This editorial was written for NYWIFT and originally posted on November 21, 2022. Thank you NYWIFT!
Preparing to attend MIPCOM Cannes this year was really quite something (and not because I’d be back in Cannes). If you work in global television, this is really the crème de la crème of events and it was the first fully in-person MIPCOM market since 2019. Trade media was abuzz with news, pre-market announcements of sales slates and onsite deal closings.
MIPCOM (Marché International des Programmes de Communication) boasted an impressive 10,896 attendees, with the Palais des Festivals packed with exhibitors and the seaside prominently featuring the might of the studios. Everyone was riding high on being back in person and, of course, to talk everything television. And what an amazing time to be in TV. With non-English language content finally getting its due in the U.S. (better late than never), there has been some serious competition from countries like South Korea, Germany, India, Spain, Brazil, France, and Japan, among others.
With all this rich global content freshly available (thank you, streamers), it was great to see a MIPCOM conference program showcase this diversity which included a few personal highlights: Planet Sex, a panel featuring Cara Delevingne discussing her new series that explores gender and sexuality across cultures; and the 10th annual Women in Global Entertainment Power Lunch featuring actress and activist Alyssa Milano as this year’s keynote speaker.
Another major highlight for me was attending the sixth edition of MIPCOM’s Diversify TV Awards, hosted by British TV presenter and diversity advocate Femi Oke. The projects nominated are excellent shows and very deserving to be recognized on one of the most prestigious stages in the world. Categories included Representation of Race & Ethnicity, LGBTQIA+, Disability, Diversity in Kids Programing, and two new categories unveiled this year: Premio MIP Cancun (honoring programs originating in and for Latin America, the Caribbean, and/or U.S. Hispanic) and Behind the Scenes Impact Award (honoring a person or team whose influence, actions, and/or vision behind the scenes supports and champions diversity & inclusion).
Nominations were announced in September and I was delighted to find I had already seen three of the projects included: Sort of premiered last year on HBO Max and is a funny and poignant series that follows gender-fluid protagonist Sabi Mehboob (Bilal Baig); L.A.: A Queer History aired this past summer on PBS, an excellent docuseries depicting the start of the Gay Rights movement in Los Angeles; and Audrey’s Back, a series I had a chance to see because—full disclosure—I consult for the show’s Quebec-based production company, Pixcom, and was there to support them. The series follows Audrey (Florence Longpré) who wakes up after a 16-year coma to a radically different world she must re-learn. It’s full of humor and heart and will be available in the US soon.
Aside from these three, there were so many nominated shows that I can’t wait to watch. And I hope you do too. These stories deserve to be told, to be promoted, to be seen, and to push more diverse stories out in the world. It’s encouraging to see a market like MIPCOM give a tremendous international platform to content that doesn’t always get the recognition and marketing push that they should (and to the production companies and distributors that champion these projects, bring them to Cannes, and make a big splash—kudos to you and please do more like this, thanks). Especially as some countries push back on LGBTQ+ content, it’s important to double down since it clearly makes an impact and people get to see themselves represented onscreen.
This MIPCOM was full of hope, full of excitement for content and content creators alike. This is a trend I hope continues despite the consolidation and industry disruption, but that’s for a different post. Till then, see you at the next one.