Good morning, Film Doctor friends.
This week we have a slightly delayed Monday Prescription (on a Wednesday!) as we have been travelling back from the French Riviera.
For an upcoming filmmaker, this is the aspect of Cannes that is almost purely smoke and mirrors. It’s red carpets, fashionable clothes, snooty attitudes, name-dropping, screenings and, of course, parties.
It might sound like a lot of fun, especially if you’re a booze-cat, but this facet is merely about image and appearance and you may find that many gatherings consist of a lot of ‘bottom-feeders’ lurking around trying to make out they’re bigger than they are.
If you are desperately keen to make a project happen, then you will be taken much more seriously setting up day meetings in the market (see below) rather than boozily spitting your cheap sale into somebody’s ear.
But enough ‘tough love’, there is plenty to be learned from the festival too.
Films that are currently making waves:
- “The Bling Ring” – dir. Sofia Coppola, starring Emma Watson, Israel Broussard, Gavin Rossdale; distributed by A24 Films, NYC.
- “The Past” – the new film from 2012 Oscar-winner Director Asghar Farhadi, starring Berenice Bejo.
- “Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of A Plains Indian)” – directed by French auteur Arnaud Desplechin, starring Benicio Del Toro, Gina McKee. A story of real-life friendship between Native Indian military veteran and a French psychiatrist. Internationally sold by Wild Bunch.
- “Only God Forgives” – new Nicolas Winding Refn (“Drive”, “Bronson”) film, starring Ryan Gosling and Kristin Scott Thomas.
As you will notice, some of these are in the “art film” category. This is good news for everyone striving to make independent projects, however, you should notice that all those projects are well packaged – either with stellar cast or with a reputable director helming. So let us consider once again, the lessons from film packaging here.
You can listen to audio extracts of daily press conferences – Sofia Coppola & the cast of “Bling Ring”, one of Film Doctor’s Fun Friday directors Francois Ozon, Oscar winner (“Best Foreign Film” for A Separation in 2012) Asghar Farhadi.
Perhaps you’re ‘cutting your teeth’ on shorts or are in that business altogether.
The other ‘part’ of Cannes (although using the word ‘part’ trivialises its importance) is the Marche du Film, or Cannes Film Market – where the real business happens. Often shamefully neglected by first-time filmmakers, the market is where you take your film to find buyers, co-producing partners, financing etc. We have previously discussed film festivals vs. film markets? – so you should keep in mind the nature of your trip before booking up and setting off next year.
Are you ready for it yet? Maybe. Each company has a different approach; some working on the script with you, some on packaging, some want you to approach with a full package (script, named talent attached etc) and others only work in acquisitions (they take completed films only). The Film Doctor Team would advise you attend the market only if a.) you understand the market b.) you have a completed market-ready screenplay at least.
Don’t understand the market? Then subscribe to Screen Daily or Variety or DoneDealPro. These will redirect your star-gazing/weary eyes away from the creative facet and focus on what is actually selling, getting made and what markets appreciate certain projects.