EXCLUSIVE: In what is an ever-changing image, the Cannes Film Festival is planning to set up a three- to four-day “pre-screening” event in May or June in response to industry demand.
Deadline intends that the event will be virtual and will be purely based on industry projections, without a traditional physical market, and will likely feature both market and festival titles.
Sources said the reasons for the Cannes move are twofold. First, I understand there were discussions about hosting a rival event in May, potentially run by IFTA (which runs the American Film Market) with CAA participation.
Second, there was intense pressure from French sales agents and distributors for an event to take place early enough for the former to set up summer shoots, and the latter to release films in theaters. into the main summer months, with renewed optimism now for a clearer picture of the pandemic by then.
If the event features festival titles, that means Cannes must announce its schedule well in advance of the scheduled July 6-17 dates for the main event. It’s a similar situation in Berlin, which had to unveil its program ahead of the European film market and well before its physical event scheduled for June.
It is not yet seen how this affects the Cannes plans for July, it remains a constantly evolving image. There were rumors that Cannes was exploring save dates for fall if July was canceled, but that idea is complicated by the fact that the Palais will be booked in October by other events.
Deadline has contacted Cannes, IFTA and CAA for comment.