7 days in the South of France at the Cannes film festival – what did I learn? Allow me to explain….
So this years festival was my 12th year attending Cannes – I’ve missed a few years since I started going – due to the births of our two children – most recently our son so we haven’t been for two years.
Horror not so Hot?
Something that’s noticeable from previous Cannes, but even more so at this one, is the lack of Horror in the Marché – especially sales agents peddling just horror features. The stalwarts were there but this was very different to the previous Cannes attended, where you couldn’t walk five feet without seeing a giant horror poster front and centre.
Why less horror on display? Well, now that micro budget film makers have easy access to HD quality equipment/home editing systems the market has become flooded with horror movies (most of them bad), which makes it most definitely a buyers market – Sales Agents can be selective. One high-profile Sales Agent I spoke to won’t even look at found footage horror due to the quantity of bad quality films out there.
One of the first Cannes I went to was the year ‘The Blair Witch Project’ exploded, as a result EVERYONE wanted horror as there was a feeling every micro budget film could potentially be the next big money spinner. Now horror sits in amongst the other genres, the boutique sales agents have disappeared or evolved. Sales Agents have to appeal to buyers with a number of genre interests and offer every genre (and sub genre) imaginable.
One horror sub-genre that seems to be on the up and up is “Animal-horror” mash ups – due I imagine, to the success of Sharknado. This year we had ‘Panda-saurus’ – ‘Atomic Shark’ and even a zombie movie involving zoo animals ‘ZOOmbies’.
Meetings and more Meetings
This year was spent running from place to place meeting with producers, distributors and sales agents. I was in Cannes touting Science Fiction Horror ‘Dark Matter’ – notice I put the Science Fiction first – turns out Sci-fi is hot right now – phew!
Ah the parties – we were lucky enough to attend quite a few this year – special highlights had to be the launch party for the new Spandau Ballet film ‘Soul Boys of the Western World” with Tony Hadley and Steve Norman performing an awesome acoustic set.
The Thai film night party boasted the attendance of royalty in the form of Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi along with an impressive display of martial arts, onscreen presentations and a delicious Thai banquet. Thailand is fast becoming South East Asia’s production centre and boasts great locations and world-class technicians.
Films at the fest
Unlike previous years, I wasn’t able to get along to screenings of the films in competition or any of the genre fare at the smaller cinemas. I did see one film though and it made up for it. “The British Film Industry: Elitist, Deluded or Dormant?” was a fantastic documentary from Birmingham filmmakers Robin Dutta and Vinod Mahindru. A stark look at the British film industry and how it has changed since it’s heyday from the likes of Ben Kingsley, Alan Parker and Stephen Frears (to name but a few!). I urge you to see this film, its funny, and enlightening and it will make you angry. These two documentary filmmakers deserve massive points for scoring an impressive list of interviewees they intelligently engage with. You can find out more about the movie and watch the trailer here: http://www.quotafilms.com