It’s nearly time again, the buzz word is Cannes! Every year thousands of hopefuls descend upon Cannes, ready to meet producers, sales agents, see films, walk the red carpet, and more. The lure of one of the most popular and celebrity-studded festivals of the calendar year is too much to ignore.
Having travelled there five times myself, I’m no stranger to the glamour, long nights, sore feet, and champagne only diet. It’s everything it says on the Kellogg’s packet.
Cannes is like being at a stylish party that goes on for three days.
It’s also not for the faint-hearted, so if you’ve decided you absolutely must go, here’s a list of a few things to pack, and to make sure you’ve considered. This list isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re going to be attending as part of a production or a film that is officially entered in the Cannes Film Festival (not the Short Film Corner). However, if you’re a punter wanting to join the excitement for the first time, or you know something you’ve acted in will be in the Marche being sold, this might be your perfect time to sample the unrivaled glamour of a film festival in the south of France.
When is it? The 69th Festival de Cannes takes place this year from the 11th to 22nd May 2016
Accreditation: The deadline for official accreditation to the festival this year was the 1st April so your only option left will be a late application or potentially a Short Film Corner entry (though I am certain this cut-off date is fast approaching).
Remember, Cannes is really for the market, not the actors. Yes, celebrities and non-celebrities alike flock in each year to be a part of the festival, but what really goes on behind the production company’s walls, and within the Marche, is what really matters. Tens of thousands of hopefuls are there to sell their movie dreams.
As a result, actors are only a small portion of the accreditation and it’s very hard for them to even get the approval, so it’s best to get in early each year. If you were clever enough to enroll early and have received your approval, then step right over to the next section.
If you haven’t, fear not. Once you arrive in Cannes there is actually an office where you can pay to get day passes to the Marche. So if you’re feeling like you want to be part of the business end of the festival, or schmooze your way through the never-ending sea of tents representing every country around the globe (all to the backdrop of the Cannes Croisette), then you may want to head over and buy yourself a 3-day pass. Remember, this is a tax deduction if you’re a working actor; keep your receipts to discuss with your accountant.
How to get there: The easiest and cheapest way from London is to fly into Nice and catch a bus to Cannes from outside the airport terminal. Easyjet and British Airways have regular flights going in and out of Nice, and at this time of year you can still get the odd bargain if you are willing to travel early or late, but do be quick.
If you’ve got loads of extra cash, or enough friends landing at the same time as you, why not haggle with the local taxi drivers for a good price to be driven straight into Cannes from the airport? I’ve done this in years past and it’s certainly faster than the bus. It’s also useful if one of your group speaks fluent French.
And hey, if you fancy it, you can even catch a helicopter into Cannes (and let’s be honest, I really hope to travel this way at least once in my life).
Where to stay: If you’re still working out an accommodation, be sure to look at other actor/director forums to see if anyone is posting that they’re looking to fill a space. Quite often, by simply asking friends, places will pop up. Circumstances change for people and you may find a lucky steal last minute. It is, however, better to book as far in advance as possible. See this wonderful Cannes guide site for some great all-round information on Cannes, along with accommodation options.
It is definitely best to stay as close as possible to La Croisette. Once you’re in Cannes, you won’t want to miss a thing. Trust me. The parties, the events, the screenings, the free Nespresso pop-up. Everything. And that means you also won’t want a 25 minute walk home every night after you’ve been standing up for 8 hours. Plan to stay close and make it easy for yourself.
If all else fails and you’re miles away, do what I saw one clever producer do one year – leave a pair of flip flips hidden in a plant in the middle of La Croisette. I’m not kidding. As we left one party to saunter over to the other side, nearer the water, she fetched the flip flops out of the planter stand, donned them, and held her heels till we arrived by the yachts. Genius if you ask me!
What to pack: Apart from the gala dresses, day dresses, a summer suit, bow ties (men can’t walk the red carpet without one, and ties are not allowed), jewelry and fancy shoes, here are some other things to consider including:
- Flip flops (read above)
- Berocca (to help you keep going after day 2)
- Plasters/Band-aids (those made for high heels are wonderful)
- Wedges for daytime walking and networking
- An umbrella (the amount of times I’ve had to buy one there!)
- Business cards
- A tiny black book (to keep notes the next morning of who you met or want to follow up with)
- An iPad or smart device for logging on when you have some downtime
- Skin made of tougher stuff (for all those times you don’t get into that party you really want to go into)
- A smile that can light a room (you really are going to have a wonderful time!)
Above all, enjoy, embrace, and do it all with grace. Cannes is definitely a lovely event if you are clever enough to pace yourself and enjoy the long ride.