John here – I’m at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival press lounge, waiting for interviews with screenwriters and filmmakers at the world’s most iconic film festival. I’ll be updating this blog with interviews and bits of news as I come across it.
Meanwhile, please feel free to send us questions on Twitter here – and if you’re also at Cannes, stop by and say hello! Currently I’m watching the live “conference” with this year’s jury. Guillermo said that they’re not a panel of stern judges saying what’s good or bad, rather they’re a group of cross-disciplinary artists who are celebrating great film.
- Joel & Ethan COEN – Presidents – Directors, Writers, Producers / United States
- Rossy DE PALMA Actress / Spain
- Sophie MARCEAU Actress, Director / France
- Sienna MILLER Actress / United Kingdom
- Rokia TRAORÉ Composer, Singer-songwriter / Mali
- Guillermo DEL TORO Director, Writer, Producer / Mexico
- Xavier DOLAN Director, Writer, Producer, Actor / Canada
- Jake GYLLENHAAL Actor / United States
Some background on the Cannes Film Festival:
The Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) was introduced in 1955 as the festival’s top award. Two Palme d’Or are given every year – one for feature film and one for short film. (The 2015 ScreenCraft Short Screenplay Contest jury features Alice Kharoubi, head of the Cannes Film Festival Shorts Programme.)
The Palme d’Or gets all kinds of special treatment – the 24-karat gold palm is couched on cut crystal and presented in a case of blue leather with a white suede lining.
Equally as important as the festival is the film market which draws thousands of film professionals. The film market (or, Marche du Film) is where all the film sales companies hold meetings with media buyers from around the world. These media buyers include theatrical distributors, TV channels, online streaming services and even airlines.
And along with the festival and the market are the business meetings and parties. Cannes has become a massive social event for financiers to meet producers and for foreign sales companies and distributors to meet with film professionals (usually producers, agents and mangers).
Don’t know the difference between “Un Certain Regard” and “Out of Competition?”
There are lots of categories and it can get a bit confusing with all the screenings, awards and juries. The most important lineup is the Official Selection which is divided into these categories:
Competition – 20 films in the running for the Palme d’Or, shown in the main Theatre Lumiere.
Un Certain Regard – 20 films chosen from around the world that often display debuts and experimental techniques
Out of Competition – Films that do not compete for the Palme d’Or due to not fitting the criteria, but the committee wants to recognise
Special Screenings – Films shown in a specially-adapted environment, chosen by the committee
Cinefondation – Shots and medium-lengths exclusively from film students worldwide
Short Films – These compete for the Short Film Palme d’Or
Films for Competition, Out of Competition and Un Certain Regard must have been produced in the 12 months prior to the festival. All films at Cannes are world premieres, screening publicly for the first time ever.
The mandate for all entries is as follows:
“The spirit of the Festival de Cannes is one of friendship and universal co-operation. Its aim is to reveal and focus attention on works of quality in order to contribute to the progress of the motion picture arts and to encourage the development of the film industry throughout the world.”
There are two main juries: one for feature films and another for short films and Cinefondation. Un Certain Regard and the Camera d’Or (best first-time film) are also chosen by juries. There is a jury president, which last year was Jane Campion. This year the role will be shared between two people for the first time: Joel and Ethan Coen. The brothers won the Palme d’Or in 1991 for Barton Fink.
Judges vote by secret ballot, with the majority of votes determining the winner. And to be clear: the brothers Coen will each get a separate vote.