It’s coming up to that time of year again and the guys at Pleased Sheep won’t be missing out. With the hotel booked and flights ready to be confirmed, my third and Michael’s fifth trip to Cannes is now being prepared.
After what the press described as a “disappointing” 2008 festival due to the weather and the lack of glamour, we will have to see what “Credit Crunch Cannes” will muster up this year.
Obviously we will be spreading the word of The Sheep’s (what should be) wrapped movie Bar Stewards, attempting to stir some interest for investment and distribution, but the key aim is to network with other film-makers, actors and basically enjoy the atmosphere and watch some premières.
Last year we managed to view screenings of Changling, Hunger, Blindness, The Chaser, Kung Fu Panda and the main event Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
But the highlight for me was the Master Class with Quentin Tarantino, who is almost certainly going to tread the Red Carpet this year with his WWII revenge movie Inglourious Basterds.
More news about the festival will appear on this thread, as well as my updated Cop’s Cannes Top Tips information for the Cannes virgins visiting the site. Feel free to comment and discuss all things Cannes with your own hints, tips and information about parties, screenings and other related events.
Cops Top Tips – Cannes
(last updated 19th March 2009)
The Cannes Film Festival can be a very complicated place to be, it can also be quite over-whelming, under-whelming, confusing and frustrating if you have not planned ahead, here are a few tips for if you are venturing to the worlds most famous film festival for the first time.
I am not claiming to be a festival expert, nor am I suggesting that my tips are the best thing to do, I am just speaking from my experience over the two occasions I have been.
Also keep in mind the current exchange rate, the prices quoted on this post are upto 3 years old.
This is the most important thing you need to get the full benefit of the festival. If you want to hang around in the swanky hotels with producers, film stars and directors you won’t be able to do so if you don’t have this pass (known as a badge). Don't lose it, or leave it in your hotel, the festival officials wont let you in without it, even if they remember your face.
Basically you can’t do anything really without it, apart from lurk around the food kiosks, you can’t visit the pavilions, attend screenings or even attend parties (unless you are good at blagging). Accreditation is a must if you really want to network within the festival itself, without you are buggered
Accreditation badge and free bag containing festival information
You can apply for accreditation months before the festival, by logging on to the festival website, but you have to be working in the film industry, if you are an actor or an actress, or a journalist.
I suggest applying as soon as the submissions open (normally February), you need prove that you are working on a film which is currently in production, being promoted or being exhibited at Cannes. The closing date is 3rd April
You can also apply for accreditation if you are a producer or director; first time applicants need to post a CV to the office in France along with a business card and some internet links of which credited work is displayed on, I also suggest creating a relevant website. You fill in most of your details and send them a passport photo online via the Cannes official website.
Media and Film CV's are different to normal ones, try to keep it down to 2 pages, listing your experience such as the productions you have worked on with a brief description, training / education and your upcoming projects. Check out this North West Vision and Media Page as a helpful guide to writing a good CV.
My online confirmation of accreditation.
Instructions of badge and bag collection can be found on this page
The committee who evaluate your accreditation request do not have a database, this year I applied online on the opening day and within a week I was accredited before I even had chance to post my other information. Michael Booth on the other hand was requested to post his CV, and the committee telephoned Jon Williams to confirm if Mike was a producer of Pleased Sheep Films.
Make sure you update your IMDb page.
Most of the committee will deny this, but I have reasons to believe they judge your whole career on that website. Remember IMDb takes about two weeks to update submissions, so make sure you update well in advance before applying for accreditation.
Three years ago, you could buy accreditation for 85 Euros, but this isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you arrive with no accreditation you can fill in an application form, you will need a business card and some evidence of why you are at the festival and maybe a flyer promoting your film. This can take most of a morning or afternoon queuing up.
Your details are then validated overnight by the committee. They tell you the next day if your application has been accepted. In 2007 Bar Stewards actress Ashley Morley was rejected, we couldn’t even buy it.
If you can’t buy accreditation, you can apply of day passes. You have to apply for that at a different location and will take another few hours to process, (Ashley and I gave up at that point and she flew back home the next morning)
How much does it cost?
Take more money than you expect to spend
Cannes is not that expensive overall, food is good and reasonable, public transport is dirt cheap, but if you are into the drinking culture you will be spending a lot of money.
