Organized by Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole, this major Cultural and Creative Industries event was scheduled to be held live in early November. Due to COVID-19, this 3rd edition had to be redesigned to present content in an original format.
Montpellier Métropole, a stronghold for CCI companiesThe Montpellier Métropole area has a reputation as a stronghold for CCI companies. The creative and cultural industry represents over 2,000 local jobs. The area’s long-standing foundation in the video game world with Ubisoft is enhanced by the presence of all the other key pieces of the ecosystem, including France Television’s film studio in Vendargues and its prime-time series Un Si Grand Soleil (with nearly 4 million viewers daily), as well as audio-digital greats such as NETIA, and 3D animation experts including the Dwarf Animation studio. Enhancing this business activity, there is also a dense network of schools and training programs provided by two of France’s leaders in CCI education: ArtFX and ESMA (Higher schools of applied arts), both of which are recruitment targets for the world’s top studios.
A complete welcome systemThe Montpellier Métropole territory is therefore an ideal place for CCIs. Very early in the game, Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole chose to implement a complete system to welcome CCI companies, including assistance services and support to help them set up their operations. Montpellier Métropole also built its Creative City, another major asset for the community, as explained by Karim Khenissi.
“The Creative City enables Montpellier to be identified as a central reference for CCIs. It symbolizes metropolitan authorities’ desire to listen to the needs and expectations of professionals in the sector. It sends a clear message and distinguishes Montpellier from many other cities,” analyzes the president of the Icônes group, which recently opened the Creative Campus, where four of the group’s schools will be located, including Esma.
An attractive metropolitan areaThe overall local ecosystem is particularly attractive. It encourages many studios to set up their activities in the Montpellier area, such as the Paris company Fortiche, which opened its subsidiary Fortiche Animation in Montpellier. The Kitchen.tv recording studio, specialized in voice-overs, chose to set up in Lattes, just outside Montpellier.
And that’s just the start.
“The American group, which notably works for Netflix, chose to open its French branch in the Montpellier Métropole area,” highlights Benoît Illinger, Secretary General and developer at Coodio.
“CCis will continue to grow within the metropolitan area,” adds Gilbert Kiner, creator of ArtFX. He also points out another local benefit: “The university community’s involvement helps boost CCI dynamics.”
A particularly creative ecosystemCreativity abounds, such as with the animated film Josep – Cannes Film Festival Official Selection 2020 – produced by Les Films d’Ici Méditerranée, a production company located in Montpellier, with contribution by the Montpellier studio Les Fées Spéciales. Video games also play an important role.
MICC 2020 is a reflection of this creativity, and more. The only thing you need to do in November is check your screens!
“Five of the thirty or forty games presented at the 2020 Jeux Made in France event were created in the greater Montpellier area. That is a significant achievement,” adds François Cubaynes, managing director of PushStart, a professional association for video games in the Occitanie region, which co-organized the event for the first time this year.
Prestigious juries for students’ final projects at ArtFX and EsmaEvery year, representatives from the world’s top studios gather in Montpellier to participate in the final project juries at ArtFX and Esma. Both schools are highly regarded for their programs, as demonstrated by the fact that they were recognized by the international Rookie Awards 2020 competition: ArtFX was ranked #1 worldwide for its special effects, Esma was ranked #1 worldwide for its 3D animation.
That quality explains why the schools are so sought after by major studios, including Weta Digital, ILM, Double Negative, and The Mill. While participating in juries for students’ final projects, they also scout for talent to join their teams. This has led young Montpellier graduates to work on cinema superproductions such as Avatar, The Hobbit, Star Wars, and Harry Potter.
Despite the COVID-19 situation, they still wanted to participate, often remotely, whereas most of the French studios were able to make the trip to Montpellier. They didn't regret their decision. For the first time in the school’s history, “two Jury Favorite awards and two Honorable Mentions were awarded,” says ArtFX following its final project jury held on September 10-11, 2020. The Jury Favorites went to “Haru” and “Moon Keeper”, with the Honorable Mentions going to “Forgot Your Password” and “Time’s Down”. The recognition was a nice reward for ArtFX, which celebrated its 15th anniversary this year.
A few days earlier, on September 3, Esma held its 3D jury, the high point of four years of studies for its students in 3D animated cinema and special effects. Four of the nineteen films presented received awards: “Je suis un Caillou”, “La Source des Montagnes”, “Stranded”, and “Le Roi Tulipe” – which also received the Jury Favorite award.