Cannes International Film Festival in France was chosen as a single topic for an editorial by billy LAx because of its significance in establishing a barometer to judge each year’s slate of Art-House Indie films. Particularly in 2020, due to the pandemic hitting at nearly the same time as the kick-off of Cannes forcing its shutdown, this international film festival, or lack thereof, became even a more important topic of the Indie film world. Please leave us your opinion in the comments section.
As a new director, putting together my first film, the Cannes International Film Festival is the ultimate of the Independent Film Festivals and Markets. There certainly is something exotic… something sexy… something special about going to Cannes sitting close to the French Riviera. Who could turn down that trip? To think of all the excited filmmakers vying for one of the selected fifty-six films, drinking and eating in the quaint French cafes seems to be an experience one would never forget. And I am talking about just going, let alone being that director that has one of the fifty-six films.
Possibly soon it will be my turn with my flick that I have, seemingly, the whole world donating to the production. I can hardly wait to watch that first batch of film watchers as they take in the experience that has been in my mind for a year now. I certainly have a severe case of Festival fever and if I had to choose one fever over another, it would be Cannes fever all the way. One of the reasons Cannes is the main festival to do well at, besides of its prestige, is that it is one of the first of the years. A selected or awarded film at Cannes propels the film in the following festivals and markets.
Hats off to Wes Anderson and his “French Dispatch” this year who was stamped at Cannes and selected. Bill Murry, even at his age, is still the comedy actor that can make it work. It is a masterpiece and made for Cannes with its European stage set. Coupled with a partially American theme, it should bring down the entirety of world audiences.
Another film that was chosen in the top fifty-six was Disney Pixel’s “SOUL” directed by the Head of Pixel, Peter Docter. Docter’sstarred animated characters with Voice Overs by Jamie Fox and Tina Fey. SOUL is a deep-thinking movie about the star falling through a manhole in New York City and entering the afterlife only to find out that he got there by accident and needs to find his way out. In his stereotypic film theme, Docter moves his audience into asking themselves questions like, “what happens after I die.”
The 2020 Cannes was one of the first casualties of the virus, forcing the closure of the festival doors for the second time in history. The first was a consequence of World War II The festival owners did not award the winners but did stamp fifty-two films allowing them to reap the benefits of Cannes in their future festival and market appearances. Being a director, I can feel the frustration and disappointment of those directors that we’re fortunate to create one of the best movies of the year, only to get it tamped down by a virus. Lots of the Cannes activities, as well as other film festival and market activities, were moved online and the new social distancing and cleaning methods were put into place, making the usually close wheeling and dealing to take new forms that most likely are not so conducive to business. Many questions still to be answered such as how long will the bad for business effects of the virus last and what part of the new way of business will the industry keep. Possibly a lot of the new virtual business process is good in that it cuts costs.