The Another

    The real business takes place off the red carpet



    Away from Cannes’ famous red carpet, the real deals are made. This year, the stalls at Cannes will hold films by Catherine Breillat, Nanni Moretti, Trân Anh Hùng, Thomas Lilti or Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache. Whether their films are in the festival’s selection or not, they will all be the object of negotiations and auctions during the festival, which opens on Tuesday, May 16. These will take place at the Palais des Festivals, but in a very different ambiance from the glittering scenes on the steps and at press conferences. The Film Market, reserved only for buyers, will be in full swing in and around the Palais’s basement. Vendors have their booths, some of which have a view of the ocean.

    Let’s start from the beginning: A film’s life is played out roughly in three stages. First there is production (script writing, shooting, editing), then distribution (PR, marketing, press), and finally exhibition (theaters). This three-step process concerns the national market only. For a film to be released internationally, a sales agent is required to attract foreign distributors. In France, there are about a hundred of them. “The profession has existed for a long time, but it really took shape at the end of the 1990s, notably with the creation of the ADEF [association of film exporters],” said Grégoire Melin, its current president, who is also head of the international film sales company Kinology.

    The Cannes Film Festival is an essential event for these operators. “Of course, there is Berlin, Toronto and Los Angeles, but Cannes is the only festival that brings together the glamor, the artistic and the commercial, and where each part benefits the other,” said Camille Neel, director of sales at Le Pacte (an independent company in charge of distribution, international sales and video editing of French and international films). “We sell more and better on the Croisette.” It is at the Cannes market that A serious job (A Serious Job), by Thomas Lilti (Hippocrates, Diary of a French Doctor, 2014) will be presented. Well, maybe.

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    Neel, its seller, needed to first await the response from Alberto Barbera the boss of the Venice Film Festival, held from August 30 to September 9, which was slow in coming. If the film, which is scheduled for theatrical release in September, is selected for that festival, it should not be screened beforehand to Cannes buyers (at least in its entirety). Which between Cannes or Venice would best serve the interests of this film about schools, featuring Vincent Lacoste, François Cluzet, Louise Bourgoin and Adèle Exarchopoulos in its cast? For the seller, it’s a real gamble on the future of their film. Neel was hoping for an answer from Barbera before May 16, the opening date of Cannes. But nothing was less certain.

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