Friday, April 07, 2023


Cannes 2023: what you should know before you go

As I'm writing this, the countdown for Cannes 2023 is on. People are making their plans, hoping to make the connections that will push their project forward. If you are thinking of attending, take a few moments to work out what you want to achieve and how to actually achieve it. 

A few things to remember and a few things to do:

  • Remember that the Cannes festival is mostly a trade fair for producers, distributors and financiers. Scriptwriters do attend, but not much is done for them. The exception is the French organisation Maison des Sc√©naristes (Writers' House) which organises interviews, get-togethers and offers a place to meet. All languages are welcome.
  • Set your priorities: do you want to meet producers, find co-producers, meet talent or announce an upcoming movie or career change?
  • Are you looking for local contacts or do you want to reach out to other countries? Most European movies are international co-productions. This expands your possibilities.
  • Draw up a list of people you want to reach out to. You'll find most of them in the Film Market database and/or Cinando.
  • Work that pitch until you can give 3-, 5 and 7 minute versions comfortably. Practice on everyone you know. 
  • Start sending those e-mails, and personalise them.
  • Check if your country is hosting a pavilion and if you can register there (handy for meetings).
  • If you manage to get a meeting, keep it short and punchy - these people are busy and appreciate people that get to the point. 
  • Remember that it is extremely unlikely that you will get a firm commitment at Cannes. What you are aiming to achieve is the permission to get back to the producers or directors after Cannes. 
  • Fill every free moment by attending interviews, workshops, presentations, etc. It's tempting, but skip actual screenings. They take a lot of time and it's unlikely that you will meet the right people there. Plus, you can catch them at home later anyway.
  • Don't give up! If things are going badly, you'll have time to moan later at home. Go check another reception or happy hour on the German pavilion - just don't drink too much.

Further resources: 

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