Cannes Film Market’s Inaugural Investors Circle Unveils Selected Projects (EXCLUSIVE)

While the lineup of Cannes Film Market’s newly launched initiative Cannes Investors Circle has remained under wraps, Variety has learned about four of the nine projects which were pitched during the invitation-only event.

The initiative was created by the film market’s new executive director Guillaume Esmiol to connect VIP private investors with select filmmakers and producers boasting a stellar track records. Curated by experts such as Medici’s Tamara Tatishvili, Arte Cinema’s Rémi Burah and financier Serge Hayat, the nine projects are budgeted between €2 million and €12 million. Among these are “Dracula: The Second Coming” directed by Radu Jude; “Rivo Alto,” directed by Clément Cogitore (“The Wakhan Front”) and produced by Jean-Christophe Reymond at Kazak Productions (“Titane”); “The Girl” directed by Marina Ziolkowski (“But You Look So Good”) and produced by Philippe Gompel (“Cherry”) at Manny Films; and “The Birthday Party” directed by Miguel Angel Jimenez (“Chaika”) and produced by Giorgos Karnavas (“Triangle of Sadness”) at Heretic.

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The event also featured a keynote by Liesl Copland, Participant’s executive vice president of content and platform strategy, as well as a panel discussion about global financing and market trends in 2023 and beyond. The panelists included Elisa Alvares, finance expert at Jacaranda Consultants; Rikke Ennis, CEO of REinvent Studios; Emilie Georges, co-founder and CEO of Paradise City; Mike Goodridge, U.K. producer at Good Chaos who is also presenting Jessica Hausner’s “Club Zero” in the festival’s official competition.

Speaking to Variety, Esmiol said the Investors Circle’s mandate was to highlight projects which had a “Cannes DNA” and had a commercial appeal. He pointed the event stood out for two reasons; the first was the budget level of selected projects which is higher than at traditional pitching events, and the profile of the private investors who don’t want to be identified in the press.

“We had between 20 and 30 top-notch investors who were presented these projects which all have partners on board. They already have a chunk of their financing and are looking to complete it. So that’s new,” Esmiol, who added that he also strived to create more networking events aimed at buyers.

Esmiol, who co-headed last year’s market with Jerome Paillard and took over the reins for this edition, said the market has traditionally been a place for finished films and market screenings, and has evolved in recent years as buyers and streamers come on board projects at an earlier stage.

Esmiol said he was interested in perpetuating the tradition of what the Cannes market has always been while integrating more events, luring a younger generation of industry executives, perfecting screening conditions and giving exhibitors more perks. “I’m here to reinvent the market, but also solidify our core business which has made us become the world’s biggest film market!” said Esmiol, a self-described expert in media and digital business who started working with Paillard at Cinando, which he helped build into a pioneering industry database.

This year’s market has drawn a record number of participants with over 12,500 accredited guests, according to organizers.

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