The lovers – Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward poster will be reproduced on tee-shirts, watches, beach towels, and may other items in the general merchandising – there is an official Film Festival boutique authorised to sell these and many items bearing the official Palme d’Or emblem (the golden palm leaf).
What most people don’t realise is that there are about 1000 films to see at all the screening rooms in all the cinemas throughout Cannes from early morning to late evening, and not just the 20ish in the Palme d’Or red-carpet competition screenings at the Palais des Festivals. The Palais is where the official photographers mass to photo the producers, directors and stars of the film being shown at that time – as well as the jury personalities as they progress up the red carpet.
Generally people think it is 90% glitz ‘n tits ‘n parties, and 10% business – but it is the other way round, with the glitz for publicity to bring in the world press. Such a fun time.
The world press, understandably, writes about the stars and celebrities on the red carpet or about the Directors and their films – with seldom a word about the enormous business of producing, financing and distribution rights which is what the festival is really all about.
It was announced this morning that other members of Steven Spielberg’s star-studded jury will include ANG LEE, NICOLE KIDMAN, CHRISTOPH WALTZ, and DANIEL AUTEUIL. The Festival artistic director said this morning: “Steven Spielberg will be the centre and we are finishing the jury with great people. We have a lot of filmmakers coming from all over the world and they need to be sure that those who make the decisions about the awards have their own legitimacy and the respect to do that”
The jury has certainly been stacked with Cannes regulars and respected award winners.
To add to those above will be Romanian director Cristian Mangiu; Scottish director Lynne Ramsay; Japanese director Naomi Kawase; Bollywood star Vidya Balan (India comes to Cannes as the special guest country of this year’s festival, celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema).
As previously announced, Oscar and Palme d’Or-winning director Jane Campion will head up the Short Films and Cinefondation jury.
French actress Audrey Tautou will preside over the opening and closing ceremonies for the festival, which runs from May 15 – 26.
Tickets to the red-carpet screenings are reserved strictly for the thousands who are accredited to the festival and who sport the festival badge with their own identification photo. But for all the thousands of non-showbusiness visitors, the Cannes Town Hall organises huge screenings on the beach and anyone can grab a seat and watch during the evening.
Cannes becomes the centre of the film world and it is exciting to see all the hotels all along the Croisette sporting huge promotion posters. Many of the rental apartments are used as offices with banners strung across the outside balconies and terraces to advertise the film company there. All the available hotel suites and rental apartments are full of people in the business, all rushing around Cannes from meeting to meeting.
So, if you have an apartment here, this is one of the many conventions bringing in rental clients.
It is estimated that around 200,000 people pour into Cannes each May for this famous international festival – many here for the 12-day duration of the carnival – sorry I mean festival! – and many day visitors to soak up the atmosphere on the Croisette, gawk and gaze at the stars on the red-carpet, stand around the big Palace hotels in the hope of catching sight of a celebrity, and to watch the TV interview crews.
There are many facilities for those not accredited and not sporting the coveted identification badge. For example, there are continual TV screened interviews on a large platform built out over the Martinez beach, where the interviewers have a stream of famous Cannes visitors; there are beach screenings of old and well-loved films; there is a dedicated festival boutique with many items emblazoned with the famous Palm Leaf emblem; 100s of photographers on the streets to click your reminder of a great occasion; there are special invitations from the Cannes Town Hall for residents of Cannes to the red-carpet screenings.
Not many know that on the Monday following the festival, there are 3 screenings of the film which has won the Palme d’Or the night before, just for Cannes residents. You must register before the festival with identification and a utility bill to prove ownership, and into the draw you go. So many thousands of local people get their chance to walk up the red-carpet at the famous Palais des Festivals. It is the Cannes Mayor’s way of giving back to compensate for a bit of inconvenience, i.e. difficult to get around, difficult to park, difficult to get a restaurant booking. But so exciting – we all love it.
If you are a convention visitor/participant to Cannes and still need accommodation for any of the international conventions contact me, Jackie Pressman, and I will try to arrange something for you in central Cannes, even at this late time. Whether you are a seasoned delegate or new participant you can trust me to take care of your requirements – see my references page on this website.