|Cannes Film Festival (Mosquito Films)||| Print ||
|Thursday, 02 June 2011|
Heather Phillips and Priscilla Cameron of Mosquito Films attended the Cannes Film Festival from 12 May to 17 May 2011.
This was my first visit to the Cannes Film Festival and it was an eye opener in regards to the networking opportunities and wide selection of industry people available to meet with. From independent producers to production company representatives, sales agents, distributors, financiers and other creatives. It was also good to finally meet face to face some of the people I have spoken with several times in Australia but had never met. The Screen Australia parties were particularly beneficial in this regard. In fact I would say that a week to ten days in Cannes would see you meeting most if not all of the people you would want to meet in Australia regarding a specific project. In Australia there is distance, scheduling, protocol and power pulls. Cannes is a level playing field if you know your project and you arrive prepared.
My first task after arriving at my hotel was to pick up my registration and have something to eat. I met up with some friends and we had lunch. I was struck by the mass of people everywhere, it felt to me that there would be no “downtime” in the week I would stay. This proved true. It’s an over stimulating environment on many fronts; the business of Cannes, the networking of Cannes (including the parties) the heat and dealing with the throngs of people crowding the central footpaths. I bought a hat and sunscreen and gave up the heels. I took only what I needed to meetings and kept the slim “Pocket Guide” from my registration satchel with me for easy referencing.
The “running in to people” became a daily occurrence; people I wanted to meet with or people I needed to meet with outside of having scheduled appointments. These run-ins proved useful, it was really just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
As I had a dozen scheduled meetings, I spent some time the first few days familiarising myself with where my meetings would take place. I also saw a couple of films and hung out a while in the UK tent where they always had interesting interviews or seminars going on.
I do believe the contacts made at Cannes will ultimately lead to the financing of at least one of my projects taken there this month. If not directly through planned meetings; then as a consequence of the link given to me during one of those meetings.
I felt I had achieved a great deal in the time I spent there and now I must follow all leads whilst still fresh in my head.
Most of the seasoned producers I met with at Cannes were buoyant about this year’s festival. Last year, according to these colleagues, no one was buying and genre was everywhere. Meaning if you didn’t have genre, forget it. This year however with the recent success of dramas such as The King’s Speech and Never Let Me Go, drama was back on the table. As were comedies. Certainly there was much talk regarding co-productions; there was quite a bit of information circulating regarding the protocols of each country towards co-productions by way of host country holding seminars/breakfasts etc.
The benefits of attending Cannes are priceless. I have attended the EFM on three occasions and the AFM twice but Cannes is an all together different creature. Perhaps it’s because of the holiday style location but industry is there to have a good time and business is done whilst doing so.
The biggest benefits are the contacts I made for my lead project. Of course I attended all my scheduled meetings which were fabulous because we had researched who we wanted to meet before arriving but it was the impromptu “you should talk with bla bla” that saw me making direct links to the path I want to walk with my lead project. I had not previously realised just how important relationship building and branching out from there, is ...to the business of getting your film made.
Australia is just so far away! Making ties towards co-productions in the Asia Pacific is making more and more sense. Every region has its strengths and difficulties, its own set of points and regulations. Our story, we realised can’t be simply moulded and re-moulded to suit the buyer (or partner in our case) to get the money. Certain elements can be. One large benefit was realising just what can change and what can’t towards the financing of this film. Coming from this position of strength was positive and helpful in meetings.
Overall the visit to Cannes was enormously beneficial and I would encourage any filmmaker keen to start building relationships to attend Cannes and get started. It really is the best arena, in my opinion, to undertake the business of the business.
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