Beyond the glamour of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, through the crowd of hopeful film lovers dressed to the nine, clenching a cardboard ticket plea and the hope they’ll get to see a premiere, you will find a very non-red carpet area buzzing with excitement. That is the Marché du Film, a market that gathers 12,000 international film professionals including producers, sales agents, buyers and festival organisers eager to participate in a marathon of networking events and debates about the state of the industry, hoping to find each other and make things happen together.
FilmChain was honoured to participate in this marathon as one of Cannes 2019 NEXT start-ups to watch. After seven days on the French Riviera, six panels where FilmChain co-founders were guest speakers at and countless great conversations, we’re drawing the line, summing up what we’ve learned and responding to some of the most common concerns we heard in Cannes.
Cannes is embracing innovation
FilmChain co-founders Maria Tanjala and Irina Albita took the stage in panels organised by Telefilm Canada, Producers Guild of America, UK Film Centre and Cannes NEXT, among others, to talk about tech-enabling filmmakers to collect, allocate and analyse film revenues and creating a level playing field for tech giants and independent producers alike. We had the great opportunity to share the stage with other companies that are using disruptive technologies to democratise the film industry.
Being in the spotlight with a new tech venture at the most established film festival in the world made us giddy with excitement and very hopeful about the future. We no longer have to carve a place for innovation in the film industry, everybody is all ears and it’s up to us to deliver. We’re ready for it.
2. Knowing the audience
Our conversations with film producers reinforced our belief in our product. The pains of the industry are by and large the same everywhere: the administrative burden of enabling the money flow from point of sales to stakeholders’ pockets, the delay in payments, the opacity of the system. We listened to the stories and we shared ours too — after all, one of FilmChain co-founders, Maria, has a decade of experience as a producer in the UK.
At peak honesty, producers told us they simply want their money faster and they care little about how that is achieved. We hear that and it’s safe to say that’s a common goal for people across industries. That’s why we created a user-friendly, automated platform that manages the money flow for you and allows everyone to visualise the process. You don’t need to be a blockchain expert to use FilmChain.
3. The Blockchain mystique
For those who are curious to know more about the technology FilmChain is built on, there always seems to be an air of mystique surrounding Blockchain, despite it being around for more than a decade and providing infrastructure for countless successful applications across fields.
We get the mystique and we think it’s three-folded.
First of all — seeing is believing. It’s really hard to imagine blocks filled with information and transactions chained together. But can you really picture the iOS technology that Apple uses? Or cloud computing? We think understanding the intelligence behind the products we use is very important for our privacy and safety online and we’re very happy there is an open discussion about the technology behind our products, but ever since the Internet was invented, physicality is no longer a requirement for adoption.
Secondly, Blockchain continues to be associated with cryptocurrency. FilmChain has stepped into chartered territory when it created the platform using dollars, euros and pounds. Whilst Bitcoin was built on blockchain, the tech and cryptocurrencies have had very different routes. Ever since 2009, Blockchain technology was received with glowing reviews and early adopters quickly found ways to use it independently of cryptocurrency.
Last but not least, there are concerns regarding a completely automated system that is left at work with no human supervision. Whilst we vouch for Blockchain as one of the most secure technologies out there and we believe that its peer-to-peer system and absence of a central, all-data controlling server is the key to the future, we know one thing: technology can be smarter than the smartest of humans, but also dumber than a 3-year old. For all those nuanced problems and concerns and for empathy’s sake, FilmChain believes in the human-in-the-loop and provides that for the management of accounts.
FilmChain wrapped up at Cannes Film Festival and while we barely got to see stories on screen, we shared some great stories with the movers and shakers in the film industry at the Marché du Film that will hopefully mark the beginning of some beautiful friendships. Here are just two of the fantastic panels co-founders Maria & Irina have been on: