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THE RECENT CHANGES IN CANNES FILM FESTIVAL Antonio Ho - May 18, 2019

At its 72nd year, Cannes Film Festival is no doubt one of the oldest film festivals of its kind in terms of size, glamour, and influence. Throughout the years they have been changing things up every year as all things do, which is not unexpected. In this article I am going to highlight some of the changes and trends that have been happening in recent years whether its by the Festival itself or perhaps external pressure.

1. Attack on Netflix

While the Marché (market) is growing with companies and individuals who are all about video streaming platforms, the Festival itself seems to be taking quite a different view. We are reminded that in the past Netflix’s film, Okja, was very well received by the audience. However, the Festival view is that the movies they produced should not be in the competition because they are generally not for theatrical release which Okja was for the purpose of entering into the competition. The year after the Festival added a new rule making films only eligible to enter the competition if they are not being available in VOD services for three years after their theatrical release. This is no doubt a direct stab at Netflix knowing very well that their business is all about VOD.

2. The Rise of Female Filmmakers

On a positive note, it is clear that by a simple glance one can note the huge growth. The impact of the #MeToo and other feminism movement is definitely being seen at the Cannes Film Festival. With many brave women coming forward, the traditionally male dominated grounds are now with more open spaces for female film makers. I can’t wait to see what these ladies will be bringing to the Festival in the near future.

3. The Ban of Selfies on The Red Carpet

Everyone loves walking the red carpet. It is the representation of prestige and honor to be invited. Cannes Film Festival is the only few who allows the public audience to walk the red carpet and into the cinema. What better way to commemorate the moment in the millennial age by taking a selfie? Cannes Film Festival seems to think otherwise, however. When the Cannes Film Festival delegate general Thierry Frémaux was asked about this during an interview with Screen International in 2018, his response was “When you go to church, to pray, you don’t start taking selfies.” Did he just compare a Film Festival to the Church?

The times are clearly changing and it seems to be the case that the Festival is having trouble keeping up. Very much like technology has been shaking up the industry, the Festival will have to find a way to maintain the glamour they very much enjoy while integrating into the new era.