Monday, April 19, 2010

The Cannes Independent Film Festival

Do you know that the Cannes Independent Film Festival is in its 3rd year?  I had never heard of it until two filmmakers I know mentioned their film is showing there.  I have not checked it out in person and do not know where it is in Cannes nor where it screens its films there.  But I did notice that it is part of a European Initiative to create (do we need this?) more film festivals, and is part of the 6th European Film Festival, an event which occurs in over a dozen cities across Europe every October and November. The newest cities added include:Essex, UK * Warsaw, PL * Graz, AT * Athens, GR * Budapest, HU * Bristol, UK * Turku, FI * Moscow, RU * Dresden, DE * Stockholm, SE * Einhoven, NL * Malaga, ES * Aalborg, DK.

If festivals were proven ways to monetize the filmmaker's finished product, if they were truly integrated into the marketing plan of the filmmaker and not just a gratuitious way to expose films to a public which pays for the "festival experience" rather than for the film, perhaps new festivals would serve an industry purpose.  Maybe just having a "bonafide" excuse to be in Cannes (where one's film is showing in "The Festival") is enough for this one.  But in my opinion, European Union money - and a filmmaker's money - would be better spent promoting the commercial distribution of the film.  Filmmakers seem to think that a long list of festival showings increases the value of their film.  But among industryites, it actually cheapens the film when all the festivals are unknown and all one needs to do is pay to apply, pay to get in, pay to send the film and marketing materials, pay to go there.

OK, here is one of the films I know of that will be there:  Emma Blue by  Robert Maclean, with Costas Mandylor of the SAW series as the Devil in Love. It will also be at the Marché, though the filmmaker does not name its international film agent, something which in the end is much more important for the film's international success and the future of the filmmaker in launching the next film, because, to quote veteran producer Mike Medavoy,.in this business "You're only as good as your next film".

For those of you with any vestige of energy left during the main Cannes event, here are further particulars on this new rump festival.  Who knows, maybe it will become the Slamdance of Sundance, though to date, I don't think it is much of a thorn in the side of the festival as Slamdance once was, nor do I foresee it becomine an equivalent of the Critics Week or Directors Fortnight.  We don't need another showcase of films, expecially in Cannes with its viable market of some 3,500 films and projects beyond the festival itself.

This is their disclaimer:
The Cannes Independent Film Festival, May 12-23, 2010, is an organisation totally independent and different from the Festival International du Film (aka the Cannes Film Festival) and the Marché du film and is not associated with or linked to those organisations.
Levelling the playing field

The mission of the Cannes Independent Film Festival is to provide truly independent films an opportunity to be screened during the world's most prestigious film gathering and the biggest International Film Market -- the Festival de Cannes. Being selected as a part of CIFF entitles you to:
  • Screen your film at great venues in Cannes
  • Sell your film to the world's biggest gathering of film buyers
  • Attend CIFF marketing and sales courses for festival participants
  • Network with and promote new projects to the entire film industry
  • Attend and host launch and promotion parties at the CIFF villa just off the Croisette
  • Work together with CIFF filmmakers to promote each others films and projects

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