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The 61st Monte-Carlo TV Festival promises lots of stars, premieres and new awards
 23 May 2022
The Monte-Carlo TV Festival will celebrate its 61st edition in Monaco between June 17 and 21. Laurent Puons, CEO of the Monte-Carlo Television Festival and CEO of Monaco Mediax, tells Yako Molhov that he is looking forward to a rich and promising Festival that will welcome big international TV stars, celebrate the world premiere of much-anticipated new series and also once again single out the best in the industry with the Golden Nymph Awards.

Laurent, the 60th edition of the Monte-Carlo TV Festival was postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to the COVID outbreak, with many markets and industry events being cancelled in the past couple of years. What were the main challenges that you managed to overcome last year when the Festival celebrated its milestone 60th anniversary?

Last year many Festivals and Markets had to be cancelled or were turned into virtual events so we were very pleased to be able to hold an in-person Festival in Monte-Carlo. Because of global restrictions we couldn’t include anyone traveling from the US. However, we were able to present Darren Star with the Honorary Golden Nymph, as he was filming Emily in Paris in France. Many talents in France and Europe were also able to join us too so it was a highly successful edition although a rather more European Festival than usual. In addition, even if the necessary COVID protocols in Monaco were very strict we managed to organize numerous public events for the fans who were able to meet their favorite actors through meet ups, signing sessions, screenings etc.

This year, we are delighted to welcome talent from all parts of the world, including the US to celebrate with us and with the fans, a very promising edition.

The 61st edition of the Monte-Carlo Television Festival will take place June 17-21 this year. How many delegates and talents do you expect to attend this year and can you name some of the biggest celebrities expected to walk the red carpet?

We are expecting a wide range of talent, leading creatives and high-level executives across all aspects of the content business to join us in Monaco this year.

The Festival will open with the world premiere screening of the first two episodes of the five-part thriller Last Light, produced by MGM International TV Productions, in association with Peacock, Viaplay, MBC Group, Stan and internationally distributed by MGM. Based on the highly successful novel by Alex Scarrow, Last Light is directed by Dennie Gordon (Jack Ryan) and stars Matthew Fox (Lost), Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey) and Tom Wlaschiha (Game of Thrones) Alyth Ross (Traces) and Taylor Fay (Judge Rinder) all of whom will walk the Red Carpet on the opening night of the Festival.

We are delighted to have invited previous Jury Presidents from the past ten years to join us in 2022 these include actors Eric Close (Without A Trace; Nashville), Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon), Ron Perlman (Don’t Look Up; Hellboy), Jason Priestley (Beverly Hills 90210; Call Me Fitz), Jane Seymour (Harry Wild; Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman), Ricky Whittle (American Gods; Hollyoaks) and Emmy Award-winning producer and screenwriter Michael Hirst (The Tudors; Vikings).

We have many more well-known and much-loved talent joining us who will highlight their program in competition and others who will attend the Festival to meet with fans and press to present their latest work. To name a few, we have a lot of talent from the Dick Wolf international hit series: Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, Law & Order: Revival and FBI: Most Wanted.

In addition, two American soap operas will also be in attendance. The Young and the Restless will meet their fans and The Bold and the Beautiful will celebrate their 35th anniversary at the Festival.

The Festival is known for holding many international premieres during its run. What are this year's new TV productions that will make their debut?

For the first time, the Official Selection Series in the Fiction Category includes three world premieres with A Private Affair (Un Asunto Privado) (Bambú Producciones from Spain), in the presence of the production team and actors Jean Reno, Angela Molina and Aura Garrido; Martha Liebermann (Ziegler Film GmbH & Co. KG from Germany) in the presence of the producers and actress Carola Thekla Wied; and Vincenzo Malinconico, Avvocato d'Insuccesso (Viola Film, Rai Fiction from Italy) in the presence of the cast.

There will also be one international premiere with Romance of Ida (Film Positive Productions from Hungary) in the presence of production team and actress Júlia Virginia Mentes; and one European premiere with The Terminal List (Amazon Studios, Civic Center Media, MRC Television from USA), notably in the presence of Taylor Kitsch.

Made in Oslo (Tordenfilm, Viaplay, Nordic Entertainment Group from Norway) in the presence of the production team and actress Pia Tjelta; The Offer (Paramount Television Studios from USA), The Tourist (Two Brothers Pictures, United Kingdom) and Trom (REinvent Studios and co-produced by KYK, Pictures, Truenorth, ZDF/Arte– Faroe Islands), in the presence of the production team and actors Maria Rich, Ulrich Thomsen, Olaf Johannessen, will be screened for the first time in France.

