Why you should visit the Cannes Festival
Everyone who identifies themselves as part of the film world has been coming to Cannes in May for the past 70 years to participate in the world’s biggest film event of the year: the Cannes Film Festival. Even though the event encompasses exhausting screenings and must-visit meetings, it also offers lots of networking talks, glitzy parties, star-studded red-carpet premieres. The Cannes highlights the glamour and the beauty of the South of France making the event unique and closed; yet, the festival organizers always have the public in mid and hence offer free open screenings for all film lovers. Whether you have already saved May for the Cannes or just thinking of visiting this mesmerizing festival, this insider guide based on the Cannes Film Festival 2019 will get you around the crowds and help get exactly where you want to be.
First of all, it is essential to understand how the Cannes film festival dates work and how to plan your schedule for this time. One of the most important reasons why filmmakers and business professionals from all over the world are trying to get to Cannes is networking. Yes, you can see some films first, you can see stars on the red carpet, but bridging with the wealthy and influential filmmakers, cameramen, actors, distributors, directors, etc. is the main reason to visit the place. As a rule, the festival spans two weekends and if you want to pitch your screenplay or a new film idea, then Red Rock Entertainment advises doing it during the first weekend since this time slot is the festival’s busiest period.
In case you did not get invited to the festival’s insides, there is still a chance to get into the screenings or communicate with the powerful figures of the film world.
Option #1: the Palais
All major screenings of the festival are always held at the Palais. The building encompasses 18 auditoriums hence requires a lot of stars to fill the showing rooms. Badge holders who attend the Cannes Film Festival get penalised if the seats remain empty so any unused tickets will always be brought back to the public and re-offered.
This is where you can get a sneak-peak on the glamorous life and private screenings of, for example, Cannes short film festival. However note, that these tickets will be offered only to the public members who are dressed up to fit into the rich world of A-list stars. Whenever you want to get the tickets, wear your best dinner jacket or a glamorous gown to receive a chance for the tickets.
Option #2: the Hotel Intercontinental Carlton
The Hotel Intercontinental Carlton is a famous place where Alfred Hitchcock filmed his famous To Catch A Thief. This place gets crowded a lot and while sipping a cocktail at the bar or eating your dinner at a restaurant, there are great chances for networking and fitting into the scenery. Yet remember to dress up at your best in order to be accepted as Carlton’s guest.
Should you be interested in the Cannes festival cinema world and not its glamour, there are open public events you can attend. The most important and interesting one is the Cinéma de la Plage. This is a huge outdoor film screen that will let you see groundbreaking films before anyone else. You can get a ticket in the nearest tourist office or just come to the beach at Plage Mace (opposite the Hotel Majestic, next to the Palais) in the evening to enjoy the Out of Competition selection and the Cannes Classics.
Should you not be interested in prizes awarded at the Cannes film festival but rather at the social and nightlife of the City during the festival, then there are several parties you can sneak into. The biggest and most in-demand parties at the Cannes are hosted by UK Film, Variety, Film4, The Producers Network, Screen International, and Wild Bunch. Make sure that you check the list of events in advance to select the right party to attend.
Yes, to get in you will need a ticket or a back-office friend who would get you inside.
Before you head toward making friends with waiters, bartenders, and industry insiders, just go to the chosen location and ask about the tickets. Often, you can simply buy one.
Regardless of your way in, ensure that you look your best. Again, you need to fit the shoes of the film industry in order to merge into the crowd. If you are not sure about the dress code, just check the Cannes festival photos from the past years to get the best idea.
Whenever you are attending the Cannes Film Festival, don’t forget to enjoy the city itself. Once you get tired of parties or after you have successfully pitched your idea, take a break and wander around the city. Go to the Marché Forville to buy some fresh oysters and cheese, take a bottle of the local wine or champagne and head to one of the beaches or the old port to relax from the hustle of the festival’s life and enjoy some solitude. And if you want to mix pleasure and work, then visit the American Pavilion. This is a popular place for the film industry hobnobbing, so you can learn a rumour or two about the industry’s insights. Don’t be afraid to spend an arm and a leg here because the food is more than affordable here and the extraordinary views of the sea are one-of-a-kind.