Frontières 2020: Annick Mahnert Appointed Executive Director, Co-Pro Goes Digital This July
I don't know about you but I'm itching to get back to normal life, under whatever definition it means once the current health crisis is over. I for one, am thinking about the long game and how my future plans to attend film festivals have yet to be impacted. Fortunately, when it comes to covering this year's edition of the Frontières International Co-Production Market the team, with a new executive director, have made it easier to participate this year.
First of all, the new executive director. Producer Annick Mahnert (The Long Walk and Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist) will take over the role from the recently departed Lindsay Peters. Annick is awesome and many here at Screen Anarchy have the pleasure of interacting with her and such projects in the past. She has a tonne of experience in filmmaking, from all aspects and angles, so that's great heading into this new position. And she has been coming to the co-pro for a number of years now so the regulars will have a familiar face to greet us the next time we're allowed back into Montreal. We look forward to seeing what she brings to the market moving forward.
Now, about Frontières. Usually the market runs the second week of the Fantasia film festival. Since that has been pushed back to August, we hope, we think, and the provincial government has called for cultural events to be cancelled through to the end of August the market has had to rethink this year's event.
This Summer Frontières is going virtual. The market will still run as planned from July 23rd through to the 26th but because of who knows how many travel restrictions, health and safety concerns for all who would attend, the market will take place in the virtual realm.
This means that all pitches will be delivered by filmmakers from the comfort of their own home and office in their homeland wherever that may be. And you know, for all the years that Frontières has gone on isn't there always that one filmmaker who has a travel SNAFU and the one producer who makes it has to deliver the pitch on their own? Not this time. Barring technological meltdown anyone who is supposed to present can present this year.
How the rest of the weekend - meetings, panels, micro focused presentations - will be carried out will be discovered at the end of July.
This also means no cocktails, late nights drinking at whatever establishment will take us, and woe upon me, no karaoke on the last night. The annual gathering of a few hundred alcoholics and bad singers will have to wait until 2021.
For this year I am fine with that because it gives my imposter syndrome a bit of a break and I can cover the pitch sessions in near anonymity as compared to other years. I can also return to covering the market after a couple years away, committing to other festivals and markets these past two years. Being told to stay home is for once paying dividends.
Here is the full press release.
FRONTIÈRES TAKES A DIGITAL TURN UNDER ANNICK MAHNERT’S LEADERSHIPWith COVID-19 shaking our certainties and the habits of the industry, the security and wellbeing of individuals is an absolute priority during this crisis. As such, anticipating the impossibility and difficulty for participants to undertake international travel over the next several months, Frontières has taken initiative and redesigned their upcoming event.The Frontières International Co-Production Market will take place as planned from July 23rd to the 26th of 2020 - in a new digital format. While the market usually runs in conjunction with the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal the fest announced last week that it would be pushing its dates to later in the Summer due to regulations imposed by the Government of Québec calling for the cancelation of cultural events until August 31st, resulting in the two initiatives running independently. In this new adapted edition of Frontières producers and filmmakers who submitted projects will be able to pitch online to industry professionals, just as they have done in the past, without bringing any health risks to themselves or others.Furthermore, Frontières is proud to partner once more with Cannes’s Marché du Film and will be participating in the virtual market, taking place at the end of June, with the annual Frontières Platform, with further details to come.Following Lindsay Peters’ departure, Annick Mahnert, a long time collaborator of Frontières, will take over as the new executive director of the market. Born in Geneva, Annick Mahnert studied filmmaking at NYFA. While in Switzerland, she went on to work in distribution, programming and international sales at 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Pathé Cinemas, Frenetic Films and, later, Celluloid Dreams in Paris. Since 2013 Mahnert has worked as a freelance producer, acquisitions consultant and festival programmer. She is an expert at the Austrian Film Institute and the Albanian Center for Cinematography for film funding. Her last two productions, The Long Walk and Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist, both celebrated their World Premieres at the Venice Film Festival last September. Presently, Mahnert is a programmer at the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival and is the director of International Programming at Fantastic Fest in Austin.Annick Mahnert first became involved with Frontières in 2013 as both an industry mentor and member of the project selection team, and in this evolved role will bring forward a new system to allow professionals and participants to engage in discussions around various projects.As she explains: ’Frontières is an important event for the film industry and it was inconceivable to me that the market should cease. Lindsay Peters has proposed alternatives prior to her departure and we will build upon her ideas to create this year’s digital event. I am proud to take the helm of Frontières and though we won’t be able to meet in person this summer, I have no doubt that our partners and the genre cinema community will follow us in this new adventure.’More information regarding the format and the technical aspect of the pitches for the Frontières Platform in Cannes and the Frontières International Co-Production Market will follow in the upcoming weeks.