REPRESENTING the Creative Content Association of Malaysia (CCAM), Market Development Executive Rahmat Adam finished second at the Marché du Film‘s inaugural Cinando Awards Best Seller Competition on Wednesday.
The Cannes film market’s first ever pitch competition was held the day prior, giving shortlisted sales agents an opportunity to pitch director Pan Nalin‘s “Codename Madeleine” in front of an international jury. All sixteen individuals selected to participate received the same pitch book and it was up to them to decide how they sold the project — a period piece set in France and London during World War II, revolving around a single individual’s journey — to prospective buyers.
Speaking on the phone from London, Rahmat reminisced about his moment of glory.
“There was a camera rolling and a lot of people buzzing behind the scenes, not to mention a Variety reporter,” he recalls. “It was very professionally put together, but it was also very, very nervewracking because the judges are highly reputable figures.”
Comprising Norio Hatano from Longride (Japan), Ira von Gienanth from Prokino (Germany), Raphael Berdugo of Cite Films (France), and Dylan Leiner of Sony Pictures Classic, the jury panel acted as imaginary buyers during the pitch.
Media juggernaut Variety deemed the competition “Cannes Got Talent”; each participant had only five minutes in front of the jury, and their success depended on how attractive their pitch was given their challenging product.
“Basically you’re selling a real-life project to imaginary buyers. You get two days to prepare, then you go in, pitch for five minutes, they say thank you, and you get out.”
Rahmat, who also manned the Malaysian pavilion at last year’s Marché du Film, was invited by organisers to participate in the new competition. He entered on his own volition, and only the Malaysian delegates at Cannes had any knowledge of his participation.
Pit against representatives from world-renowned production entities such as Lionsgate and Shoreline, Rahmat didn’t expect to leave with anything, let alone the Second Prize. But as a result of his performance, he walked away with credits from Cinando — the festival’s premier network and database — as well as a chance to hit the prestigious red carpet.
An integral component of industry-led association CCAM, Rahmat has had strong experience promoting and exporting local content and creative services to overseas markets and international broadcasters.
“It was a really memorable experience,” spoke Rahmat. “Apart from honing my skills, I’m glad it showed that even an underdog from Malaysia can reach for the skies.”
“They announced the results at the Marché du Film’s Festivals & Sales Agents Mixer, held at the Plage des Palmes. Having a Malaysian win in that sort of setting was refreshing; if I can contribute even the smallest thing to the local film industry through this win, I will be extremely delighted.”
Hosted by the Cannes film market and its subsidiary Cinando, the competition’s First Prize was won by a tie between Chantal Chateauneuf of Mongrel International (Canada) and Georgia Poivre of Films Distribution (France), while Doc & Film International (France) representative Emmanuel Pisarra received an honourable mention.