I’ve just landed back from my third consecutive Cannes Film Festival, but my first time with a film currently in production which I am co-directing and co-producing with Haunted Hayles, They’re Outside.
For my previous two trips to Cannes I was privileged to attend Cannes as the only (to my knowledge) accredited horror film journalist for Love Horror. The accrediting system at Cannes is a weird and complicated phenomenon, with so many types of badges, and grading of those badges. Separate lanes divide you up depending on your type accreditation and status when queuing for potentially hours to see if you can possibly get into a screening.
My press pass often allowed me priority to events ahead of people of much higher status in film. Getting front row to see both separate Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood give industry talks was the biggest perk of the pass.
Unceremoniously, they decided I was having a bit too much fun with the pass, so they revoked it for this year’s Cannes which put me through the humiliation of paying for the three-day accreditation at a kiosk outside the festival. The woman behind the counter made a value judgement on my industry credentials based on my IMDb profile and decided I passed the bare minimum standards for the paid day accreditation which gave me access to no events or screenings.
I was allowed to look around the Palais, film markets and pavilions and pick up a free coffee when I wanted. Walking around the Cannes Film Festival with the lowest badge possible demarks you as bottom of the Cannes cast system.
This didn’t stop the Cannibal from making the most of his trip to Cannes, learning as much as possible about the indie horror film industry I plan to work within for the foreseeable future. Talking to numerous people around the markets, pavilions and outside the Petite Majestic, I got an invaluable insight into the current health and challenges of independent horror. Knowledge gained that will be directly put into action when promoting and selling They’re Outside.
Having no access to the official Cannes films, this was an opportunity to see any horror films that may appear in future film festivals that clash with other films I want to see at the same time in different screens.
Luckily enough, Jinga were very kind enough to allow me access to watch their Cannes slate of horror films that provided me with many hours of entertainment and gave me a mini horror film festival within Cannes.
Highlights included ‘Antrum’, a rediscovered film made in the 70s thought to be lost, that remerged many years after. The film was thought to have caused the deaths of many people who watched it decades afterwards. We were made to read a disclaimer before seeing the film and given an opportunity to leave the screening before watching what would possibly kill us or cause us serious harm from seeing the occult ritual and iconography presented to us. The music frequencies used were also designed to get under your skin. Antrum will cause debates at future film festivals, for sure.
‘Finale’, another Jinga title I attended the screening of was one those films for people of a stronger disposition. Definitely not for Grandma. It’s everything a fan of the Saw and Hostel franchises would love, but with a little dark web flavour added.
‘The Night Sitter’ was a fun home invasion/supernatural romp with lots of fun comedy thrown in. Plenty of eye candy and cool special effects that kept me entertained for an hour and half.
‘The Ice Cream Truck’ provided an outrageously enjoyable film about the developing fling between a suburban housewife with a hunky stoner college graduate, set against the backdrop of an ice cream salesman on a killing spree.
Bouncing between the drink receptions of the different pavilions and attending one of the hundreds of parties that occur is an essential part of the Cannes experience. But please do not overdo it on the free Rosé and render yourself with a bad reputation!
Spag Bol at Freddy’s, karaoke at the Railway Tavern, late night street drinks outside the Petite Majestic, rum and gingers at Brown Sugar with cheeky Heinekens at McDonalds were my way of fuelling myself outside of the festival walls.
We also gained the James Bond experience at the Monte Carlo casino and held a meeting at the fabulously decadent Majestic Hotel. The drinks were eyewatering expensive, but you can’t experience Cannes without knocking a few back amongst the richest of the rich! But I must admit that a dive bar with karaoke is more my current industry level!
I look forward to attending Cannes next year with Haunted Hayles to show off the completed version of They’re Outside to prospective industry types. See you in 2020!