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From Cannes with Love: the student festival experience

By Danny Kelly

13 June 2018

One of the perks of being an MA Producing student at MetFilm School is that you get the opportunity to attend some world-famous film festivals. This year, our students attended both the Berlinale and Cannes Film Festivals, immersing themselves in the industry and catching some good films in the process!

With their South of France suntans slowly fading, we decided to check in with our Producing students who recently returned from Cannes Film Festival. In this blog post, Lauren Barnett (+ others) recalls the highlights of their trip and offers some advice on how to get the most out of your festival visit.

“So….what should a student be doing at Cannes Film Festival?”

Before leaving, I was asking myself the same question. Now that we’re back, I thought I’d would give you some insight into some of the things we did as a group and some of the amazing experiences gained by my fellow producers! Here are my tips/advice about being a student at Cannes Film Festival:

1. Don’t panic. You have the same pass as nearly everyone else, so carry yourself with the same level of importance as the big time producers or directors around you. This will get you in to basically everything apart from the red carpet screenings. Take the time to pick up your daily schedules which tell you which showings are for ‘badges’ or ‘invitation only’. All that’s left for you to do is queue up for the things you want to see (albeit, early for the popular ones of course!).

2. Research what you love. A great example of this comes courtesy of Tristan Upton who followed his passion to the Virtual Reality area in the film market. “I tried as many VR experiences as I could! There were an incredible variety of stories, some of which successfully exploited the 360 space they inhabited. I’m really excited about where this technology will lead us in a few years, and hoping I can create something equally compelling for my Masters Project!”


3. Spend time in the film markets and country hubs. There were amazing international film tents offering leaflets, freebies, talks and workshops. My fellow producer, Arnica Miakista, was particularly impressed with these, saying “I found all the hubs to be a great source for networking and information. In particular, the Creative England hub held talks that were very useful and informative. It’s the best place to go and find out what opportunities are available to you”.

4. Make Connections. Cannes is a good opportunity to re-connect with people you’ve worked with before, or meet new future collaborators. Student Ella Pham seized the opportunity to spend some time with world-famous coffee brand Nespresso who are strongly affiliated with the festival. Recalling her day, she says, “I was fortunate enough to meet with one of my family’s friends who works for Nespresso. I spent the entire day with him and his family, watching films from “La Semaine de la Critique” and enjoying breakfast, lunch and dinner at La Plage de Nespresso. Dinner was a fancy event that I wasn’t supposed to attend, but they took me in, and I shared my meal with (a few) French actors and musicians”.

5. Just wander. Don’t put pressure on yourself to do and see everything – make time to enjoy walking about! Go and sit in that cafe for 2 hours and read your daily free Variety and Screen international magazines. The atmosphere was 100% the best bit. People also love students at Cannes. They are interested in what we do, particularly as many didn’t have the opportunity to study ‘Producing’ themselves. Use this to your advantage to pick-up some free drinks 😉


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