5 tips for attending the Cannes Film Festival
We just attended Cannes for the first time and we learned a few things...
1. Book your room close to the Palais:
This one is SO important. The Palais is essentially the festival home base. Everything from the red carpet screenings to the marché du film (market) take place here. Traffic will be insane due to street closures and limousine caravans so traveling by car is not the most efficient. You should book something within walking distance to shorten your commute. It’s also great exercise! We went with Airbnb and we booked months in advance to guarantee a spot. Lastly, we recommend the old town area northwest of the festival. It’s a beautiful walk with lots of cute cafes and food stands.
2. Arrive a day (or two) early:
This was advice from a friend of ours who frequents the festival. We had originally planned to arrive on opening night but we made a last minute switcheroo and moved our flight. We arrived a day early and it changed the whole trip for us. We were able to depart the plane in Nice, get through security, and hop onto a bus within an hour. We made it onto the first bus and into Cannes rather quickly, and because we arrived early, we only had to wait in the festival badge security line for 15 minutes. We had our festival badges, bags, and all of our goodies within the half hour. The next day (opening day) the security line itself was at least 2 hours long and it wrapped around the street. That doesn't take into account the stress of landing and commuting from Nice. Take our word for it on this one and arrive early.
3. Sign up for the Marché:
We’ve been to enough festivals to know it’s a lot more fun when you have something to do other than catch a flick. The market takes up about 75% of the Palais. Maybe more, but who’s doing math here? It doesn’t matter. Sign up for the market and join either the Producer’s Network or the Producer’s Workshop. The network creates an environment for you to meet other producers and mingle at different breakfast events held every morning. The Workshop allows you the opportunity to attend up to three different two hour workshops educating you on the industry led by international film professionals. You can only pick one, and either way you’ll receive an happy hour invite every night (free) to mingle with all these nice folks over a drink. Get your happy hour passes early on the first floor of the Palais because they will run out. We made lifelong friends here and we will never forget the experience. Cost for the Market varies but you should budget for around $400.
4. Bring good business cards, and take notes:
The first part of this is obvious - bring a business card. Don't do those cheesy stock cards. Hire a graphic designer and make a cool custom design so people will remember you. One thing we heard over and over again is “You’re going to leave with hundreds of business cards.” This is not a lie. You’ll be receiving a lot of cards, and we recommend bringing a sharpie to take notes on each individual card; it’s easy to get home and forget who’s who. If you take good notes, you’ll not only know who you’re emailing but you’ll have a digital ice breaker ;)
5. Make friends:
This goes along with number 3 on this list. Network. Network. Network. You’re going to be at the largest film festival in the whole world. There will be people from every corner and they are going to the festival to meet people just like you. A lot of them will speak a different language, but don't let that stop you from saying "hello." Not to be cheesy but film is an international language. Talk about your favorite directors or discuss movies playing at the festival. Another friend of ours gave us some good advice on day 1. He said to walk up to anyone wearing a badge and simply ask "What do you do here?" It's a great conversation starter and it really works. So go out there and make friends. They may change your career and your life.
There is so much more to do and learn, but we like to keep the list to 5. Enjoy your time at the festival! Be safe and contact us if you have any questions.