Le Rendez-Vous, a French programming event sponsored by Paris-based TV France International, is set to take place September 5-9 in Biarritz, France. Now in its 17th edition, the conference will provide international distributors the opportunity to screen a cross section of French content one month prior to MIPCOM. VideoAge checked in with Mathieu Bejot, TV France International’s executive director, to find out what’s new at this year’s event in which VideoAge will be participating.

VideoAge International: Is there anything new going on at Le Rendez-Vous this year?
Mathieu Bejot:
For the first time, we are putting together a panel discussion on French investigative documentaries, moderated by Luc Hermann, a [French] journalist and TV producer whose recent documentary output includes Wikileaks: War, Lies and Videotape, which will bring together international broadcasters and French producers
Also, it’s not 100 percent new because we started last year, but we will be hosting two special evenings around key programs:
-Tuesday, September 6: A magical evening with animated series Tara Duncan (produced and distributed by Moonscoop for M6 & Disney Channel France, sold to Disney), along with the author, Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian.
– Wednesday, September 7: A Gaming Club evening with series Tony’s Revenge (aired on France 2, distributed by AB International Distribution) along with leading cast members.
Otherwise, focus of the event remains on screenings (1,300 programs will be screened) and meetings.
VAI:
How many participants are you expecting? How many buyers and how many sellers?
MB:
More than 350. Right now, we have 260 confirmed buyers (we usually have some cancellations during the summer, I expect we should end up with 230 plus, compared to just over 200 last year) and 105 sellers from 64 companies (four more companies than last year).
VAI:
What countries are most of the buyers from? Is one region better represented than the others?
MB:
[Some] 57 countries will be represented this year. Europe is traditionally strong. It is, of course, closer and easier for Europeans to attend. Italy, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Scandinavia will be well represented. Russia and Poland are also sending a high number of acquisition executives, among other Eastern and Central Europeans countries. We always have dedicated Japanese buyers, and we’re delighted that despite the context, eight of them will be joining us this year, along with buyers from Taiwan, India and Turkey. Brazil and Canada will also send us several buyers.
VAI:
What type of programming is typically presented at Le Rendez-Vous? Have you observed any trends?
MB:
A large selection is available: drama, feature films, animation, docs, performing arts programming, some formats. The video library will include over 1,300 programs, mostly recent programs, half of them in HD.
Trends are always tricky to define, since we represent the whole range of French production. The selection of drama is very promising, a mix between exciting new projects (such as The Odyssey, adapted from Homer for Arte with Rupert Everett, or Rani, a story set in the 18th century between France and India, with Mylene Jampanoi and Jean-Hugues Anglade for France 2) and returning seasons of successful show (Spiral, Desperate Parents, Un Village Français, Mafiosa, etc.).