Winners Unveiled for French Audiovisual Export Awards


The winners of the 2021 Audiovisual Export Awards of UniFrance, created 17 years ago by TV France International, were announced during Le Rendez-Vous Bi@rritz 2021.

The annual awards shine a spotlight on French distribution companies in animation, documentary and fiction.

The animation Export Award went to Cyber Group Studios for season one of Gigantosaurus. Produced by Cyber Group Studios and Olivier Lelardoux, the series was original broadcast on France 5. The others 2021 nominees in the animation category were PGS Entertainment for ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks season three and Mediatoon Distribution for the first season of Bobby and Bill.

Pierre Sissmann, chairman and CEO of Cyber Group Studios, said: “I want to thank the TV division of UniFrance for awarding us the Audiovisual Export Award 2021 for our series Gigantosaurus. I also want to thank all our artists around the world and in our French studios who have worked to produce the series, which is now being enjoyed by millions of children all around the world. And I want to thank all our broadcasting partners as well who have believed in us. And of course, I want to thank Jonny Duddle, the original creator of the series. With Gigantosaurus, kids can enjoy adventures in the cretaceous period and sympathize with our heroes. And of course, with Gigantosaurus, who is, believe me, not a bad guy.”

ARTE Distribution won the documentary Export Award for 700 Sharks, produced by ARTE France, Le Cinquième Rêve, Andromède Océanologie and Les Gens bien Productions. Directed by Luc Marescot, it was originally broadcast on ARTE. The other nominees for the documentary award were Lucky You for Higher and Higher and ZED for The Secret Versailles of Marie Antoinette.

Florence Sala, head of ARTE Distribution and marketing at ARTE France Development, said:
“It’s a great honor to receive this prize on the behalf of ARTE Distribution. I would like to thank the TV Division of UniFrance for organizing every year such a great award and the voters to have chosen this very special movie. Because 700 Sharks is very important for us. Its international distribution starts with the success story of an alchemy between a producer, Nicolas Zunino at Cinquième Rêve; a commissioner, Helène Coldefy at ARTE; and a distributor, Celine Payot Lemann, leading ARTE Distribution at the time. And at the end, the magic happens. Thanks to the broadcasters all around the world. It’s because of them that every year we make hundreds of programs travel the planet. 700 Sharks is an exceptional and ambitious film, made by an amazing team; Luc Maresco, the director; and the world-famous Laurent Ballesta team of divers.”

Newen Connect was honored with the fiction Export Award for the first season of Candice Renoir. Produced by Boxeur 7, the series was originally broadcast on France 2. Christophe Douchand and Nicolas Picard-Dreyfuss direct the series starring Cécile Bois, Raphaël Lenglet and Gaya Verneuil. Gaumont Télévision for The Art of Crime and Mediawan for Mission season two were also nominated.

Nadia Chevallard, head of international sales of Newen Connect, said: “It’s a great honor for us at Newen Connect to be awarded this year with the French Export Drama Award for the procedural series Candice Renoir. It’s a very unique series for its longevity. It has been sold today in more than 80 territories, traveling along the world. So the adventure continues with Candice Renoir next year with a season ten. Big thanks to everyone.”

Hervé Michel, VP of UniFrance, and Sarah Hemar, deputy managing director of UniFrance in charge of Audiovisual and Digital, said: “This year again we are happy to recognize three companies which have demonstrated the talent and diversity of distributors in this country. These Export Awards give us the opportunity to highlight the remarkable work carried out by the distributors we support on a daily basis.”

They added: “Big up to all Cyber Group Studios’ teams who have sent the adorable little dinosaurs of Gigantosaurus all around the world, to the ARTE Distribution teams who took us under the water… With sharks thanks to images of a remarkable virtuosity of 700 Sharks, and congratulations to the Newen Connect teams for introducing Candice Renoir, this bubbly heroine, to global audiences.”