During the Festival, other screenings out of competition will also include two other worldwide premieres. We will screen the documentary Souffles De Vie, an eye-opening film which highlights the human impact on a marine environment as fragile as the Mediterranean, with particular focus on cetaceans.

In addition, StudioCanal will present the first two episodes of a series based on Marc Levy's bestseller, All Those Things We Never Said, in the presence of the author, the production team and the cast including Jean Reno and Alexandra Maria Lara.

All these programs will be presented throughout the event via free to enter public screenings at the Grimaldi Forum.

At the heart of the Festival is the Golden Nymph Awards Competition. What are the categories and nominees from how many territories are taking part this year?

The 2022 Official Selection of the Golden Nymph Awards Competition, recognizes the very best in international television production and this year we have selected 21 programs from 12 countries, across the Fiction Category, the Documentary & News Category and the Prince Rainier III Special Prize. The winners will be announced at the Closing Ceremony on Tuesday, June 21.

As you say, we really want to continue to put competition and the nominees at the heart of the Festival. Indeed, we have undertaken drastic changes in the competition format for the Fiction category 2 years ago and this year we operated the same modifications in the News and Documentaries Category. The Official Selection has now less programs nominated but more qualitative. In addition, as we have decided to screen all fiction programs during the Festival, there is a growing interest of the nominees. I am very impressed by the number of nominees and cast that will attend the Festival this year.

You announced the creation of a new prize for this year's edition: the International Golden Nymph for Most Promising Talent. How was the award conceived and who will be its first laureate?

We wanted to make sure that young talent was given the credit on the global stage that it deserves and that is why we have created a brand new award to recognize the brilliant and exceptional rising talent of an actor who has elevated the bar of excellence to international acclaim.

We are delighted that the very first recipient of this award - the International Golden Nymph for Most Promising Talent will be presented to French actor Théo Christine (War of the Worlds, SKAM, Suprêmes) at the Opening Ceremony of the Festival on June 17.

The 61st Monte-Carlo Television Festival will see another new award: Prix du Public. Tell us a little bit more about this initiative, fans will have the opportunity to participate in the Festival how will this work?

We are really excited to have a brand-new initiative for the 61st Edition– the creation of the Prix du Public in partnership with BetaSeries. This innovative inaugural award gives fans the opportunity to participate in a festival as real jurors and reward a program in competition within the Official Selection of the Golden Nymph Awards.

A European panel of 11 series fans, selected carefully from the BetaSeries community, will watch all programs nominated in the Fiction category through a secure platform. They will rate the different programs to choose and reward their favorite. The “Prix du Public” BetaSeries will be presented during the Golden Nymph Awards Ceremony.

The Monte-Carlo TV Festival is also putting the spotlight on the production industry with its business-focused panels. What will be the topics covered and who will be the participants this year?

With development of the competition, more and more professionals are attending the Festival. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a professional component to discuss the future trends of the industry.

Therefore, we decided to put in place the “Business Content” strand, a strong line-up of business focused panels (18-20 June) taking place at the Grimaldi Forum, at the end of each day. Moderated by a number of highly-regarded journalists, each session will include legendary showrunners, international producers and executives, such as current and former jury members but also creatives who are attending the Festival in the framework of the competition.

Topics to be covered in the “Business Content” strand include Soap & Telenovelas: Building a Success Story Across Decades; Scripted Formats; the Unscripted Production Boom; International Co-Production; New Formats and Fan Engagement with OTT and The Shift Towards Sustainable Production.

On a personal note, what have been the most difficult and most rewarding moments of the Monte-Carlo TV Festival for you throughout the years?

You know, the Festival is an event that we are working all year long and each member of my team is very much involved in their work.

When I took the decision to cancel the 2020 edition because of the global pandemic, it was a very hard decision even though I knew it was the best one at the time. We came back in 2021 to celebrate our 60th anniversary one year later, in difficult conditions but we did it and it was a success. Today, for our 61st edition, the Festival has returned to the highest international level with many premieres in and out of competition. With a line-up that reflects the return of the entire industry, including the major American studios and platforms, the Monte-Carlo Television Festival once again confirms its prominent position in Europe.

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