A data-led analysis on how to survive the Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes Film Festival and Market are just around the corner. It’s a mad mix of five-star movies, five-minute meetings and five-Euro bottles of water.

To help attendees get the most out of their trip, I have gone through my archives of Cannes research, and conducted some new research, to see what a data-led analysis can reveal.

I’ve boiled down the key points to just eight main takeaways, with links to explore each in more detail.

1. The opening weekend is the time to be there

Over the years, I have conducted numerous studies into when people attend top film festivals and the opening weekend always comes out on top.  This year that means the 18th and 19th of May.

In 2016, I interviewed 575 …

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55 tips for attending the Sundance Film Festival

An annual stalwart of independent film, the Sundance Film Festival, kicks off in a couple of weeks.

In order to help those who are attending this year, I reached out to over a thousand past Sundance attendees to build a list of tips for surviving (and thriving) at the Sundance Film Festival.

This year, the festival is being held unusually late, starting on Thursday 24 January and finishing on Sunday 3rd February – only the second ever Sundance that has spilt over into February.

So here we have it. The tips below come from Sundance veterans with a combined total of over 600 trips to the festival.

Prepare, prepare, prepare
  • Arrive a day before your first meeting or event in order to get the lay of …
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How many festival-nominated movies get theatrical distribution?

This weekend, I was having lunch with friends and they recommended a movie they had seen at the Locarno Film Festival earlier in the summer. I came home and looked it up, only to discover that there were no plans for the film to be released theatrically in the UK.

I have previously studied how many Cannes-nominated films reached UK cinemas and found it to be quite high (84% of movies nominated in 2015).  This got me thinking: how representative of the festival circuit is Cannes?

Cannes is probably the best-known and most prestigious festival in the world, so we would expect that more of their nominated movies get a full release than films at other festivals.  But by how much? Let’s take a look.

How many …
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How “popular” are Oscar-nominated movies?

A few weeks ago, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced three changes coming to the Oscars from 2020:

  • Sooner – The ceremony will be held earlier than in previous years, moving from towards the end of February to towards the start.
  • Shorter – The telecast will be shorter, with ‘lesser’ awards announced during advertising breaks.
  • Studio-friendlier – The introduction of a new category “designed around achievement in popular film“.

The response from the industry was swift and largely negative. I’m not going to comment on the efficacy of the changes, but I am interested in looking at how ‘popular films’ have fared in Oscars past.

Presumably, part of the reason for the new category is that the Academy feels that many of the movies most enjoyed by film …

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Gender diversity among film professionals working in sales and distribution

Between filmmakers and film audiences lie a complex network of middlemen, distributors and sub-distributors.  They play a vital role in the film value chain, ensuring that films are available all over the world in all manner of formats to all types of audiences.

This side of the industry is less visible than most other aspects, for a number of reasons.  Firstly, they don’t interact directly with the public the way cinemas do.  Secondly, their work is not visually interesting.  Film fans enjoy behind-the-scenes footage from movie shoots but I doubt behind the scenes of a negotiating re-licensing deal would have the same appeal.  Finally, it’s a fairly small sector with a relatively low number of people working in it (certainly compared to …

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What do Cannes-nominated short films have in common?

In just under a week’s time, the 2018 Cannes Film Festival will come to a close and the winners of the top prizes will be announced.  I’ve looked at the feature films nominated for the Palme d’Or, the festival’s top award, in previous articles (here, here, here, here and here).

So today I am going to turn to the main competition’s little sister – the Short Film Palme d’Or (or Palme d’Or du Court Métrage, to give it its French name).

I looked at all films nominated for the Short Film Palme d’Or between the first Cannes film festival in 1946 and this year (2018).

How many short films are nominated for the Palme d’Or?

Including this year’s nominees, 1,211 short films have been in the running …

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What do Oscar-winning short films have in common?

A week ago, British filmmakers Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton achieved the dream of so many short filmmakers – their names were read out at the Oscars and they scooped the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film for  The Silent Child.

So I thought it was a good moment to take a look back and what types of short films have been nominated and victorious at the Academy Awards.

A short history of short films at the Oscars

The Oscars are the annual awards given out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  The Academy Awards began in 1929 and by 1934 they were already being called ‘the Oscars’.  The moniker’s origin is disputed, coming either from Walt Disney, from Bette Davis’ husband or …

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48 trends reshaping the film industry: Part 4 – Industry changes

This is the last instalment in a four-part series chronicling 48 trends and changes in the film industry.

To compile this list, I have been back through all of my old research, conducted new projects, read outside research and solicited suggestions from my industry readership (thank you to everyone who contributed). The result is a list of 48 trends and changes affecting the film industry.  For readability, I have split them into four groups:

  • Development and finance
  • Cast, crew and production
  • Distribution and exhibition
  • Industry changes (see below)
  • 37. Cannes festival and market are getting bigger

    The Cannes festival (“Festival de Cannes”) and film market (“Marché du Film”) are the biggest events in the industry calendar and attract film professionals from all over the world.   The 2005 Cannes festival and market …

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    The London Film Festival by numbers

    The 61st annual London Film Festival kicks off this week, with a programme of 242 feature films from 67 countries around the world. 

    So I thought I’d take a quick look at the festival and its films.

    The London Film Festival by numbers

    Last year, the London Film Festival screened to a total audience of 184,000 people, making it the UK’s largest film festival by a big margin. 

    And it’s growing; the 2016 attendance figure is 70% higher than a decade ago.

    Note: I could not find the figures for 2002 and 2005 but the festival did run.

    Good value

    One possible reason for this large attendance is that tickets compare favourably with average cinema ticket prices in London.  A few years ago, I looked at the average …

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    What’s changed in the world of film festivals?

    Just over a year ago I published a long piece about the huge changes we’ve witnessed in the film festival market over the past fifteen years.  It covered the emergence of online submission service Withoutabox, how the industry fell in love with Withoutabox, how it then fell out love thanks to poor service and monopolistic practices (due to their all-powerful patent) and finally the emergence of a rival, FilmFreeway.

    If you’ve not read the piece then I recommend you do now as (a) it’s quite an entertaining, shocking story and (b) it will provide context for today’s article.

    A year later, I thought I’d check in and see what’s changed.  I spoke to Withoutabox, FilmFreeway and senior people within major film festivals.  Throughout the article, I …

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