I took the train to Annecy full of excitement and great expectations for the 50th Anniversary of the festival. According to the festival press release, they were expecting 6,700 participants from 66 countries, 1,647 companies crowding into MIFA, 300 journalists and 230 international buyers. For a festival to pull off such a grand event with minimum problems would be a miracle indeed. When people tried to get tickets for events, however, it felt like there were twice as many people in attendance.
The first hint of trouble came when there was no invitation to the opening night ceremony or the party. I was looking forward to seeing the opening night film, The Illusionist, but was told that this year no journalists had been given tickets because they were just too many people and 150 seats had been relegated to non-industry VIPs (which translates to money people). Journalists were told that there was no problem: our names had been placed on a request list and we should just keep checking back with the press office to get our passes. To make it even worse, two hours before the ceremony we were finally told that there was no possibility for us to get tickets. I finally managed to get a ticket from my friend and fellow journalist Olivier Cotte, who had gotten two tickets from someone who actually didn't want to see the film. Both Olivier and I wasted a good part of Monday afternoon looking for tickets instead of seeing films.