Cannes 2024: What do UK independent filmmakers need to know…

Posted April 25th, 2024 by Jim Read

The hype is building up around Cannes 2024 and the selected films have been announced, so, what does this mean for UK independent filmmakers? From navigating the Marché du Film to networking to spotting scams, heres our top tips/info.

If you’re looking for friends to hang out with at Cannes, accommodation buddy-ups or advice, SP is a welcoming community network of independent filmmakers here to help. We’re offering 50% off annual membership until the 26 of May, just use the promo code CANNES24 at checkout.

How to navigate the Marché du Film

An Image of the Cannes Marché du Film with filmmakers walking around

Some people will be flying out for the prestigious Marché du Film (The Cannes Film Market) which is arguably one of the top film markets internationally. If you’re going, it’s a great idea to try wrangle someone who can speak French to accompany you to get the most out of your experience, you’ll find a lot of people chatting away in English BUT if you want to go the extra mile.

If you’re going to look for funding, there aren’t a ton of pitching sessions per se, but the Producers Network is probably a good place to start where you’ll find people in the know. If you’re looking for distributors, put yourself in their shoes, if you were looking for a film like yours, where would you go…

With the Marché the more you can think outside the box and meet interesting people, the more luck you’ll have. Make sure you grab peoples contact details though, a lot of the time people won’t want to talk business on the spot, so getting an email or number will be crucial to follow up.

Generally speaking, it’s relatively known to hang out late at the Mondrian or Petit Majestic to see if you can meet anyone interesting, chance encounters can and DO happen.

What films are screening in the 2024 Official Cannes selection

Arguably the most talked about film to screen at Cannes is set to be Francis Coppola’s self-funded Megalopolis. The film is set to be a mad one, with an all star cast including Adam Driver, Nathalie Emmanuel, Giancarlo Esposito, Aubrey Plaza, Jon Voight, Shia LaBeouf, Laurence Fishburne and Dustin Hoffman, and with plenty of drama behind the scenes (we got the inside scoop from Mike Figgis whose filming a BTS doc at our last networking event and it’s NUTS. Follow our Eventbrite to find out about the next one). After a long struggle for distribution, it’s looking like French distribution company Le Pacte might be picking up the film – Cannes is tight on it’s distribution regulations, with films being selected for competition being required to release theatrically in France and not debut via streamer first. On top of this, France has strict windowing rules, requiring a 17-month gap between a theatrical release and launch on global streaming platforms – so here’s to hoping!

Also on the line up is Andrea Arnold’s Bird which is set to premiere as a work in progress, with approximately 2 weeks left of sound design left to go. Very little is known about the plot of the film besides that it is “starring Barry Keoghan and Franz Rogowski, is about a 12-year-old living in a north Kent apartment with her brother”.

Other hot topics include Cronenberg returning to Cannes with The Shrouds, a visceral introspection on grief and widowship, rumoured to be inspired by his personal loss of his wife, Yorgos Lanthimos Kinds of Kindness swiftly following the release of 2023’s controversial Poor Things with both Emma Stone and Willem Dafoe set to star again. Plausibly a knock-on from the strikes, the programme is set to have a significant amount of non-English films, with India making headlines having not one but two films represented in the official selection, All We Imagine As Light directed by Payal Kapadia and Santosh, British-Indian Sandhya Suri’ debut feature.

How to find accommodation for Cannes

If you’re looking for accommodation now, you might run into some troubles, people book EARLY and prices hike up around the time. Many people book in early to save spots, so it’s worth asking around to find out if anyone has spare spots in Airbnbs or hotels. SP’s Ask&Discuss forum is a great shout to ask around and see if there’s anything free.

How to spot Cannes Scams

With a festival as big as Cannes, there are a lot of scams about. So if something feels off, make sure you double-check that what you’re looking at is actually affiliated with the festival. Namely, a lot of people complain that the Cannes Shorts Corner isn’t what it’s cut out to be; any film submitted seems to screen, and it does not actually accredit you to the festival. It’s still a great way to get your foot in the door and meet other cool shorts makers, but make what you will of what people say

Should I network before Cannes?

Yes! Cannes is a swathe of people and can often be overwhelming, if you’re thinking of going or have booked your ticket, see who else is there and buddy-up to attend things together! Lots of SP’ers go each year, so SP is a great place to start forming connections ahead of the festival.

If you want to join our indie filmmakers community, we’re running an exclusive discount for those interested in Cannes or who are missing out and want to find community anyway, just use the promo code CANNES24 at checkout to get 50% off an annual membership until 26 May.

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