When I stood on stage as a finalist in MIPJUNIOR’s 2022 Project Pitch, presenting my dystopian animated YA series The Boy Who Cried miBOT (now miBOTS), I felt like a complete outsider; the underdog of underdogs. One year on, as I return to MIPCOM CANNES 2023, I can honestly say… I still feel like an underdog outsider. But I’m OK with that: underdogs are what I write about, outsiders are the people I work with; often, they are the people I most look up to: filmmakers, artists, writers, musicians, independent thinkers.

With that, what I would say to any new producer entering the topsy-turvy production world is thus: that sense of ‘difference’ or ‘not belonging’ you may feel – the so-called ‘imposter syndrome’ – is the very thing that makes you unique; it is your offering to others, your visionary voice in the world. Trust it. And there’s no better place to showcase your individuality at MIPJUNIOR – and its older sibling, MIPCOM – where you’ll get the support, help and encouragement to be yourself, as we did with the amazing team at MIP.

My production life – and life in general – has been defined by these two words: outsider and underdog. And here I find myself again: a short, dyslexic, neurodiverse producer, with a small production company – Blisstopia Productions – in an industry that thrives on big talk, big money, big names, big personalities and big shows, pitching his ambitious animation about the most sizeable themes of our time: AI, robotics, device-addiction, neurodiversity and what it means to be a young person in a vastly complicated world: miBOTS, the story of an neurodiverse teenager – Eliot – who lives in a world full of personal robots and believe he is one. An outsider. As the logline goes: ‘it takes a special kind of kid to rediscover humanity.’

Yoni Goodman, the animation wizard Ari Folman’s Oscar-nominated, Waltz with Bashir, as well as The Congress and Where is Anne Frank? created our Trailer, after a successful pitch-win in Tel Aviv, on a trade mission organised by The Department of International Trade and The British Embassy & The Producers Alliance of Cinema & Television; all of whom have helped me and my company enormously. Yoni instantly got the futurist landscape and his vision for my words created the mesmerising world of miLIBERATION, in which young Eliot and his miBOT companion, Dorothy, go on a grand mission to find themselves and play their part in fixing the broken world. Urged on by industry colleagues and the sheer belief in what we’d created, I applied as newbie hopeful to the Teen Category in the MIPJUNIOR Project Pitch – and must have done something right… miBOTS was selected as a finalist, with a very crude animatic of what would become the full colour trailer.


I was in equal measure amazed and terrified to be on stage in front of the panel of Kids judges: Sarah Muller from the BBC, Amy Takahara from Netflix and Claire Heinrich from France TV. Who were these giants of industry and what was a tiny producer like me doing on stage with them – well, I was doing my level best to pitch them miBOTS. In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, making great alliances and contacts not just with the panel – Sarah Muller continues to offer useful feedback and encouragement – but also with my fellow finalists: Maria Kennedy & Tope Babalola (Little Engine Moving Pictures, Canada) and Ievgen Tunik (Starlight Media, Ukraine), who I’m still in touch with. Whether it’s on the ‘Yes We Cannes’ WhatsApp group we created or at the regular markets we attend, the amazing, dynamic people I met at MIP will always be part of my life and career. We walk the production path together.

This brings me back to our place in the vast production world and the final word that I would like to think has defined my journey and encourage others to keep close to their hearts: friendships and authenticity. Words are so easy to say; as I pen this blog, they’re even easier to write but it’s important to hold onto this one when I’m talking to some Big-Wig in the Producer’s Hub or trying not to spill a drink on a Commissioner at a C21 party, or nodding politely when listening to the kind of numbers a financier drops into conversation.

Be authentic. Be friendly. Be bold. Be real. Even when you feel, as one famous British soap star said: ‘It’s not a smile, it’s a lid on scream.’ Because the Big-Wigs, the Commissioners, the Financiers are individual humans too and, for the most part, a friendly, vibrant, creative bunch who want to make original movies and TV – it’s their job! Make friends with them. And have fun doing it. MIP is one big adult playground, enjoy the ride.

This year, we are bringing miBOTS back with some considerable backing, a strong creative team, action-packed scripts and a sensible budget. We’re looking for that final right fit with a partner who is enthusiastic and able to get behind a work that says something honest and edgy about the day and age we live in and the unknown future we are entering; a partner that sees the intergenerational possibilities of a piece like miBOTS; that speaks to teenagers and their parents alike. We’ve got enough IP to fill the whole Palais!


About Author

Gareth is an award-winning British-Canadian writer of film & TV scripts, novels, plays and poetry and the founder of Blisstopia Productions, Through an industry-judged pitch competition, he won a development fund for his dystopian animation miBOTS, followed by a finalist selection at MipJunior in Cannes. His comedy sketch show MYALOGUETV is soon to be available on Amazon Prime, described by Channel 4 Comedy as ‘wonderfully bonkers.’ In addition to this, he’s written, produced and performed in some 15 stage plays, scripted copy for Umbro, Microsoft and Ernst & Young and licensed his own range of typographic greeting cards to Camden Graphics / UK Greetings which sold in major chains across the UK.

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