Children’s books and graphic novels lead the Venice book rights market

As the seventh edition draws to a close, Venice’s Book Adaptation Rights Market (BARM) has set its sights on the future. The three-day event – which takes place during the Italian festival – is now considered by publishers to be the third most important annual gathering, said Pascal Diot, head of Venice Production Bridge, an industry sidebar.

“It’s starting to become a ”’ event for publishers,” agrees VPB’s Chiara Marin.

“Before, I would go to all these book fairs, and when I mentioned the Venice Film Festival, people would say: ‘What are you doing here?'” she said with a laugh.

As demand for adapted stories increased, more publishers and literary agencies were invited this year, including Taipei’s Dara Press, Emily Books Agency and The Grayhawk Agency. Due to popular demand, the event has also decided to focus on comics and graphic novels, with the participation of Casterman, Glénat, Nathan, Tunué, Astiberri Ediciones, Dala Publishing or Frémok.

“Last year, when we asked people what they were looking for, they kept saying: ‘Children’s books and graphic novels.’ That trend is still going strong,” Marin said. “Games and Laughter,” referring to Pera Toons’ Tunué, is currently hitting Italian bestseller lists.

“Next year, we’ll give it more room. We’ve noticed that people are really asking that question. Not just ‘classic’ movies, but immersive content.”

“Villanueva” by Javi de Castro – described as “The Wicker Man” meets “Midsommar” – “The Last Queen” by Jean-Marc Rochette, also “Snowpiercer”, “The Biohardcore Civility Manual” and “Handjob Queen” The driving force behind, about sex workers in Taiwan, is one of the titles awarded this year.

“Irena,” dedicated to Irena Sendlerowa, one of the forgotten heroes of World War II, “Winds of Liberty,” set in medieval Sicily, and Sabrina Gabrielli’s “Invisible Colors,” focusing on a man who begins to “see the world” Girls Tan” also stands out.

While historical fiction is going through a dry period (“these adaptations tend to cost a lot, which reduces interest,” Marin said), the campaign’s priority is to provide “a little bit of everything” to its recognized participants. That’s why publishers don’t just bring a title to Venice — they bring their entire catalog.

“We wanted to offer more scope, so we also invited smaller publishers, such as those that specialize in genres,” Diot said.

Currently, BARM is not expected to grow exponentially. But its team is ready to try new things.

“At first, publishers didn’t know how to talk to producers, and producers got bored. But years later [of organizing the event], we start to see the first results. Publishers are starting to understand what producers are looking for,” Marin added.

“Right now, we’re introducing speed-dating meetings between publishers and immersive producers. It’s not the most popular initiative, but it’s piqued some people’s interest,” she says Diot is already thinking about the next edition .

“Maybe the focus is on fantasy or children’s literature? [The latter] It’s definitely becoming more and more important, especially when it comes to teens. The books are easy to adapt. I think it’s because they’ve been written in a way that already mirrors the way the show is narrated. They are ready to be photographed, giving readers more visuals. “

Like Netflix’s hit trilogy “The Kissing Booth,” Marin believes it’s based on Beth Reekles’ story she self-published online. That being said, BARM is not yet open to self-published authors.

“These hits are few and far between. If you want quality, you still need to go to an established publisher. We have to be careful with what we offer because we want the producers to be happy.”

There are some success stories to prove this.

Editorial Planeta sells thriller ‘The Camp’, about young influencers trapped in remote areas, for an adaptation of the platform series produced for Good Chaos in the UK. Feltrinelli sold Alex Schwazer’s “After the Finish Line” to Indigo Film and Lungta Film. Grandi & Associati awarded Mario Desiati’s “Spatriati” film and TV rights options to DUDE, while Malatesta Literary Agency sold “Ballad of Mila” to Minerva and Giuseppe Catozzella’s “Italiana” to The Apartment.

Finally, given the focus of the year, Tunué sold the rights to the manga series The Seven Sins to Lotus Productions. Written by Katja Centomo, Emanuele Sciarretta, Daniele Caluri and Marco Caselli, each volume focuses on a specific crime.

“It’s a good idea – Pascal’s, of course – to capture the Venice co-production market at the same time. That way, the producers are already here,” Marin concluded.

“You could say it’s always a lot easier to pick a project that’s already in development. But when you start from scratch, from a book, it means you really believe in the story.”

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