Confessions of the Press at Cannes Film Festival
Welcome, you’re sharing an all access pass with about 4000 other journalists around the world. They scan you each time you watch a movie and they take a photo of you too.
With this badge you have access to a computer room and a wifi hotspot, but most importantly, there is a nespresso bar open from 8:30-6:30 that puts a smile on everyone’s face. There’s a wall describing the intensity level of each beverage. Another espresso forte, s’il vous plait!
Press people get top priority for the press screenings that happen every morning at the Grand Lumiere Theatre at 8:30AM sharp. Get there for 7:45 and you’ll have pretty good seating options (there’s 2300 seats to be filled, after all). If you miss the morning screening, there’s usually a catch-up session behind the Palais at around noon. But line up super early for this one, the theatre is way smaller! You can also watch the complete competition line up on the last day of the festival before the closing act.
Prepare to get hustled around like cattle. Most of the time you’ll be accidentally waiting in the wrong line. There is an hierarchy to press. From lowest to highest it goes: yellow, blue, pink and white. This is determined by your outlet’s popularity and the amount of coverage you supply and how many years you have been supplying it. Enjoy!
When you find some free time, make your way over to the Marche du Film that is on the other side of the building. You can see all the movies that never made it (what, not Juan of the Dead? Better luck next year). There is an area for pretty much every country in the world, a documentary area and a short film area. Be prepared to get a bunch of weird emails from people saying they’re so thankful you watched their film. There’s no getting out of the badge scan!
One thing is for sure – press is at the bottom of the food chain at the Cannes Film Festival. You are not welcome at the premieres since you have a screening dedicated to you and yours alike every morning. You are not invited to any parties because like all struggling journalists you probably only have a tweed jacket and skinny jeans and a scraggly notebook. Not really satisfying the dress code, and also you’re not a baller from Monte Carlo that can potentially invest in a film.
Take a deep breath and get ready to fight with amateur paparazzi, families on vacation, lovers that need to get a room and film students trying to catch a break. There’s a movie to screen about every hour of the day and interviews are limited to nominations from the distributors in your respective countries. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.