Cannes: UCLA to Launch Storytelling Institute With CanalPlus, Film Festival

The six-week program will be in partnership with Cannes’ new university and host master classes from directors.

UCLA will partner with the University of Cote d’Azur (UCA) to launch a writers’ lab next year in partnership with the Cannes Film Festival, Vivendi and CanalPlus.

The six-week Storytelling Institute will begin next April, with the final two weeks overlapping with the fest. The timing is designed to lure directors with films in competition to give master classes.

The program is the latest initiative of Cannes Mayor David Lisnard’s ambitious plans, as he launches both the Cannes Series TV festival next year and the massive university, tech incubator and film production campus in 2019.

“It’s an ecosystem to develop Cannes for the future and cement it as the center of creative culture in France,” said Lisnard. “It’s a vocation to strengthen the city and at the same time connect with the world.”

The new facility is designed to be an economic driver in the city that is not only home to the famous film festival, but also TV confabs MIPTV and MIPCOM and the music conference MIDEM as well as the new series festival.

Vivendi and CanalPlus have signed on as partners with first-look rights to the completed screenplays, and Vivendi will finance the program.

“I believe we have all the ingredients to make a perfect creative sauce,” said Lisnard about the support of France’s biggest brands.

“The partnership is something so meaningful for the festival,” said film festival president Pierre Lescure. “It was kind of evident that we wanted to be part of it. I think that the ambition of the mayor and the university is smart, modern and it’s a kind of absolute necessity. Script is the basis of everything in the movie industry. It was a kind of evident for the festival to be partnered with this.”

“The storytelling institute aligns with our mission to nurture and develop a new generation of great diverse storytellers, film artists and screenwriters that will make a difference with their works,” said UCLA school of theater, film and television dean Teri Schwartz. “It will build a dynamic pipeline of access and opportunities into which new talent will can flow be discovered and successfully flourish for the long term.”

Ten students will be accepted to the first course, and be required to complete a screenplay during their time.

Other programs are expected to follow in series writing and team writing.

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