LONDON — In his first year as Managing Director of the Cannes Lions festival, Jose Papa will be overseeing a number of new initiatives. One in particular is designed to bring together some 15,000 participants in new and engaging ways under the auspices of its networking pillar.

One of the things “that excites me the most” is how Cannes always tries to divine the future, Papa explains in this interview with Beet.TV. “We look ahead. We are visionaries.”

In 2012, Papa led the launch of LATAM events for Ascential plc, which owns the Cannes festival. He took over as Managing Director of Cannes in August 2016, based in London.

While Cannes has grown to its current proportions by gradually adding new advertising and media sector representatives in recent years, Papa believes the event has to be as all-encompassing as it has become. “It needs to be big, it needs to be diverse. It needs to bring together all the agents of this whole new value chain,” he says.

On issues like quality, curated content that generate lots of discussions based on different points of view, Papa says Cannes is the best platform to have such a debate because the event “ultimately defines the future of entertainment. Such debate needs to occur there. Strongly.”

In addition to networking, the other three pillars of the festival are motivating people to learn, inspiring them and celebrating great work. Among other new offerings this year, the festival has “hand picked” 100 business startups from across the globe. Unlike other events, where such companies might find it hard to gain a presence, Cannes offers them much visibility. “This is something that we are very proud of,” Papa says.

Another new feature is a platform for “integrating the ecosystem more effectively” by helping to connect attendees “in a much more effective way by affinity, by profile, and we’re going to make more engaging and purposeful encounters happening in Cannes.”

The Cannes Lions Night School will be an after-hours series of learning experiences led by “disrupters and masters” in an informal environment. In addition, there will be a second China Day at the festival to showcase “the power of creativity in such a fundamental and critical market.”

Papa sums up his view of Cannes by describing it as “the one single place where you can showcase the true value of creativity.”

This segment is part of the Beet.TV lead-up to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. 2017. The series is presented by Storyful. For more from the series, please visit this page.