An American version of the Jules Verne Adventure Film Festival, a fixture in Paris for 15 years, will make its debut Dec. 10-15 in Los Angeles.

The sponsors hope to make the U.S. celebration of the French science fiction writer an annual event at the Shrine Auditorium.

The festival, themed "from the abyss to the stars," is an extension of the Paris event based on, or in, the spirit of Verne's novels, like "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea" and "Around the World in 80 Days." Organizers, led by legendary U.S. astronaut Buzz Aldrin, presented their plans to Los Angeles recently.

Jean-Christophe Jeauffre, co-founder of the 15-year-old French festival, said that the decision to come to Los Angeles was driven in part by the city's status as the entertainment industry's home, but for other reasons as well.

"For more than two years we were going back and forth between selecting San Francisco and Los Angeles, but we realized San Francisco was not what we were expecting in terms of size and cultural background," Jeauffre said. "We were going to speak about conservation and San Francisco was already well-versed, plus we needed a bigger city."

The festival already has some sponsors lined up, among them Mum's Champagne, The Men's Wearhouse, Clear Channel and local CW affiliate KTLA.

Organizers said last week that they were hoping to pull in 100,000 L.A. attendees the first year an ambitious goal given the 41,000 that attend the annual show in Paris.

"It's a lot but I really think we can do it over the five days," Jeauffre said.

The festival budget is $1 million for the first year, and an estimated 80 percent to 90 percent of that will come from sponsors.

"We think that it'll stabilize in years two, three, four and five to $2 million and stay there," Jeauffre said, noting that the income will be largely from sponsorship for the inaugural event, though ticket sales could increasingly be a factor if the festival succeeds in Los Angeles. At the annual festival in Paris, ticket sales represent one-third of the income.

TV Convergence

The convergence of mainstream broadcast and cable and the emerging Internet sector is a hot topic in television.

When the thousands of executives and TV hopefuls are drawn by the weeklong National Association of Television Program Executives convention, it could turn out to be a hot party, too.

The Los Angeles Television Festival and the Independent Television Festival will co-host a gala on July 24 at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood that will kick off the big week.

LATV Festival will run from July 25-27 at several locations including the House of Blues West Hollywood, the Comedy Store, Pacific Design Center and at the Hollywood and Highlands complex.

The ITV Fest, which targets nascent TV writers and producers, will be held July 27-29 at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood.

The leadership of the two events met in April and worked out a schedule that should benefit both.

"With NATPE's LATV Festival running back-to-back with ITV Fest, this opening night party is an excellent networking opportunity for participants in both events," said NATPE chief executive Rick Feldman. "These are very exciting times for the new and emerging generations of independent content producers who can come together for a night of valuable interaction and fun."

The LATV Festival is an extension of NATPE's annual TV Producers' Boot Camp. The event offers workshops, screenings, clinics and demos showcasing the work of Los Angeles' multi-platform production community.

This summer's ITV Fest, in its second year, features original pilot screenings, as well as daily interactive panels covering topics including the convergence of mainstream and Internet-based entertainment, as well as the ins and out of the process from pitch to production. Comcast Corp. is awarding $100,000 for the overall festival winner and $10,000 for each category winner.

Going Hollywood

Global financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald LP hopes to raise its entertainment industry profile through the creation of Cantor Entertainment. The L.A. based operation will offer information, marketing, advisory and financial services for the entertainment industry. Andrew Wing will serve as the unit's president and chief executive officer.

Currently, Cantor's primary entertainment initiative is the proprietary technology it developed to drive the Hollywood Stock Exchange, a virtual market and predictive service for the entertainment industry.

"We will bridge the worlds of media and finance, offering value-added resources and services to participants in the entertainment sector," said Howard Lutnick, chairman and chief executive officer of Cantor Fitzgerald in a release last week.

The company franchise now includes institutional equity and fixed income sales and trading, investment banking, private equity, and asset management, as well as Cantor LifeMarkets, Cantor Gaming, Cantor Index and other businesses and ventures.

Big Cheese

A 25-foot-tall wedge of cheese may sound like an unusual marketing ploy, but it could be an effective one.

Marketing outfit the Becker Group Inc.'s latest creation a 25-foot inflatable wedge of cheese that doubles as a fun slide was designed to bring attention to the upcoming animated comedy from Pixar and Disney, "Ratatouille." The attraction is on what's been dubbed "The Big Cheese Tour," and will appear at 10 outdoor festivals and taste fests across the country. The film opens June 29.

Becker has worked with the Walt Disney Co. on comparable projects before, including a road trip campaign for "Cars" and a simulated snow bubble attraction for "Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."

Staff reporter Anne Riley-Katz can be reached at or at (323) 549-5225 ext. 225.

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