There’s a whole other side to Cannes that you probably don’t know about. It’s sometimes called “The Fringe”. Around 12,000 people registered for the Lions last year. I suspect the number is around the same this year too. But what a lot of people don’t know is that there are somewhere between five and ten thousand other folks, if not more, who descend on Cannes during festival week each year. And they don’t register. You can be sure the Cannes Lions organizers aren’t so pleased about this. So who are these people and what exactly are they up to?
Let’s flip the question first. Who registers for the Lions? Mostly agency folk, clients and anyone else interested in downloading inspiration from the talks and witnessing the awards. So who else is here at Cannes? There are producers, filmmakers and other film folk of all kinds. Then there are the dealmakers and networkers. What’re they doing here? In some cases they’re meeting the same people they meet back home. I had one exec from a large US media company tell me, “We’ve spent two million dollars to fly a bunch of us over and rent a yacht to do meetings with and throw parties for the same people we meet back in New York. It’s just a lot more fun and relaxed here.”
The parties are a lot more fun on the fringe side. The official Cannes galas are blah, no one really cares about them. Then you have the larger parties on the beaches along the Croisette- Google, Massive Music, Sizzer, Shots and more. But my favourite parties are the daytime pool parties at random villas in the hills. They’re a lot more intimate and relaxed than the massive ones on the beach and there’s often great barbecue. I say this even though Bang Bang sponsored the gigantic shots party for five years. A special mention goes to The Location Guide and Young Directors’ Award parties, which are just the most pleasant rosé-filled sundowners on the beach with a great vibe.
Two random events from this year’s edition come to mind as being worthy of mention- one tragic, the other amusing. Apparently, someone from Google UK was killed a couple of days ago. It’s all very hush-hush, no one really knows what happened other than that it was “a traffic accident”. May he RIP. On the lighter side, a random act of exhibitionism has filled timelines like crazy over the past few days. An anonymous couple was engaged in an act of extreme passion at 4 am on the red carpet outside the Palais. Someone at a party at a nearby apartment took a picture, tweeted it and it’s been trending ever since. Google it for more info...