The Dark Side of the Earth: February 3rd, 2011
It’s that time of year again – Cannes is on the horizon. If I’m going to go this year, I need to do it for less money than it’s cost me in the past. If you saw my Cannes vlogs last year, you may recall I said it costs about UKP1,000 to attend the festival: UKP100 for your flight, UKP400 for your hotel, UKP250 for your Market Pass and the rest goes on food, transfers and incidentals. So how can I get these numbers down?
Well, the first thing I can do is not be an idiot and misunderstand the differences between market and festival passes, like I did last year. There are several ways to get into the Cannes Film Festival – and I mean ways that you, as a person, can get into the festival, not your film – but the main two are the Market Pass and Festival Accreditation. (I’ll try and go into the others at some point in the future.)
Before I go any further, let me remind you of a key point in understanding Cannes – it is actually two separate events that happen in the same place at the same time: the Cannes Film Festival and the Film Market, or Marche Du Film. The first is the one you will see in TV coverage – the red carpet, the stars – but it’s also a film festival like any other, to which you can submit your film and if you’re extremely lucky it will be selected and screened, and if you’re preternaturally lucky you’ll win an award. The second event, the market, is just like a trade fair or a convention for films. It’s where most of the world’s sales agents and distributors go to buy and sell movies – most of them really, really terrible, as indicated by the thousands of appalling posters which assault your eyeballs when you enter the Riveria building at the heart of the market.
So back to accreditation. I always thought that Festival Accreditation would only get you into the festival areas, not the markets areas, but I was wrong. It gets you into both, just like the Market Pass does. So what’s the difference? Well, one difference is that with the Market Pass you get the Guide – a massive and very useful book containing contact details for all the companies attending.
But the most important distinction is HOW you get these two types of accreditation. For a Market Pass, you cough up your 286 Euros and – bingo! – it’s yours. For Festival Accreditation, you fill in an on-line form, attaching evidence that you are a working filmmaker, and if the panel is convinced by this evidence, and if they have not used up the limited number of passes they are able to give each year, you get accreditation – completely FREE. This shouldn’t be a revelation to anyone who’s been to Cannes before, but somehow I’d got it into my head that it cost about 150 Euros for Festival Accreditation, plus of course the erroneous belief that it wouldn’t get me into all the necessary areas, so I was very pleased when I finally got the facts straight.
I’ve heard a lot about how picky the panel can be when deciding whether to give Festival Accreditation or not. I know that your IMDb page is quite important, and that your credits have to be recent, so I applied in the film technician category, since I have plenty of recent DOP credits. I applied on Tuesday morning – the first day registration was open – and received an email a few hours later saying I had been accepted. And there was me thinking it would be weeks before I got a decision and that they would ring up and interrogate all my referees and I would have to supply more evidence. But no, it was easy peasy. I think this was largely due to me probably being one of the first people to apply, so my advice is to get in there on the first day registration is open.
So that’s UKP250 slashed off my Cannes budget already. We’ll see what else I can squeeze as the festival approaches.
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