey producer Carnival Films, and Hunter star Stepfanie Kramer are both involved as judges this year.
The proximity to the Cannes film and TV events also means the Monte-Carlo organisers need to pitch the conference component, named the ConTech Academy, carefully.
“The Monte-Carlo TV Festival is very close to MIPTV and to the Festival de Cannes, so it is a challenge to put the right business content in place, and to be different,” Puons says. “But we think we have done this with the ConTech Academy. There will be keynotes, panels and workshops, and it will allow executives, producers and innovators to interact in a convivial atmosphere.
“There will be fresh perspectives on trends and digital development, and a producer forum that looks at coproduction, distribution and monetising content across platforms.”