Every May, in Cannes, there’s an odd event.
An enormous Film Festival runs alongside an equally enormous Film Market – and they only rarely deign to form the slimmest of Venn-diagrams; when a film represented by one of the select bunch of favoured sales agents is screened in (or out of) Competition.
And the audiences for the Festival and Market are completely different too, of course. You can’t get anywhere – physically – in the Market without a Market Pass and you can’t get into a Festival Premiere without a dicky-bow. Both rules are policed vigorously by the Cerberuses at the gates.
We took down a gorgeous booklet of photos from our Stills man Jules Heath and a truly funny three-minute reel created by trailer-cutter Toby James and our own Eddie Hamilton. When coupled with a decent set of headphones from the laptop computer it really did make them laugh.
‘Them’ being the international Sales Agents. These are the companies that oil the process of selling independent filmmakers’ rights to the worldwide independent film community.
It’s a relentless job for these Sales Agents – notoriously booking four twenty-minute meetings every hour, ten-hours a day for 10-days. And the very last person they want to see in the world is a producer with a new promo-reel, let alone with a script. It’s just too early for them.
However, that’s our job: to charm, cajole and occasionally barge our way into these offices. It can make you feel a bit like Ol’ Gil from The Simpsons, if you can just catch the eye of the buyer… and then when they see the quality of the material all is forgiven.
We’re not trying to sell the film yet – it’s not complete – just position it in the minds of the right executives so that when we come to screen the finished article we’ve got the buyer in the room.
And ,the film is now tee’d up sweetly for that next stage.
Inevitably we suffered Cannes Foot/Face Ache, the well-documented condition of walking and smiling too much in one day. It would be nice to say that at least we got a Cannes-tan but, alas, it was one of the wettest Cannes on record.
Still, the South of France in May. Can’t be all bad.