Cannes 2011 - #1


Here’s a little update on the main things we have learned at the first day of Producers Workshop in Cannes.


On the first night a panel of some very experienced professional Cannes visitors gave some general tips and thoughts about Cannes and the business in general.

Sydney Levine

Sydney is the writer of SydneysBuzz at She has many many years of experience in the aquisition of films and shares some facts with us.

 Cannes is 450 sales agents who aquires licensing rights to 4200 films and sell them to distributors in 60 different territories.

 As a producers you need to know what is sold by whom.

 Vairety, Screen International and Cannes market are important magazines to read to keep up to date with the market and all the deals that are being made. What kind of deal to you want for your film?

Use the Cannes map. Find the people that are relevant to you to talk to and then find them on the map.

Know who you want to see. – It should be because they sell films similar to your project.

 Keep in mind:

- Everyone you meet, you are going to meet again. Everyone is on their way up and down the ladder. Make your best impression on everyone. The one you feel only stands in your way because you want to talk to the boss today, can be the boss in a few years. Be respectful to everyone. However if someone is too busy to be polite to you, don’t take it personally.

 When you are walking around the market and eventually approaching the booth with the people you want to talk to you have to observe the culture in that booth. Are they friendly? Joking? Or more formal?

 At a party, never interrupt people even if you have found the one you have looked for forever. People look like they are just hanging out – they are really doing business.

Good information to be picked up at Here you find mostly American news, but also a good blog network. It is also useful to read about the american distributors and what they are currently buying in case you are looking to sell your film in the US. They also have a good rights roundup.

In Toronto and at Sundance it might be a good idea to use a producers representative to rope in the buyers.

Are you getting close to doing a deal? Befpre you decide anything – get a lawyer! You are going to need help on the legal issues.


Useful links:


Dean English

Dean is a Canadian producer. He is sharing some Cannes tips and hints with us:

-       Talk to people and try to see things from their point of view.

-       The deal you are proposing has to make sense for both sides. If this is not the case, it doesn’t help if you both love the idea.

-       Never make any assumptions

-       Listen

-       Encourage people to talk

-       Do your homework! Are the people you are talking to looking for independent films at all?

-       Be in the mood for festival love. Be prepared for improvising.

-       Be in the mood for discovery. Can YOU be the discovery for somebody else?

-       Dismiss nobody. You never know where people will end up.


Do  you think the film business is about the passion for a great film? Oh no. The film business is based on fear and greed.  – Fear of missing the next big project. Greed, ”what will be my part of the cake?” Pick out a sales agent or distributor ans look at what else they are representing in the market which actually is their bread and butter.

Cannes is the key stone event of the whole year. If you can afford to, you should also og to Berlin, Toronto and AFM.

REMEMBER:  You are first of all pitching yourself, more than the project.  Prepare your pitch. It’s all about getting a conversation going. What is the hottest information about yourself?

Know who you are talking to. If you happen to actually know something about them they’ll be flattered. Know what it is that you want that they can give.


Christopher Thoke

German producer coming to Cannes for 16 years.

Here is his 13 steps on Cannes and the film business in general:


- There is no Cannes! The city of Cannes doesn’t exist during the film festival. There is just a global event. Deals made in Cannes amounts to about a billion of dollars. It is the next biggest press event after the olympics.

2.     - Arthouse meets ice cream! Cannes is often about projects with an artistic vision – but ever so often about people who doesn’t care about arthouse at all. Salesagents that see content as a necessary evil and and looking for films with a nice, catchy title. For some people it doesn’t matter what they sell…

3.     - Meet people! US people are most often to be found at the Carlton and the Majestic. Most people structure their day in 30 minute pieces. When you are meeting somebody, make sure you fit into the 30 minutes, including for the person to get to you. Call the person you are meeting in the morning of the actual day and reconfirm your appointment. Write down the key facts of the meeting on the back of the business card.

4.     - Listen to the big guys! You might find a panel with some of the real big guys who has something useful to say. That way you can get a lot of hidden information you never normally can get access to. This is among the beautiful things that might happen in Cannes. Check out the program of the Kodak pavillion and the US and UK pavillion programs.

5.     - Last exit ARTE! ARTE is an important partner in a tough market place. They have reception lunch for producers at their boat. Try to organize an invitation for that reception.

6.     - Where to find talent for your next project! See as many films as possible. On the last lørdag they show the whole competition program.

7.     - Think energy. Marché du film in Cannes is a long distance run. Wednesday/ Thursday is warming up to the first weekend which will be intense. The second week people are more accessible if they are still there.  That is the best time to approach sales agents. They should never be approached for the first time during the festival. Make your appointments in advance.

8.     - Preparation helps! Cinando gives a lot of transparency and contact information to a lot of people. Bring enough business cards! If Cannes is all about informal networking and business done at the parties, do I really need the expensive badge? YES! Vecause Cannes is actually a very closed event and you need your badge everywhere.

9.     - Grasp all business magazines! Too much talking & too much walking. Even if you get tired, grasp the business magazines and ship them home so you can update yourself when you get back in the office. The quality of the information in the Cannes business magazines is unque.

10.  - Celebrity spotting! They are very hidden and seem to not be here at all. You can find them in the bar of hotell du cap and the Chanel reception.

11. - -  Parties are business. NOT fun!

12.    -  Business lunch! If you want a french business partner you have to eat lunch together. Le palme d’or is the best restaurant on the côte d’azur with 3 michelin stars and have reasonable luch offers. Otherwise there is free coffee at the market.


13.    -  Understanding Cannes! This is simply not possible. There’s not a more beautiful place to watch films.




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