The Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes Film Festival remains the single most important date in the worldwide movie industry – and the source of much of Cannes’ image. Over 10 days in May, some 30,000 producers, distributors, financiers, directors, actors, agents and press agents, journalists and occasional writers descend on Cannes to hook up and do business. Some but not all also catch movies.
The 2020 dates are still under debate, as the lockdown continues in France. There is a possibility it will run in late July. Follow from Cannes or Bust on Twitter for updates. The Film Market/Marché du Film is also trying to determine new dates.
If you are in any way involved in the movie or entertainment businesses, this is where the connections are made. But what is amazing is how vastly different the various peoples’ experiences can be. The press come for the competition, and numerous “sidebars” such as the Director’s Fortnight. Producers, financiers and directors come to do business. The actors come to promote films.
There is also a feverish activity around what can only by described as the party industry. To bask in the movie glamour, many international clubs and brands get together to host events that are only tangentially connected to the movie business.
Cannes film festival pecking order
Inevitably, in such a high-powered environment, there is a very strict pecking order regulated by badges that give you access to different levels of the event. Some entitle you to premieres, others to the market and non-premiere screenings. The numerous parties and receptions are by invitation-only, with often prohibitive entrance prices for the glitzier events. Dress code is pretty strict: men in dark suits and women in outrageously revealing dresses (or that’s what it looks like from the outside).
The other big difference between the festival and other events in Cannes is that most of the business activity takes place outside the Palais. So it’s harder to nail down where a company might be located and even harder to get an appointment if you haven’t booked one well in advance. But there is still plenty of opportunities to meet with people at receptions such as those in the “Village International”.
Networking in Cannes
Speaking personally, watching movies comes third in the list of priorities at Cannes, as you catch up with them later in the year at home. The real attraction lies in networking with people and attending the talks held, for example, in the UK Film Centre pavilion or other national bodies promoting their interests. You can also try and hang around the press conferences to doorstep someone that you are interested in for business reasons. The American Pavilion is also an important hub of activity.
What many people do not realise is the Cannes Film Festival contains different “sidebars” such as the Director’s Fortnight. What’s more, many producers use the presence of the press to screen films that are not part of the main competitions at the Film Market. So many films can say they were premiereed at Cannes without benefiting from the prestigious red carpet treatment and without having a chance to win a prize.
Screenings in Cannes
If you’re not in the business and want to catch movies, Cannes makes life difficult. Most of the screenings are either for promotion or judging purposes. Cannes Cinephiles makes tickets available for second screenings. In theory these are for locals and movies groups. Obtaining them requires patience, luck and lots of walking. You’ll find more info here.
Follow the latest news about the Cannes Film Festival.
To get an accreditation to the Cannes Film Festival, visit their application page. First time in Cannes? Then you should check our tips for a first visit to Cannes for Midem or the film festival. Keep up to date using the RSS feed, follow me on Twitter or why not get Cannes news straight to your mailbox. I cover Cannes, music and movie biz news. Michael Leahy