The seventh edition of Conecta FICTION & ENTERTAINMENT concluded today in Toledo, where a large group of professionals from the global content industry gathered with the aim of promoting co-productions between America and Europe.

At the round-up press conference held earlier today, Mike Villanueva, manager of the Castilla La-Mancha Film Commission, highlighted how last year’s edition of Conecta — also held in Toledo — has helped Castilla-La Mancha to turn the audiovisual industry into one of its growth vectors. “So far in 2023, we have almost doubled the number of shootings in our region, with a significant increase in entertainment programs”.

Conecta’s director Géraldine Gonard provided the main figures of this seventh edition: a total of 1,031 professionals (around 30 per cent more than last year) from 41 countries from both continents were registered at the event.

These figures are important to point out because VideoAge erroneously indicated in its June/July Issue that 8,000 people would be in attendance. Conecta’s Communications and Press manager Eva Zalve also specified that executives from Madrid’s Secuoya were indeed present at Conecta (reps from Secuoya’s U.S. office did not attend), and that several RTVE executives were in attendance as well (but not those involved with RTVE’s commercial sector).

In terms of participation by country, Gonard mentioned that 68 per cent of the participants were Spanish, while the presence of European and American executives was very balanced, with the U.S, France, Mexico, Argentina, Portugal, Poland, the U.K. and Germany being the countries with the largest number of delegates.

A total of 23 panels, eight keynotes, six open pitching sessions, six private pitching sessions, eight workshops, six tips and five after work meetings were offered to the attendees. Of these, five were part of the special program dedicated to Mexico and Poland as focus countries.

In addition, the first edition of the Spain Content Showcase brought together around thirty international buyers and acquisition executives, who were able to view the most recent titles presented by Atresmedia, Filmax, Mediterráneo Mediaset España, Movistar Plus+, Onza Distribution and The Mediapro Studio.

Televisión Española (RTVE) sponsored the award given to the best project of the Spanish talent pitching session, consisting of a project development contract. This year’s winner was Wellborn Family by Zebina Guerra and Jorge Yúdice.

Panels, featured pitches, keynotes, and workshops were scattered among several sites, with the main venue being the Palacio de Congresos, an imposing three-floor complex. Those visiting Conecta for the first time also quickly realized that the event was directed at insomniacs, with cocktail parties starting at 10 p.m. on weekdays, and luncheons beginning at 3 p.m. It is clear that Spain operates in its own time zone, which is understandable, especially considering that the temperature in town reached 39 degrees Celsius during the event. However, the venue is well liked by most participants, so Conecta will return for its eight edition next year in this same Medieval town, which, up until 1561 was Spain’s capital.

Some of the conference topics were also unusual, such as “Vodka Meets Tequila,” which explored ways to connect Polish and Mexican TV executives. The main focus of the event, however, can be summarized as a “pitch basket,” where established producers, like Disney LATAM’s Leonardo Aranguibel, went to look for potential hits. Indeed, Conecta is big on content pitches, with many still in play, meaning just a few have already been commissioned.

Today’s “Non-Mainstream Platforms and the Opportunities They Offer to Producers and Talents,” discussed the plight of “non-mainstream platforms,” meaning local streamers that are challenging large platforms with their AVoD and FAST channels. For this reason, the panel has been labeled: Warrior Platforms,” while in a news flash, VideoAge called it “FAST & Furious at Conecta.”

The panel, held today at 10:30 a.m., featured Dom Serafini, editor-in-chief of VideoAge as moderator, while the speakers include Pablo Ghiglione, head of International Co-Productions at Brazil’s Globoplay; Sanja Božić-Ljubičić, CEO of Croatia’s Pickbox Mediatranslations, Mediavision and NEM; and André Béraud, head of Scripted Programs at Canada’s Radio-Canada.

Pictured above: Conecta Fiction’s director Géraldine Gonard, VideoAge‘s Dom Serafini; Argentina-based writer/producer Carlos Wasserman, Miami-based Disney LATAM’s Leonardo Aranguibel; Cecilia Gomez de la Torre of Peru’s Tondero; Focus on Poland with panelists Pola Hempowicz of Monarchy and Marek Solon-Lipinski of TVP.

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