At the Grand Auditorium of the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, all eyes were on the five final pitchers; one of which would walk away with €25,000 worth of development money, courtesy of Warner Bros. International Television Production.

According to moderator Ed Waller, 70 proposals from 30 countries were narrowed down to the final five below:

  1. ALL FOR ONE ONE FOR ALL Presented by Janane Mallat, CEO, Iproduction, Lebanon
  2. LOOKING FOR LOVE Presented by Stuart Coxe, Executive Producer, Antica Productions, Canada
  3. MILLION DOLLAR MYSTERY Presented by Adam Markowitz, President, Markowitz Media, USA
  4. PERSUASION Presented by Soreyrith Um, President, Summertime Entertainment, USA
  5. WHICH ONE OUT Simon Staffans, Format Developer, MediaCity Finland, Finland

For a pitch competition that positions itself as a “unique platform for pitching original ideas of never-before seen non-scripted entertainment,” the pitches witnessed by the near-capacity audience carried few surprises. There were some unique touchpoints though. Audience interaction weighed in strongly for Janane Mallat’s All for One One for all, as well as Simon Staffans’ Which One Out, with Lebanese producer Mallat taking it a step further by including home audiences’ votes (via tablet and mobile phone) that will inevitably affect the outcome of the contestants’ game.

Soreyrith Um, president of Summertime Entertainment in the US pitched an idea about finding out just “who is the master of persuasion,” based on the simple, yet universal concept that on life, we often ask people “to get people to do what you want.” The concept of ideas based on real-life seemed to go well with the jury.

The five-man jury consisted of:

  1. Lars Beckung, Programme Director, Kanal 5, Sweden
  2. Ana De Moraes, Director of Development, Twenty Twenty, UK
  3. Virginia Mouseler, CEO, The WIT, France
  4. Laurent Storch, Chairman, TF1 Production, France
  5. Geert Willems, CEO, Blazhoffski Belgium, Belgium

Most pitches gave standard presentations; a speech, followed by a trailer, and the inevitable fielding-of-questions from the jury. One pitcher stood out though. He was the only one who engaged the in-house audience directly.

Executive Producer Stuart Coxe of Canada’s Antica Productions started his presentation by asking for the house lights to be turned up and polling the audience on how many have recently been to an online dating service. The audience, whom one suspects was not comfortable being in the spot light, gave lacklustre responses, much to the dismay of Coxe. Still, the quick-witted Coxe proceeded to quote statistics that support the notion that online dating sites have become largely popular in many nations. The demonstration of the formats’ ability to “travel” is a surefire way to get the jury’s attention wouldn’t you think?