Has the Cannes Film Festival Been Canned?
By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher
The Cannes Film Festival and Cannes Film Market are some of the most important movie festivals and markets in the world (just as some festivals are important in the TV world). When I’m teaching HOW TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD (WITHOUT LOSING YOUR SOUL), I make the suggestion to presell your movie at the Cannes marketplace tied to the Festival.
Last year, 2019, several articles came out that the faith-based movie I CAN ONLY IMAGINE had a very successful sales record at the Cannes marketplace. Every year, several Hollywood magazines publish how much foreign distributors that gather at Cannes are willing to pay for the best movies, the medium movies and the lower quality movies. Of course, they don’t use those terms.
However, the Cannes Film Festival features a lot of small movies and foreign movies that are absolutely abhorrent. When my wife joined me one year at the Cannes Film Festival, we went to see a highly publicized Argentine movie that started with so much bloody sexual violence that we walked out of the theater. After us, most of the audience walked out, including the Los Angeles Times reviewer. It was that disgusting. The next day, the Cannes daily newspaper said this was the first time people had walked out of screening.
The number of screenings is overwhelming. Once, I brought a brilliant good friend of MOVIEGUIDE® and his wife to cover some of the movies while I reviewed others. After two days, his wife told me in anger that I was trying to kill her husband.
For reviewers, screenings start in the early morning (sometimes 6 am) and end at 11 pm (and then it is an hour at least to get back to your lodging), with very short breaks (sometimes 15 minutes) in between, where you have to write the review and send it off to America or your country of origin from the press room, where all the computers are taken by other press.
The schedule is so tough that reporters have actually gotten into fistfights. For instance, when I saved a seat for my friend for a George Lucas press Q&A event. He was late because two French reporters got into a fistfight as to who could get into the event.
Since I had the top accreditation, I not only got into the screenings but also the parties, including one hosted by the mayor of the city. For many of these filmmakers and distributors, part of the allure of Cannes is the sex, the drugs and the late-night parties. As a Christian reviewing movies and writing articles from the biblical Christian worldview, this side of the Cannes Film Festival and Marketplace was so off-putting that I stopped going to Cannes at all. My daughter went the next year, and she never wants to return.
So, to get back to whether the Cannes Film Festival is going to be held this year. If it isn’t, it will certainly be a blessing for some of the people who go there. It might save the world from seeing a some of the worst, most immoral movies, and it might further move the entertainment industry away from the Harvey Weinstein lifestyle. However, like the movie I CAN ONLY IMAGINE, there are Christian movies that get funded and distributed around the world because of Cannes, so the alternative may be more Christians at Cannes and less of the Cannes Film Festival in Christians.