Ladies and gentlemen. It is that time again. When Cannes Film Festival takes a hold of the world and we all get ready for the mayhem that ensues.
I’d like to take you through a few of the things to consider with your imminent arrival at one of the most sought after acting work holiday’s…slah events….of the year. So let us get started.
Accreditation for Cannes Film Festival
Firstly, got your accreditation already? Phew, well done you.
Still need it?
The only option left will be a late application or potentially a Short Film Corner (though I am certain this cut off date is fast approaching). Remember, Cannes is really for the market, not the actors. While the parties and red carpet are very glamorous, it’s really not us who they worry about. Small and large production companies come in every year to sell their films, dreams and ideas. We are just the fluff. So it goes without saying that the number of applications open to actors are limited. For next year be sure to get in early. Mark the date in your online calendar well in advance. See the bottom of this blog for things you should do, pre Cannes, to get ready for your 2012 Cannes accreditation.
So for the lucky ones who have their actor accreditation sorted, or have submitted a film in the Short Film Corner, you are now ready. What happens next? You fly into Nice, catch a quick bus to Cannes and suddenly you have arrived. Wrestling with the tiny bit of French you know, you manage to stammer out enough to ask for directions and find your new abode for the week.
Next stop – find the accreditation office and get your pass.
They’ll give you a bag with a few shiny pamphlets and things you might want to take home. And then it’s time to hit the big smoke. That’s it…either straight to the Marche, or at least to somewhere close by where your shiny little pass guarantees you entry.
A few places and events I can suggest you look for:
- The BFI at Cannes – they are always there and have lots to offer. And they always hold a number of brilliant events, talks and gatherings so it is a good idea to get in touch and register your interest. It’s a shame we won’t have the UK Film Council there this year as they’ve always been great too.
- Abu Dhaubi party – not to be missed! We had a riot of a time last year and this is a must attend for anyone who wants a great Cannes party night.
- Variety Magazine – always a brilliant event, and though a little more challenging to get to this party, it is well worth it if you can gain entry.
- Century Club & Nikki Beach – both open their doors to Cannes for the festival by hiring prime real estate on the beach and having their usual private members only events right on the beach front. Hustle your way in any which way you can. There’s always some great celeb spotting to be had.
- The American Pavilion is always there – they charge for entry but you can meet some great people, use their wifi and chill out at tables overlooking the water. They’re also on twitter now (how 2011!) @AmPav
- Raindance – they are regulars and again you can find out what they are doing both pre and during Cannes by going online.
- And if you are Australian like me… Screen Australia are there too in a tower on Le Croisette every year – look for their big sign up high in the sky!
Please note these are just a selection to get you started. To really get to the good stuff you’ll have to meet people, mingle, network, hustle and party.
But how do I get into parties?
Yes that is the magic question. Every year 100’s of celebrities flick into Cannes to enjoy the glamour and glitz attached to the festival. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t j’adore being a part of it all. Last year I found myself on some incredible yacht parties and milling with a number of A-list celebrities. How? It all depends on who you know. If you have any great contacts who will be there ask them if you can be their + 1. Don’t be afraid just to mingle and network at every opportunity you get. Just don’t be desperate. Desperation is just awful. But if you have a cool producer buddy who you are on really close terms with and you think they won’t mind you asking to tag along, then you may as well flick them a text and see where they’re at.
- Take lots of business cards and give them out.
- Be engaging but not demanding. People treat the film festival as a mini holiday. They don’t want your CV or headshot.
- Charm the socks off the media and journalists. If you happen to meet them be sure to be a delight. And if they ask you why you are attending, make sure you have a reason. Even if you are just there to see what it is all about, if you have an upcoming movie filming later this year talk about that. Or if you are there with a director whose movie you’ve been in, then share that. It’s about elevating your status, not seeming like you are clinger on.
Walking the red carpet
Yes, we can do that! Your Cannes Accreditation pass gives you access to red carpet events in the same way that the Producers and Directors get access. However, actors don’t get as many points so there are less opportunities to see the more highly sought after movies. So if you are really keen to walk the red carpet and want the ins and outs of how to do this, email me and I’ll let you know what you can do to guarantee yourself a ticket. You still may not be able to get a ticket to the Opening movie but you will get on the red carpet.
But really people….it’s all about the parties! Ask anyone.
Getting there and away:
Literally every second person on your easyJet flight to Nice and back are going to the festival (not a word of a lie). You may even strike up a conversation with your neighbour on the way over and start your festival networking early if you’re game.
Once you get off the plane, head straight out the door to the bus stop office to buy a ticket. The buses depart from Nice just outside and they go throughout the day and evening to Cannes and back frequently. Book a return ticket to save some extra money.
Where to stay:
Things you should do for the next year’s accreditation, 2012:
- Contact previous (ooh typo. I nearly typed that as precious…they’re that too but in a good way) directors or producers and ask if they are happy to write a letter endorsing you.
Better yet, draft one and send that to them along with your request. Not only does this show you are proactive, but it also demonstrates you know their time is precious, and you are saving them an extra thirty mins of work. They’ll also be more inclined to help as it’s less work for them.
- Print out your CV, Spotlight profile, IMDB profile and any other supporting documentation.
- Consider your contacts…know anyone French? Perhaps they can help you write your cover letter in French. I’ve done this the past two years and every little bit counts with getting your accreditation through.
- Ask around to see if any directors you’ve worked with will be there or have their work at the festival.
- Find accommodation. You need a French address in order to apply. Also it goes without saying that the best deals are typically secured early…start looking and negotiating in Jan.
- As soon as registration opens, typically at the beginning of March (it closes early April), get online and put your application in. You will have a much greater chance of being accepted if you are early. And I have been refused once in the past so I am speaking from experience (and I know of other actors who have as well).
- Send a hard copy of your supporting documentation to the Accreditation board then sit back and wait for your approval. This usually only takes about 1 week.
*Minor updates on this blog done Jan 2016; Also some of the events listed above may no longer operate. Check to see what is current each year for Cannes.