Beer in the hotels, bars and the parties are very expensive, on average £5 a glass, not a pint. If you are drinking Vodka and Coke it is even more expensive. Don’t be fooled thinking you are getting a big measure, sometimes you might be lucky by having a generous barman, but most of the time the glass is filled with ice.
Useful Hint: at parties search for free champagne first, last year I took advantage of finding a space at the bar and I spent £20 on one glass of Vodka & Coke, only to find my friends enjoying free drinks at the other side of the room.
I found the drinks at the Hotel Martinez are most expensive at £16, but that’s where the ‘A Listers’ stay, other hotels such as The Grand or The Majestic might be slightly cheaper at £10 - £12 a glass.
If you have booked accommodation away from the festival the other main expense is taxi fares. They are much more expensive than the inconsistent bus service and if you are still in Cannes after 12am you have to flag one… which can be like mission impossible - the taxi fares also vary depending on the driver.
Where to drink?
You will find out where to go when you get there, its best just to explore, but if you want a cheaper alternative to expensive hotels, or if you are in the company of people without accreditation I suggest checking out Petit Majestic. Its a small bar, normally packed, but the vibe is good. It's situated just behind The Grand Hotel.
Like most European cities there are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from. You can also buy beer at the food kiosks which are situated along the beach.
The Petit Majestic - were the well-to-do and the riff-raff socialise together
Travel & accommodation
Book Early with low budget airlines
Don’t expect anything like 1st class or business class, in fact, don’t expect leg room or an in-flight movie, just be assured that the plane will take you to Nice. Booking early will be cheaper, it should be well under £150 return
Get an apartment, crash with as many friends as possible
My first time I stayed at the Residence Hotelière Open, which is an apartment block with parking, a small bar, a restaurant, swimming pool and gym and all the other mod cons one might expect.
The apartments themselves are a bit of a dump, but clean. I had one bedroom with a double bed, a bathroom with no shower curtain and a small kitchen with oven and dishwasher and a breakfast bar. All the apartments also have a patio with tables and chairs.
There is also a pull-out double bed settee, cupboards, drawers and a small television with French channels. No major channels apart from the German MTV Channel and a scrambled hardcore pornography channel at night, but you can pretty much make it out.
The bad things about the ‘The Open’ are that it’s a few miles away from the festival – it is not walking distance and the bus service can be quite lousy, although there is a stop a few yards away from the hotel entrance. You also have to pay for towels and sheets.
But for the amount of time you spend in the apartment it’s not that much of a big deal, end of the day - it’s a base to dump your stuff and somewhere to sleep. What else do you need? The apartments can house up to 4 people almost comfortably, but you can fit more in if some bring sleeping bags maybe. You are looking at 500 Euro’s for a week. There is also a small supermarket around the corner to buy breakfast cereals, milk and toiletries… Oh and you will need to buy toilet roll.
I suggest finding a hotel which is walking distance from the festival, it’s cheaper in the long run as you are not paying the transport there and back everyday. There are plenty to choose from if you research the net.
Residents near the festival up sticks and go on holiday during the festival, some leave there apartments up for rent. I stayed in one with Nick Scott and Fiona Brownlie last year and it cost next to nothing when we chipped in together, it was only a 10 minute walk away from the action, we also took advantage of a small holiday before it all kicked off.
AmPav, Kodak and other Pavilions
This years prices for AmPav -
$50 Special Early Registration (March 15 through April 10)
$65 Pre-Cannes Registration (April 11 through May 12)
$100 On-site Registration (May 13 through May 24)
Get passes for the American Pavillion. It’s spaced out, has internet connection with Wi-Fi and the people are very friendly. You can buy food throughout the day and they also have interesting seminars there. In the past they have hosted Michael Moore, Robert Duval and Martin Scorsese. ‘AmPav’ showed the Manchester United v Chelsea Champions League Final last year.
The Kodak tent is next door to ‘AmPav’, you must take advantage of getting free passes into there as they have free soft drinks, it is a bit of a God-Send. Cannes is a hot place and it’s a good place to sit and relax, they also have some networking events worth checking out.
Also check out the British Pavilion as well as Pavilions from across the globe, most of them you wont need passes for.
