By Leah Hochbaum Rosner
Television executives’ calendars are nearly overflowing with trade shows each year. MIPCOM, MIP-TV, SPORTELMonaco, the L.A. Screenings, NATPE and AFM, among others, have TV people flying around the world almost constantly. So, is there room on the slate for yet another market?
Maritza Guimet thinks so. Guimet is president of the Florida Media Market (FMM), an organization that aims to provide a platform where independent filmmakers can meet with international buyers, distributors and production companies to buy, sell and network their product. FMM is holding its second annual Global Film & Media conference October 18-21 at the Alexander Resort in Miami Beach, Florida.
Imagine, a market where producers become the sellers and distributors are the buyers. Up until now, sellers faced uphill battles looking to license product to replenish their distribution pipes. And the same can be said for producers who look either for some upfront money or to assign distribution rights.
“Our goal for the conference is to fill the gap between independent content makers and film executives,” said Guimet. “We want to find a way to link up people who have brilliant ideas with the financiers who can help them create the product they long to create.”
Although the market launched last year, Guimet, who began her career as an actress before moving behind the scenes, believes that everything will essentially launch anew with the upcoming event. “Last year we had just 13 vendors,” she said. While it’s still too early to know just how many people will make it to the floor this year, Guimet is positive numbers will far exceed the more low-key 2006 affair.
The conference will feature three different tracks. The first, “Let’s Make a Deal” will bring together more than 200 media execs from more than 13 countries for four days of buying and selling. The track will feature networking breakfasts and lunches, as well as appointment-only one-on-one sessions in which filmmakers can search for co-production partners to help finance their projects. Track two, entitled “Teach Me Something I Don’t Already Know,” is a series of educational workshops and panels featuring experts who’ll share their marketing, advertising, financing and international project management tips for working in the U.S., Latin America, Asia and Europe. Track three, called “Independent Showcases,” will allow independent content creators to demonstrate their work to television and film producers in search of new ideas. The showcase will also include pitching sessions and screenings.
Guimet’s colleague at the FMM, Gina Rudan, feels that what Guimet has done in creating this market is nothing short of amazing. “Maritza is the founder and champion of this event,” she said. “She took on the challenge of bringing together the people with the money with the people with the great ideas.”
Rudan is also of the opinion that Guimet’s decision to take the market globally immediately makes it stand out from the pack. “For people who normally don’t have access to TV executives in other parts of the world,” this event is a godsend, she said.
Cuban-born, Venezuela-raised actress and singer Maria Conchita Alonso will emcee the event, which also features an Awards Brunch, to be held on October 21. The brunch will recognize winners in a number of categories, including feature films, short films, documentaries, TV programming and screenplays.
“Never before has there been such an amazing opportunity for filmmakers and content creators to actively engage the very people who make deals happen for U.S. and international film and television projects,” said Guimet.