The professional jury, led by Twilight-star Jackson Rathbone (and 2013 Streamy Award nominee for his starring role in the Warner Bros. web series Aim High), awarded six prizes from 25 official selections from countries around the world, including the United States, France, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Spain, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, and Ghana.
Michaëlle en Sacrament, a French-language dramedy now on TV5 Québec Canada, took home 2014 Grand Jury Prize (presented by CanalPlay) and scored awards for best screenplay by Christine Doyon and best actress for Gabrielle Forcier.
The Best Director accolade went to three different winners across two digital titles: Eric Piccolo of Projet M, and Sébastien Landry and Laurence Morais of Lagace – La Chienne. Chris Jericho snagged the Best Actor award for his work in But I’m Chris Jericho, and François Frimpong earned the award for Best Original Music in the French series Gabriel. Rounding out the selections was Warz, Pirates from Outer Space, which won the contest held by WAT.TV.
Jury president Rathbone oversaw an international judging team including U.S. judges Gary Bryman (Vice-Chair of the PGA New Media Council), Carole Kirschner, Adam Besserman (director of Yahoo’s branded entertainment division), John Cabrera (creator and producer of Warner Bros.’ Streamy Award-winning H+ The Digital Series and Gilmore Girls regular), and Adi Shankar (who just announced his new web series based on the film Judge Dredd). Jacques Kluger and Marc Guidoni of France were also part of the judging team, as well as Janet de Nardis from Italy and Rob McLellan from England.
Following MIPCOM in nearby Cannes, the Marseille Web Fest took place on October 17 and 18 in the World Trade Center in the city of Marseille, France’s second largest city and historic Mediterranean cultural center in the country’s famous Provence region. The town is also the subject of Netflix’s first original French series Marseille, an “eight episode tale of power, corruption, and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the French port city,” set for a late 2015 release.
This French House of Cards (which is employing top French film and TV talent) may be the right political move from Netflix in light of its recent September launch in France, a country deeply protective of its film and television industries. Nevertheless, despite intense protectionist legislation on the national level, the city of Marseille is welcoming new digital productions (like the one from Netflix) with open arms, according to remarks from the mayor’s office at the 10th anniversary celebration of Marseilles’ media park.
Historically, the majority of French entertainment productions have come to the country and the world by way of Paris. But Marseille (and the surrounding Provence region) is positioning itself to digital productions as an attractive, economic alternative, with financial incentives to complement its festival, world-class shooting locations, and full-scale production facilities.
Image from RTBF.be