Take plenty of business cards
As the Cannes Film Festival is one big huge networking event, you must take plenty of business cards and spend money on decent looking ones. The big players have nice cards, small players have those customised ones by Vista Print… you’re not fooling anyone.
Business cards must contain your name, email address, British telephone numbers start with +44 and put (0) before your number, maybe mention your IMDb page on there. People will look you up.
Hang around in packs of 4 or 5; this appears to attract other people, especially when they see that you are having a good time
Other networkers appear to be attracted to people portraying a positive vibe and they will want to speak to you, you never know who they might be
Don’t be afraid to bring strangers into your conversation, if they are not interested they will make their excuses and go somewhere else (at least you tried). You will find that you keep bumping into the same people over and over again, so it’s good to build a bit of a rapport with them.
Talk to people about parties, they might be able to get you in somewhere, don’t be afraid to be cheeky though - most people get an ego boost by helping other people out.
Always check what is happening in the official brochures, you never know when you might miss something really cool.
Take a laptop or phone with internet browser
On some accreditation passes they might have a 5 digit number with a letter R, this number allows you to book tickets onto the red carpet. You need to book these online and when they are gone they are gone, but you might be lucky to pick up some cancellations.
Keep pressing the refresh button on the page as unwanted tickets sometimes come up. If don’t have a PDA or laptop you can access the internet at one of the terminals at American and UK Pavilions, but be prepared to wait.
Laptops are also quite handy to show people clips and photos of the production you are promoting.
Red carpet & celebrities
Take a tuxedo and formal wear
You never know when you might be treading the red carpet, but you won’t be able to get in to a screening of a Red Carpet film without formal wear. For men a black suit, white shirt and bow tie is essential to take with you. If you are staying far away from the festival, maybe rent a car and keep your formal wear in there. You can park in one of the car parks. You may need to get changed into something because you could get an invite to some high profile parties.
Dealing with celebrities
If you have access to the hotels, you will be with ‘celebrities’ from Quentin Tarantino to Sam Allardyce and they drink in the same bar as you without security or barriers.
If you feel you want to approach them, that's fine, however the hotels are not places to ask for photo's or autographs. While in the bar or relaxing in the lobby people are enjoying their own time away from the waiting paparazzi and the press outside.
With accreditation you are in the capacity as an industry professional, no matter what your projects consist of and it's best to keep it professional.
One of the film industries most successful producers,
with Michael Booth and Harvey Weinstein
One of the film industries most successful producers,
with Michael Booth and Harvey Weinstein
Festival de Cannes Official Website http://www.festival-cannes.com/en/festivalServices/accreditation.html
American Pavilion http://www.ampav.com/cannes/
Facebook Group http://tinyurl.com/czukw2
North West Vision - Writing a CV - http://www.visionandmedia.co.uk/page/how-to-write-a-cv
Exchange Rate - http://www.xe.com/ucc/
UP, the new animation film from the Disney•Pixar studios, produced under John Lasseter's supervision, will be the Opening Ceremony film of the 62nd Festival de Cannes, a World Premiere in Disney Digital 3-D on Wednesday May 13th, 2009.
Quentin Tarantino, Ang Lee and Pedro Almodovar will face off with Jane Campion, Ken Loach, Michael Haneke and Park Chan-wook in Cannes' biggest heavyweight auteur smackdown in recent years.
All have snagged Competition berths at next month's 62nd Cannes Festival, whose Official Selection was unveiled Thursday.
This year's Competition is heavy on European fare but the lightest Yank presence since 2006. Asia makes a strong showing.
Cannes has given competition berths to Quentin Tarantino's World War II actioner "Inglourious Basterds," toplining Brad Pitt, and Lee's "Talking Woodstock," a comedic take on the legendary concert, with Liev Schreiber, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Emile Hirsch.
French actor Isabelle Huppert has been named jury president for this year's Cannes film festival. She is only the fourth woman to head the panel in the event's six decades, following stints by Liv Ullmann, Jeanne Moreau and Françoise Sagan.
Huppert said in a statement that the appointment made her "very glad and very proud". She added: "Cannes and I have a long history and this next meeting will definitely seal my love for the festival, as well as for world film."