Visiting the Cannes Film Festival – Some thoughts from and for the aspiring film professional

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Uri Aviv is the Founder of Utopia, a film festival dedicated to science fiction and fantastic film in Tel-Aviv.

The Cannes Film Festival is the most important film event in the world. Happily, it also happens to be the best film market for me to visit as a director of a film festival in Israel, in terms of geography and timing relevance.

Continual annual presence at Cannes is premiere to ones’ stature in the international film industry. If you’re there - you’re in the game. Cannes is absurdly expensive to attend, and while there are always options to conserve resources - and the more veteran you are in the festival, the more you know of more such options - there are certain basics you do not skimp on.

First and foremost is location, location, location. Cannes is visited by 100,000 film and media professionals from the world over. Being in the center of things means also taking a place in the city center, next to the Palais du Festival, where things happen.

Secondly is how you present yourself - from business cards and proper website, to a business suit by day, black tie by night (dresses for women, of course). These are imperative, as Cannes is all about looks and glitz. For some occasions they are mandatory…

Thirdly, this is the premier ceremony celebrating passion for cinema. We toil all year long for ludicrously small amount of money, if at all, to do what we love. It is important to enjoy this great celebration - once a year indulge, not for the entire festival, but once during it, treat yourself to a good dinner with friends from around the world, like-minded individuals who share your passion and excitement. Once.

All of these are the building blocks for the most important networking experience of the year for me: promoting my festival and association, our projects, myself and other projects I’m involved with, my friends’ and colleagues’ projects, making new colleagues, new friends and establishing new projects…

The previous years’ attendance, the lessons learnt, friendships and connections made, are very much noticeable and extremely helpful. The confidence of knowing your way around this huge circus, the feeling you have friends and colleagues in this huge “balagan,” and actually seeing some order in the chaos.

The ROI Micro Grant is what enables me to attend this annual celebration. If it were not for ROI I would not be able to afford attending the Cannes Festival, attendance that is crucial to my continual professional development. For this opportunity and support I am forever grateful.