Lessons Filmmakers Learn
From Cannes 2010

By Elliot Grove

Cannes 2010 was really good for me this year. I've been going long enough (since 1995) that the lure of the mega party has lost it's allure. Although I have some regret at not seeing Lady Gaga perform.

Cannes was good for me this year because for the first time I wasn't chasing the deal - deals seemed to come to me. And that was very gratifying. And for certain won't happen again.

Here's my summary of what I observerved this year at Cannes:

1. Forget the Presale

Distributors are standing shoulder to shoulder in the Riviera waiting for a finished film. Unless you have a super hot property, the equivalent of Twilight 4, forget it.

Lo To No Budget Filmmaking with Elliot Grove 2. The Power of Private Equity

Private investors now become more important. Cannes, Berlin and the American Film Market are ideal hospitality venues. Splash out a bit and see if that helps close your deals. Of the 3 markets, Cannes is definately the most glamourous. The cost of entertaining can be staggeringly expensive, however.

3. Content Content Content

Sure it helps to have stars in your film. Buyers are also very interested in the story.

4. Genre Genre Genre

As above, make sure your story fits easily into a genre blend like romantic comedy, action adventure, or very popular right now - horror blended with another genre.
Family genre is also a sure fire winner for the American Walmart Christian crowd - a major American market.

5. 3D is Hot

Make sure 3D a natural for your genre before you start production. Action, Horror, Sci-Fi, and Animation are the obvious and most in-demand 3D genres.

6. Presentation

Sales agents I met were very amazed that filmmakers still don't know how to visually present their film properly. Clear pictures, well designed titles and propely thought graphics for posters, postcards and DVD jackets are a must.

If you want to make an impression admidst all the chatter of a film market, make doubly certain your film is accompanied by distinctive and beautifully designed marketing materials.

7. Hybrid Makes Sense

Cut three versions of your film: One for cinema/DVD, one for television, and one for the web. Sales agents will love you.

8. Beware the Back End

After uncleared music rights, sdales agents next big whine is how filmmakers don't understand or appreciate the importance of the deliverables.


Yes it's picking up in the States. It will get big in Europe. Remember that VOD is just another way of saying 'digital distribution'. Digital distribution is the way everything is going. Don't fight it. Observe and try to understand. And never forget that there are many different methods available for digital distribution beyond VOD

10. Media Experts.

Cannes was over run again by self-appointed media experts and self distribution gurus giving talks and pressing flesh all over the festival. Interestingly, I met one such person whose life-style has been funded by talks all over the world for the past three years. Interestingly enough, this person has just under 500 Twitter followers. I'm no media expert, but see how many more followers at the Raindance Twitter profile! Am I bitter? No - just bemused at the sight of the blind leading the blind.

I go to Cannes to meet people face to face. And to meet new people. I track down people I want to meet 3/4 weeks ahead of time on www.cinando.com (yes it is expensive, but very accurate and powerfuil). I am still regularly trading and collaborating with people I met at my first Cannes in 1995. And hope to work with new and talented filmmakers I met this year.

Maybe 1 of them is you1

Your Comments Please

Hi, I was in Cannes for a screening of my feature REBELS WITHOUT A CLUE.
While in Cannes I have various meetings.

One meeting was with a large US sales/distribution company.
They informed me; Sci-Fi and Fantasy is "in".
Horror is over-saturated.
Romantic comedy is dead in the water unless it has major talent.
Family films still sell.
Ian Vernon

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About Elliot Grove

Elliot GroveCanadian born Elliot Grove founded Raindance Film Festival in 1993, the
British Independent Film Awards in 1998, and Raindance.TV in 2007, the Raindance Postgraduate Film Degree in 2011 and Raindance Raw Talent in 2013.

He has produced over 150 short films, and 5 feature films incuding his latest feature film, Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey. He has written eight scripts, one of which is currently in pre-production. He teaches writers and producers in the UK, Europe. Japan and America.

He has written three books which have become industry standards: RAINDANCE WRITERS LAB 2nd Edition (Focal Press 2008),  RAINDANCE PRODUCERS LAB (Focal Press 2013) and 130 PROJECTS TO GET YOU INTO FILMMAKING (Barrons 2009). His first novel THE BANDIT QUEEN is scheduled for publication next year.

Open University awarded Elliot and Honourary Doctorate for services to film education in 2009.
He is regularly interviewed. Here is an interview for Canadian television

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Lessons Filmmakers Learn From Cannes 2010