Met @ Cannes: Seven student tips for making the most of a film festival trip
One of the most exciting features of our MA Producing course is that students get the opportunity to attend some pretty spectacular international film festivals. Last month, we sent a crew of Producers to the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, celebrating its 70th anniversary. Our team got to check out the industry focused Marché du Festival, attend a range of talks and workshops, meet filmmakers from around the world, and enjoy a bit of sunshine down on the French Riviera. Not too shabby…
MA Producing student Karen Simon recalls the experience and offers some top tips for fellow filmmakers looking to make the most of a film festival trip. Enjoy!
1. Get a lay of the land
Cannes Film Festival is centred on the Palais des Festivals where the festival’s industry trade show, the Marché du Festival, also takes place, alongside many of the screenings. Considering the size of this massive multi-storey building, it’s a good idea to check out the festival map to get your bearings and to make sure you hit all the stands you’re most interested in.
2. Dress appropriately
The festival takes place in the South of France during the beginning of summer and the days can get particularly warm. Chances are you’ll be spending all day at the Palais des Festivals moving between the indoor and outdoor spaces. Make sure you wear comfortable, yet smart casual clothes and shoes, and carry some warmer items for the evening. When the sun goes down, it gets chilly very rapidly. If you get the chance to go on the red carpet, then, of course, formal wear is necessary.
3. Visit the Village International (and scope out their schedules)
Surrounding the Palais along the beachfront are the country pavilions — known as the Village International. Here you can learn more about each country’s film industry and their professionals, as well as co-production benefits and available locations. Some of the pavilions, such as the UK Film Centre, offer a range of talks and presentations during the course of the festival, while others host cocktail parties and networking events. Make sure you visit plenty (if not all) of the different pavilions, to scope out their individual programmes.
4. Pick up the dailies
A range of industry publications cover each day of the festival. Get your hands on as many of the dailies you (and your suitcase) can carry. From Screen Daily to Hollywood Reporter to Variety and more, these magazines contain detailed and relevant information not only for your trip, but for the film industry throughout the year.
5. Fit in some screenings
This may sound like a given, but don’t just focus on the popular and most prestigious films being shown. This is a fantastic opportunity to view films from all over the world that you’re likely to never get the chance to see again. With plenty of screenings not only happening in the festival but also across the city, you can catch a few gems if you plan your schedule right.
6. Don’t forget your business cards
Festivals and industry events of this kind are all about meeting industry professionals and networking. To ensure the growth of your network, make sure to bring along plenty of business cards to hand out, as well as something to carry all of the cards you’ll receive in return. A good idea would also be to carry a pen in case you need to jot down some notes on the card to remember details about the person you’ve just met.
7. Follow up with your new contacts
On your return from the festival, make sure to follow up with the people you met and can see future collaborations with. It’s a good idea to wait til the end of the festival before sending an email, as chances are they’ll be busy all day during the event. To make sure your contact has time to sit, read, and reply to your follow-up, give it about a week following the festival before connecting.