Looking back on 25 years of Le Rendez-Vous

Le Rendez-Vous opened its doors for the first time in September 1995, and this year we are celebrating its 25th birthday! We pored over years of photos and archive materials to retrace the market’s history. We uncovered the secrets of an event that has consistently attracted industry professionals from across the globe and never stopped evolving.

Creating Le Rendez-Vous was TV France International’s first large-scale project. Bernard Majani, then on the Board of Directors, was placed in charge of organising “France Screening”, in order to replace what was then called “Paris screenings”. Hervé Michel, one of TV France International’s founders, says Le Rendez-Vous seemed an obvious choice as the market’s name. As well as having an international flavour, it also conveyed the romance of an event where, each year, proud distributors could meet buyers with a passion for French content.

Starting with the simple desire to “spotlight the French content industry”, the event’s creators never imagined it would be such a success or run for so long. In 1995, Le Rendez-Vous targeted only European buyers, but as it took off, invitations were extended to Middle Eastern buyers in 1996, French-speaking Canadian channels in 1997, and then buyers from the entire world in 1998. The first two Rendez-Vous took place on a cruise ship, but the market soon moved to dry land – first to Saint-Tropez, and then to Biarritz in 2007. Every year for the last 25 years, Le Rendez-Vous has brought together more than 250 buyers from over 50 different countries. And, during that time, Le Rendez-Vous has also done some travelling itself, setting up events in Tokyo, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, Dubai, Beijing and Mumbai.

The TV France International team at Le Rendez-Vous’ 20th birthday party. Centre: Xavier Gouyou-Beauchamps, President 2009-2015; right: Mathieu Béjot. Le Rendez-Vous 2014, Biarritz.

Mathieu Béjot celebrates 10 years of Le Rendez-Vous. Le Rendez-Vous 2004, Saint-Tropez.

As the first market of the season, Le Rendez-Vous offers buyers the chance to be the first to discover new content, and gives attendees an ideal setting in which to strengthen relationships and work together. The three days of Le Rendez-Vous are filled with conferences, meeting and screenings. The French Ministers for Culture and for Foreign Affairs along with the Head of the National Centre for Cinema and the Moving Image (CNC) and other establishment leaders in the sector have often flown in to encourage the promotion of French content to an international audience.

Le Rendez-Vous is not your average business meeting. Flying the flag for French hospitality, Le Rendez-Vous is also famous for being, quite simply, great fun. Attendees enjoy boules tournaments in Saint-Tropez and jogs along the beach in Biarritz, and in the evenings, themed parties with mouth-watering dishes. Participants do not just leave with contracts signed, they also go away with some wonderful memories.

On 9 September, at the 25th edition of Le Rendez-Vous, international buyers and French distributors – some of whom have been attending the market for over 20 years now – will come together once more to celebrate the charms of French content – its strength and its innovation. French content will shine in sunny Biarritz.

Save the date! You have a Rendez-Vous with French content.

#25YearsOfExport

Catherine Charmet, long-time organiser and champion of Le Rendez-Vous. Le Rendez-Vous 2018, Biarritz.