In just a few days the 67th edition of the Cannes Film Festival will be taking place in the South of France. For two weeks, the small city's heartbeat will be the thousands of film professionals, stars and glitteraties that migrate to the Côte d'Azur in order the attend the most glamorous event in the world (in my opinion anyway). I have been lucky to attend the festival twice in my filmmaking career so far (with short films as part of the Canadian delegation) and learned a few things about the logistics of the mythical festival along the way. With many filmmakers about to attend the festival for the first time or planning to take the trip in a few years, I wanted to share a few of these things here on the blog.

So you are an artist and you refuse to be judged on superficial things such as the way you dress. I feel you. And 99% of the time, I would say that you are right and can wear whatever you want. But this is Cannes. Not only is it one of the most  chic cities in the world, but the festival prides itself on being a glamorous event through and through. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
There are 3 types of outfits you will need. First, if you want to attend the premieres of Official Selection Films and walk Les marches du Palais, the festival's famous red carpet, you'll have to play by the Festival's rule. The dress code is black tie; women are expected to show up in formal dresses or gowns and men must wear the traditional black 5 piece tuxedo. If it's true that the girls can bend the rules a bit (I've walked the red carpet with a lady in a tuxedo in 2012), the festival is very strict on menswear and you shouldn't take the chance of being refused access, which absolutely does happen (and is probably kind of heartbreaking). Don't have a tux? Consider renting one in Cannes, to travel more lightly (you should however reserve in advance) or see if you can borrow one from a friend (this is also true for formal dresses). You'll also need day wear that is professional and light, and present you in your best lite. Remember: cinema is very competitive field and the devil is in the details. And your clothes do play a role in your success. Thirdly, don't forget to pack something for stormy weather as beach side temperatures can often be unpredictable. In 2012, it poured for 4 days straight, making it incredibly challenging to be chic (or even just look presentable at business meeting really). My recommandation is having at least one pair of comfey shoes and a cute rain coat, just in case. 

Cannes is a small city that becomes overpopulated during the festival. You may choose to stay in a further location or a neighbouring town (La Bocca for example) but I personally recommend staying in the center of Cannes as the festival locations are in a very condensed area and the transportation system isn't the most convenient; with barely no public transits and few cabs (if any), you'll appreciate being within walking distance of the Festival.
Both times I attended the festival, I stayed in an apartment I shared with some colleagues of the industry and it had some definite pros.  For one, it's much cheaper than a hotel room (about a third of the price in general). Not to mention that it allows you can to save on food as you have access to a full kitchen. Cannes is a two weeks festival and eating 3 meals a day on the Croisette can be very pricey. Being able to grocery shop and cook at least some meals is a huge money saver. You'll also find it really great to have a place where you can meet and invite potential future collaborators in a less intimate setting than a hotel room (and it's also rad for having your own after parties!!). I was lucky to share the apartment of the acadian delegation in Cannes both times I attended and although the last time around we may have pushed it a bit (I think there were 6 of us in there), I made memories I will never forget.

When in your homeland, you are one of many local filmmakers. When you are in Cannes, you are one of the few filmmakers from your country to be in attendance. This opens a canal of communication with you country film bureaus and institutions that you can take advantage of to make the most of your festival experience.
A few weeks before flying to Cannes, you should contact the film institutions of your part of the world (Telefilm Canada and SODEC for me) to let them know you will be on site, so they can add you and your production company to their repertory of local filmmakers in attendance. Once you get to the festival, visit the International Village and find your country's tent to see what events they are hosting and make sure you are on the invitation lists. Make sure to visit the other country's tents as well to see what networking activities they are offering or party they are hosting.

Don't be fooled but all the parties, djs and starlets: you came to Cannes for work! Being part of the Cannes Film festival is an amazing opportunity in your career. Embarrassing yourself by getting drunk on the first night of the festival is not the great impression you want to make.
Keep your alcool in check. Cannes is a celebration, and a very fancy one too. Champagne flows everywhere you look and open bar are the norm at the events and parties. Everybody enjoys itself in Cannes and having a few drinks it's all good. But have some breakfast before you start drinking champagne on the beach, will y'a?!

The Cannes Film Festival is a bit like a circus. The most magical and impressive circus you have ever seen. You'll have glitters in your eyes from beginning to end and it might pass by so fast you don't see it go by. Plan half a day (of a couple of hours at least) to  do something more tourist-like or non work relate. Visit one of the breath taking beaches of to walk around Le Suquet, rent a motorcycle and drive to Italy (only an hour away). You are on la Côte d'Azur, enjoy it!
And  while you are at it, give yourself a pat on the back for being at the Cannes Film Festival amongst some of the most genius and inspiring artists of our time! If you are anything like me, that's a major dream come true. Sure I may not have made the Official Selection yet, but your carrer builds itself on those stones. Make sure to breathe it in, thank your lucky star, and then get back to work ;)

If you are attending the festival this year, I'm a bit jealous  ... I mean have the best time ever! Virginie XO

PS: Extra tip for vegetarians: There is a boulangerie every corner in Cannes, they usual have home made pizzas, salads and quiches on top of amazing pastries. As a vegetarian it will kind of save your life as most of the local restaurants propose meat based menus.