Sarah Hemar - executive director TV France International talks to Formatbiz about the new edition of the Rendez-Vous Biarritz (September 7-9)

Sarah Hemar - executive director TV France International talks to Formatbiz about the new edition of the Rendez-Vous Biarritz (September 7-9)
Two Words with Sarah Hemar- Executive Director TV France International

For the first time in 26 years, your main event, The Rendez-Vous Biarritz (7-9 September), will not take place physically, but will be transformed into a digital event. How are you feeling on the eve of the event? 

It is indeed a very special and unique edition.
Of course, we are disappointed because, due to the Covid-19 health crisis, we will not be able to welcome buyers from all over the world and French exporters, members of TV France International, to a physical place. In other words, the town of Biarritz where we should have met in September, as we have done for the last 18 years.

And at the same time, we are confident in our new format. We have adapted to the re-strictions made necessary by current circumstances and tried never to lose sight of our ob-jective: maintaining the recognised efficiency of this 1st market of the season, the only one entirely dedicated to French audiovisual programmes, while keeping its spirit of conviviality, even if we do not have the pleasure of actually physically being together.

We already have the satisfaction of seeing that we are being followed in this. More than 350 buyers from 64 countries including newcomers, almost 1/3 more than in 2019, and more than 100 exporters are attending. Various speakers have taken advantage of the customised vid-eo formats to show their rich and varied offer. Thanks to all once again!

How did you transform The Rendez-Vous?

From April, we opened a discussion with both our sellers and buyers to understand what their need would be It became clear that we simply could not hold an in-person event, as we already knew that many of those who would normally attend would not be able to make it. That’s why we rapidly decided to revisit our flagship event by combining the agility of a dedicated digital platform and a pop-up broadcasting studio, a forum for live exchanges. In this we are accompagnied by PublicisLive agency and supported by our main partners: the Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée (CNC), the Ministère de l’Europe et des Affaires étrangères, and The Procirep,

This 26th Rendez-Vous, which has become the Rendez-Vous Bi@rritz, as is shown in our new logo, aims to highlight new French content available in the marketplace at the start of the new season through a Screening Room with more than 600 programmes available on Screenopsis, while continuing to offer our participants new editorial content, presentations and events illustrating the liveliness of French creation.

You organized The Rendez-Vous around five pillars. Could you please specify?

Sure. First of all, we will be giving its members the opportunity to present some of their flagship programmes to international buyers in the form of a television programme, presented alternatively by Elsa Keslassy (Variety) and François Pier Pélinard-Lambert (Le Film Français). Nine “Super Highlights” programmes have been selected by the TV France board covering fiction on Monday 7, documentaries on Tuesday 8 and animated series on Wednesday 9.
Then, for the first time, The Rendez-Vous, benefitting from its unique digital platform, proposed to its members to pitch their new documentary projects to all buyers and commissioning editors registered at the event. 15 4-minute recorded pitches will be available from 7 to 9 September on The Rendez-Vous Bi@rritz 2020 digital platform.
Also, for the first time, the announcement of the annual Export Awards which recognise distributors in Fiction, Documentary and Animation will be made during the Rendez-Vous, on Monday 7 September at 12.00. The agenda details are available on our platform:
Of course, as usual, we will propose a dedicated Screening Room. Operated under Screenopsis and totally dedicated to buyers, the Rendez-Vous Bi@rritz 2020 Screening Room will enable them to watch the best recent French TV offer on VOD. This year this means more than 600 “fresh” programmes are on offer, from all categories and categorized in relation to the needs expressed by buyers beforehand.
And the Rendez-Vous 2020 studio will also host three conferences. On Monday 7 September we will be happy to share a presentation looking back on French programme exports in 2019. I will present it with Benoît Danard from CNC. On Tuesday 8, commissioning editors will take the floor to reveal what is behind their programme buying strategies. Finally, on Wednesday 9, the CNC will come and detail new results on the presence of French programmes on VOD platforms.

credits photo Agence Photomobile 2019