Le Rendez-Vous Day 1: The best of French Drama

The digital event organized by TV France International put the focus on the French fiction, highlighting some different titles from French audiovisual distribution companies and analysing the current scenario for this genre.


Hervé Michel, Vice-President of UniFrance and Sarah Hemar, Deputy Managing Director of UniFrance in charge of Audiovisual and Digital


Le Rendez-Vous 2021 started today, putting the focus on the best French fiction. The digital meeting, organized by TV France International, gathered 62 participating companies members of TV France International and over 300 buyers and commissioner editors coming from 62 countries.

During the presentation "What’s Hot in France?", Francois Pier Pélinard Lambert, Editor-in-Chief of Le Film Francais and Michel Abouchahla, President Ectran Total, analyzed the last French serial formats from September 2020 to June 202. "The fiction industry has reinvented itself; nowadays, the creatives have a twisted mind and try different ways to create content," commented Pélinard Lambert. "Digital platforms are reaching a high number of subscribers, and they are tending to offer mean stream programs, so the traditional players have to adapt themselves to compete with the platforms.", he concluded.  "The French audiovisual industry invests very much in the quality of its productions, and the French Industry is robust today; we can create high-quality programs that can resonate abroad," added Abouchahla.

Regarding the next genre that will dominate the French screens, both executives agreed that crime thrillers would be on the top, but French viewers also will expect more intimate shows, comedies, and romances dramas.  

In the section "Coming Next From France," UniFrance / TV France International presented 5 French fiction series in various formats having a high potential for international adaptation. They are "Diana Boss," "Hashtag Boomer" "6.30 PM", "The Rope," and "The Bureau".

Sarah Hemar, deputy managing director of UniFrance in charge of audiovisual and digital, said: “For about ten years, French series have enjoyed growing interest internationally and have been more and more recognized at festivals. While program sales are on the up, the commercialization of formats remains an opportunity with room for further development. Hence, our choice this year to showcase French projects for adaptation, with a selection of five formats ranging from the multi-award-winning 'The Bureau' (Federation Entertainment) to other promising new concepts. We are presenting 'Hashtag Boomer' (Balanga), a dramedy examining modern intergenerational relationships; 'Diana Boss' (France tv distribution), for its feminism, eloquence and self-realization; '6.30 pm' (Lukarn), which takes a delicate look at our emotions, falling between romantic comedy and drama in a short format; and 'The Rope' (Wild Bunch TV) for its suspense and fantasy. It is a real pleasure for us to support these French creations that cover so many genres and display such talent.”

The Big Five

During the first day, five diverse fictions from French audiovisual distribution companies were highlighted. The first was the miniseries "Algiers Confidential" (4x45')  distributed by About Premium Content. "We picked up the series because it is the perfect mix between the action spy thriller and a personal drama, and it also deals with universal themes such as love and loyalty, and it's also very modern.", said Julie Pillet from About Premium Content. "When we jumped in it, relevant broadcasters as ARTE and France TV were already involved, so it was important for us as well as the international cast, the director and the authors; it's an incredible story," she summarized.

Another super highlight was "Hashtag Boomer," with Balanga as a global distributor. The 8 x 26' series tells the story of 4 thirty-something Parisians, as one of them becomes a father for the 1st time. The series questions the relationship between parents and children at the dawn of the 5G. Two camps oppose each other: the digital natives and the boomers. New technologies have reversed the roles: parents are guided by their children in the new digital world.

From Federation Entertainment, Le Rendez-Vous's digital event featured "A French Case" (6x52'), a miniseries that back to October 16th, 1984, when Gregory, a 4-year-old boy, has gone missing. Hours later, he's found dead in the Vologne River, wrists and ankles tied, a woolly hat pulled down over his face. The murder takes place in a domestic context; a local family has been persecuted for years by a mysterious person they call “The Crow,” the author of numerous threatening letters and phone calls. "What was very surprising in this case is that it was a simple family, and this murder of the little boy was motivated by jealousy because this simple family had a little more than the others. It was a big case for French people and is still coming back all the time. There is a very international interest in this case", said Monica Levy, Head of International at Federation Entertainment.

On the second part of the day, two more super highlights were presented. One is "Saving Lisa," distributed by Film & Picture. This 6 x 52' miniseries describes the story of Rose Keller, a substitute primary-school teacher. On one assignment, she encounters Lisa, 8, and especially endearing pupil. But Rose soon realizes that Lisa is suffering abuse at home and that her life could even be in danger if no action is taken. Faced with the impotence of social services, she decides to kidnap the little girl. Now, with both the police and Lisa’s mother after her, Rose has no other choice but to seek refuge with her own adoptive mother. "This is a series about family bonds, and with characters very well described," said Marie-Laure Hébrand, from Film & Picture.

The last super highlight of the day was "Uncoupling" with StudioCanal as a global distributor. The 9 x 30' comedy-drama is based on a true story adapted from the movie "In the Move for Love". After 10 years as a couple, with two kids they adore, and a dog, Romane, and Philippe don’t love each other anymore. Well, actually… they’re not in love anymore. But they still love each other—a lot. Maybe too much to completely split up. So, they’ve come up with a novel concept: the “Separtment”; two separate apartments that connect through the children’s bedroom! They live in this unique setup, which has proven to be miraculous in many ways. “With all our original series, we are searching for great stories, strong stories, unique stories, but we also want to hear the voice of the author. In the ‘Uncoupling’ case, we felt the author's point of view on family, on who is to live in France today, and on rice children. It’s a very and unique story, stated Pauline Morineau from StudioCanal.

Audiovisual Export Awards

Hervé Michel, Vice-President of UniFrance, and Sarah Hemar, Deputy Managing Director of UniFrance in charge of Audiovisual and Digital, has just revealed the 2021 Audiovisual ExportAwards during Le Rendez-Vous Bi@rritz 2021. The winners are Cyber Group Studios for "Gigantosaurus" (Season 1) on the animation category; ARTE Distribution for "700 Sharks" in the documentary slate; and Newen Connect for "Candice Renoir" (Season 1) in the fiction section. 

“We are happy to recognize 3 companies which have demonstrated the talent and diversity of distributors in this country. These Export Awards allow us to highlight the remarkable work carried out by the distributors we support daily”, said Sarah Hemar and Hervé Michel

By Romina Rodríguez