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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Reflections on Cannes 2011


In my last podcast with Danny Stack I talked about the two sides of Cannes; the festival and the market.

My time in Cannes is spent mostly in the market, meeting people and talking about possible projects. With about 25 meetings in 5 days I rarely get to see as many festival films as I would like, if any!

Here are my three specific thoughts on the film business following my visit to Cannes.

One: Comedy is in demand. 
There were the normal thrillers seeking distribution of course. But the people I spoke to were on the look out for really good comedy. Funny isn't easy of course. However, the demand is there, according to the completely random business people I spoke to, so time to push that comedy script.

Two: Remember your offline work.
Using online methods to spread the word and gain attention for your film is great. But don't forget the old 'real world' methods too. Only a few years ago you would see people in Cannes dressing up, doing gimmicks, handing out fliers - anything to draw people in. This year, I didn't see anyone. So the time is ripe to bring this kind of showmanship back. After all, it will easy to stand out if with no competition.

Three: Tax changes - but does it matter?
You don't need to know the details, and certainly I can't cover the new rules here, but recent changes to the EIS scheme mean this is a good time for private investors to put their money into film. Because the investment is written off against tax it means that even if the film is a total flop then the investor doesn't lose all their money, only the part after income tax.
However, sometimes this isn't always the great news it seems. Some investors will be offshore and so this benefit probably won't apply. However, as one producer said to me "Even with no tax help at all, the most anyone can lose is all their investment. The most they can gain is infinite"

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