I’m usually up in the air, flying somewhere in the world as I focus on my next blog for AWN but not this time, I’m in the UK having recently returned from attending the Cannes Film Festival, followed shortly thereafter by the Annecy International Animation Festival. These two events, both in France, separated by just a few days, are the premiere festivals in the international calendar for live action and animation respectively.
Cannes starts in the middle of May and runs for 10 days, and Annecy in early June for a week.
Each year, these weeks spent in France, remind me how appalling my French language skills are and how I wish, as my school reports would say, ‘if only Max would try harder…’ Those words resonate as I attempt to navigate my way around and I am forever humbled by the kindness of the people I meet with, who are so helpful and ready to speak to me in English.
The Cannes Film Festival with filmmakers, actors, studio executives, agents, publicists, attorneys, paparazzi and film fans from all around the world descend upon this relatively small town on the French Riviera for ten crazy days of non-stop parties, screenings and meetings, with everyone vying for attention for the buying, selling and celebrating of film, from small independent short films to lavish international film premieres - it all takes place here in this microcosm of the film industry.
Just a few days after my live action colleagues return home to recover, I turn my attention to the Annecy International Film Festival. Very much the animation equivalent of Cannes. Both festivals have been in existence for over 50 years. 65 for Cannes and 52 for Annecy. Both have garnered their reputations over many years, both have great traditions and both are so important to the well-being of our industry. They bring us together to meet new friends and reconnect with people we have not seen for a while. There’s a lot of talking and a lot of walking as everyone races between meetings, having tried to squeeze in too many!
On the market side of each event, MIFA for Annecy and Marche du Cannes, Annecy is more about getting films made, whereas Cannes is about distribution and sales. Cannes is strictly Film, whereas Annecy is very much TV as well. It is the distribution aspect of Cannes that makes it a ‘must attend’. Getting a film made is one thing, getting it distributed is the key to success and that makes Cannes so important. This year I was in Cannes looking for a distribution deal for a live action / animated feature, I am co-producing, ‘Cow on the Run’.
Based on the true story of Yvonne, a cow, who on the way to the abattoir in the summer of 2011, escaped, spending 92 days evading capture, finally gaining her freedom and reuniting with her son. This is her story, told from her point of view in a live action / animated feature film.
As the film is in the very early stages of development, it was very much a ‘soft sell’ approach, just taking the opportunity to get the word out there, garner some initial interest and then, when we have the screenplay, submit it based on those initial Cannes meetings. Not that this would be my approach for every film but we believe for ‘Cow on the Run’, this would be the right strategy.
One must not forget the other key film markets that dot the calendar, beginning with Berlin in January, Toronto in September and American Film Market in Santa Monica, CA in November.
It was good to see ’Delhi Safari’, the film from Krayon Studios in Pune, India, that I discussed in my previous blogs, being presented at both festivals. In Cannes, it was through Fantastik Films, who are handling international sales. In Annecy, the film had been selected in the ‘out of competition’ section.
So what was that eye-catching headline all about, I hear you asking!
Well, it is about weight……… the number of kilos or pounds one is allowed to take on an aircraft. When we fly to these wonderful festivals, we are limited to the amount of weight we can take with us, but when we arrive and get our accreditation taken care of, we are handed a bag so full of publications that one’s first thought is, I’ll never be able to take all this home with me. In this day and age, what are we doing creating these enormous books, which are so heavy, hard to carry around and impossible to take home. Most get trashed without ever being opened and there’s the environmental issue to consider as well. Do we expect to receive these massive publications as recompense for the expensive entry fees for these events?
Wouldn’t it be easier and nicer to be handed a flash drive with all the same content available, then when needed, one can easily access the pertinent information. For most of us, we have left these heavy books in our hotel room, making them less than helpful.
This is some weight that is easy to lose, let’s drop those pounds!
So, until the next time I am, ‘up in the air’!