01 Jun Cannes
I remember the first time I went to Cannes Film Festival nearly 7 years ago. I was my daughters plus one. I was her chaperone, I had to make up why I should be allowed in.
How things were so different this year. I had to try to get my daughter in. I was there on my own merit, with three films for sale in the market place. With meetings planned with investors and distributors for future projects. I was speaking on a couple of panels as a filmmaker. It felt like I had to consistently pinch myself. This was a dream come true.
All of this has happened in three years, from shooting my first feature to being 6 features in and another 4 planned on the slate.
I love thinking about this journey and just for one moment stopping and taking stock of where I am.
I’ve learned so much by throwing myself in at the deep end. I am always learning and observing and trying to make things bigger and better. My latest book “Filmmaking without Fear” contains a lot of these learning curve moments.
But I wanted to discuss Cannes. The way it works and how you can make the most out of it.
First of all understand that there is not enough time to do everything. You have to pick and choose what your priorities are whilst you’re there.
My priorities were:
Find exec producers with funding opportunities, meet new contacts, speak on panels and connect with old friends.
Each day I would arrive in the America Pavilion and have breakfast at10am. Followed by a couple of hours of not knowing who you were going to meet and being open to making new contacts.
I immediately met up with several people from my past two or three Cannes visits, its so important to stay in touch with your connections even after all these years we were able to reconnect very easily.
Visiting the market place allows you to see what the industry is really like. How many films are there for sale. Why is our film different to any others. What makes our film stand out. There are thousands of films for sale.
Meeting other distributors and chatting to them also gives an insight into this part of the industry that you can’t really teach. You have to see it to believe it.
As well as the day contacts and visiting markets and the other pavilions there are a million events to attend in the evening. I would dash home, change and then go back out. Often returning at 2 or 3am.
It’s important to get some sleep in order to keep up the energy for the whole festival.
The hard work then begins once you’re home. That’s when the emailing and follow ups begin. Which is more important than anything. In order to keep these relationships and build them into something that is trusting and not just a flash in the pan.
I really enjoyed this experience and offering my advice. As always, any questions please email me.