At the Cannes Film Festival, the speed dating of publishers

On May 19, 2023, at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, publishers and film producers meet as part of Shoot The Book!.

The birthday cake went without saying: a millefeuille. This year, at the Cannes Film Festival, whose 76e edition ends on May 27, Shoot the Book! celebrated its 10th anniversary; an age of reason for this event which combines literature and cinema and allows publishers and producers to meet with a view to adapting works for the screen.

Of course, this marriage has existed since the birth of the seventh art, when filmmakers happily dipped into libraries to quickly find stories to tell – Alexandre Dumas, Jules Verne, Edgar Allan Poe…

Television got into it, then the theater and, more and more, video games – on May 31, for example, a game adapted from the novel by Vernon Sullivan, pseudonym of Boris Vian, will be released. And we’ll kill all the ugly ones (1948), published by Fayard (To Hell With the Ugly, co-produced by Arte France and La Poule Noire).

The trend is towards docu-fiction

In Cannes, publishers and producers meet, discuss literary novelties and cinema projects. Collected over two days, on May 18 and 19, Operation Shoot the Book! allows them to better understand trends. And take advantage of the presence of strangers. The rule for adaptation is always the same: producers take an option – renewable once – on a book, for twelve or eighteen months, then buy the rights if the project takes shape, for an amount between 40,000 € and €400,000.

“We are here to facilitate encounters, points out Nathalie Piaskowski, director general of the Civil Society of French-language publishers, which brings together more than three hundred publishers and including Shoot the Book! is an emanation. If the large publishing houses have integrated sales departments, it is more complicated for small structures. For a long time, film producers themselves were looking for books (to adapt). Today, it is the publishers who go to them. »

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Shoot The Book! has always taken place in Cannes, but it will be necessary to wait until 2019 for the event to join the official program of the Marché du film. It was Paul Otchakovsky-Laurens, then head of POL editions, who worked to ensure that the Festival created, within its Film Market, a space dedicated to “adaptation rights”. This was unfortunately done a year after the death of the publisher. This formalization gave a boost to the demonstration. Today, Shoot the Book! exists in Angoulême (BD), Lyon (Quais du thriller) and Montreuil (children’s literature). But also in Los Angeles and Bombay.

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