By Peter Belsito | SydneysBuzz June 27, 2014 at 12:00PM
Last week in Paris we were amazed (and hosted) by the Champs Elysee Film Festival during their mid June event. Organized, founded and headed up by the indefatigable Sophie Dulac I think this event holds an important place for indie filmmakers of all countries today.
Mainly French but also European trade attended and the filmmakers got the unique chance to have one on one sessions with buyers and sales companies who had seen their projects.
I am impressed because this connection - filmmakers to trade - is so very hard at the always great (but huge!!) events such as Cannes. For me marketing and connecting to the trade - buyers and sellers - is almost as important for a filmmaker as making a great film (and this of course always the number 1 priority!!)
My basic question always to filmmakers is this - Considering the huge amount of films now made annually how do you intend to raise your head above the mass (of product) to reach your audience?
It struck me that reasonably sized (even small) events such as this Fest (and its amazing daily evening networking gatherings) is a very important way to go for indie filmmakers.
The large LARGE events dominate attention these days but quality smaller events such as this one I think may offer different and even more rewards (networking, deals, etc) for many producers.
In France weeks apart I attended Cannes Film Festival and its Marche du Film and then later Champs Elysee. Both are wonderful and the careful serious producer needs to evaluate for each production how they will use such promising venues to advance their business goals and find their audience.
Two events in particular stood out at Champs Elysee FF.
US in Progress
My partner Sydney Levine sat on the jury for this very interesting section of the Champs Elysee Film Festival.
US in Progress is a joint initiative between the American Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland, the Champs-Élysées Film Festival (June 11-17, 2014) in Paris and Black Rabbit Film, created in 2011.
It is the first professional event dedicated to independent American films that are still in post-production. The goal of the event is for film-makers to show their work to potential European buyers in order to encourage their distribution and broadcast across Europe.
US in Progress takes place twice a year during two festivals: once in Paris, in June and once in Wroclaw, in October.
So, the question is relevant -
Why create an event in favor of the American cinema in Europe?
The founders reply -
There is no doubt in anybody’s mind that today the European market is dominated by American films. But by American films we generally mean big budget films produced by big studios. These films are no doubt entertaining, but they only reflect a portion of what the US is all about. Outside of the big studios, there is a dynamic and interesting group of people making independent films but struggling to find distributors abroad. Independent productions often lack an efficient international strategy and European buyers are mostly unaware of the films being produced.
Thus, US in Progress aims at building new bridges between today’s up-and-coming generation of talented American filmmakers and European buyers. In a word, we want to present the new faces of the US cinema to the European market.
The selection committee made up of the Champs-Élysées Film Festival/American Film Festival Wroclaw/Black Rabbit Film selects 4-5 films for each US in Progress. The selected feature films are presented to a panel of over 40 potential sellers, buyers, distributors, festivals and European producers. The films presented at US in Progress are feature films produced by well-known producers/directors as much as emerging ones.
These past two years, US in Progress Paris has received over 80 projects.
The second event that impressed me was -
PARIS COPRODUCTION VILLAGE
This event is dedicated to international co-productions.
Les Arcs European Film Festival and Champs-Élysées Film Festival launched a partnership and created PARIS COPRODUCTION VILLAGE which was held on June 12-13
PARIS COPRODUCTION VILLAGE is a new platform for the development and the funding of selected feature films from around the world. It is organized by Les Arcs European Film Festival and the Champs-Élysées Film Festival. The goal of the two-day event is to encourage the Fest attending European film industry to get involved in international co-productions.
For two days, 12 to 15 international projects looking to build a French or European co-production were presented to producers, international sellers, distributors, backers, representatives of regional funds and festivals.
Moreover, the 6 residents of the Cinéfondation of the Cannes Festival were also involved in the selection.
Participants took part in private meetings, networking events, and seminars chaired by major figures of the cinema industry.
For more details about the selected projects please see the website at