Reed Midem, the French company behind two of the biggest television markets each year, is planning to go ahead with MIPCOM (October 8 to 12) in Cannes. However, acknowledging prospective attendees’ concerns following the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on September 11, Reed Midem says plans are in place to step up security. Some of the proposed measures are: three additional police teams on patrol in Cannes, particularly around the Palais des Festivals; more security guards before and during the show; searches, in cooperation with police, in and around the Palais; and installation of metal detectors to check bags and packages.
Despite these measures, Reed Midem can do nothing about travellers who are now reluctant to board a plane. J. Mitchell Johnson, president and CEO of Texas-based Abamedia says, ‘I’ve made the decision not to travel internationally until I better understand the dynamics of the current situation.’ He adds, however, that in his opinion it’s appropriate for the event to happen.
While it’s likely other MIPCOM veterans feel the same as Johnson, many contacted by RealScreen say they are planning to attend. The following are some of their comments:
Gioia Avvantaggiato, GA&A Productions, Italy – ‘I belong to the category of those who cannot afford not to go, [but] I don’t think it is appropriate [for the event to go on]. From a human standpoint, we are all on the verge of a new global war. We could care less about having to discuss business and sip expensive cold drinks on the Croisette. We just don’t want to leave home. From a business standpoint, business is going to be lousy. Many buyers from large countries will not attend and those that will…their heads and hearts will be elsewhere.’
Jean Huang, Lion’s Gate International, U.S. – ‘It’s my business, and I think more than ever clients will need to turn to cost-effective acquired programming to bolster schedules. If we don’t [go], we fall into the terrorists’ trap and behave exactly as they planned.’
Tim Sparke, Mercury Media, U.K. – ‘It is absolutely appropriate for the event to go on. To cancel it would be giving in to terrorism. The atmosphere will be a little different, but we will all endeavor to keep each other’s spirits up, should they need it.’
Philippa Kowarsky, Cinephil, Israel – ‘Coming from the Middle East, we are used to ‘routine breakers’ and we do our best not to let the radicals and crazy/horrific acts stop life. Sadly, sometimes the terror is so bad that it is impossible to keep things up and and going. Life is then on a standstill for a few days, a week… But MIPCOM will take place a month after the horrific attack on the U.S., and we feel it should take place.’
Tim Smith, Newsweek/Carlton TV, U.S. – ‘I am planning to go, although that could change depending on circumstances and, of course, whether anyone else goes… I don’t want to be the only one in Cannes.’
Andrea Portante, RAI Trade, Italy – ‘I am going and I don’t see why not. Life goes on. The best answer to terrorists is to live life as usual, just with some more security (which for us Europeans has been the routine for many years).’
Andrew Fitzpatrick, Monster Distributes, Ireland – ‘Can’t let the bastards stop the world from turning.’