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The Essential Guide to Cannes

Cannes - promenadeAimed at first time visitors, Shizana Arshad and Laura Horowitz at 6 Degrees Film have put together a Cannes Guide containing information on the festival itself, how to submit your film and obtain accreditation along with useful numbers and info...

What do you need to know about attending the Cannes Film Festival? What should you expect? Who gets accreditation? Find out the answers to all of this and more in our Essential Guide to the Cannes Film Festival. 6 Degrees Film will also keep you updated with all the latest information as the jury members get picked and films are selected for competition so check their website regularly:

La Legende de CannesHere's what this guide gives you:

  • Intro
  • Jury
  • Films
  • Submitting a film
  • The Film Market
  • Short Film Corner
  • Attending the festival
  • Accreditation
  • Flights
  • Accommodation - 4% discount to 6 Degrees Film Readers
  • Getting Around
  • FAQ's
  • Useful Information and numbers - including 10% discount on Cannes: A Festival Virgin's Guide book



Cannes - the Mairie


One of France's most important cultural and business events, The Cannes International Film Festival is the most prestigious film festival in the world. Since its creation in 1946, the Festival de Cannes has served as the prime setting to showcase the world's best film-making.

Each year over 2,200 films are submitted for consideration from hundreds of countries. Directors, producers and agents work the crowds in pursuit of lucrative movie deals whilst Cannes winners often emerge as the year's most talked-about films. The official selection for the 2006 line-up will be announced around mid-April.

Le Palais Des Festivals

The 59th Cannes International Film Festival runs this year from May 18 to 28 . While many focus on the official “In Competition” films, the festival actually consists of six different areas and the enormous film market. Opening the festival this year will be Ron Howard's The Da Vinci Code, starring two time Oscar winner Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou and Jean Reno, based on Dan Brown's best-selling novel, which will be screened “out of competition.” This will be Howard's fourth film shown in Cannes (Willow, 1988, Far and Away, 1992, and Ed TV, 1999).

Cannes by night

30,000 film industry professionals, 4,000 distributors, 5,000 producers, and 4,000 journalists will attend the festival, not to mention the many celebrities that stroll up the red carpet at each evening's premieres. And, given the massive media exposure, the festival always attracts new producers and unknown filmmakers hoping to launch their films and sell their works to distributors from around the globe.

Last year, in the official competition the French film L'Enfant, directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, won the coveted Palme d'Or. Jim Jarmusch's film Broken Flowers won the Grande Prix, Best Actress went to Hanna Laslo for her performance in Free Zone and Best Actor went to Tommy Lee Jones for his performance in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. That film also won the prize for Guillermo Arriaga's screenplay. And finally the Jury Prize went to Wang Xiaoshuai's Shanghai Dreams. To find out who won in all of the festival sidebars please visit the official website archives:

Warm nights, harbour lights

In addition to the many films screened, the festival also puts on masterclasses, tributes, retrospectives, and exhibitions for its attendees. Last year this included hommages to Morgan Freeman and Liza Minnelli, exhibitions on Renoir and James Dean, and 3 Masterclasses. The traditional Cannes Masterclass, a lesson on cinema, was given by Sembene Ousmane, a pioneer of African cinema from Senegal. In previous years this class has been taught by Wong Kar-Wai, Oliver Stone, and Stephen Frears. Catherine Deneuve also presented a masterclass on acting, and Patrick Doyle gave one in music.

The CroisetteJURY

Wong Kar-Wai (Eros, 2046, In the Mood for Love) will be the president of this year's jury, although the rest of the jury members have yet to be announced. The Cannes Film Festival board of directors appoints the jury members, who then judge each of the films in competition. They're chosen from all areas of the film industry based on their body of work and respect from their peers. Jury membership, especially the presidency, is considered an enormous honour - often equated to a “lifetime achievement award.”


The entire film world descends on CannesThe glamour that most people associate with Cannes surrounds the official competition films screened in the Ciné Lumière , referred to as “ In Competition,” in which films compete for the ultimate Cannes Film Festival prize - the Palme d'Or for best picture. This prize is one of the most prestigious in the world that a film can win.

Un Certain Regard, created in 1978, serves as a survey of current world cinema. It does not give any awards, but it is the main showcase section of the festival. Being accepted to screen a film in this event is considered a huge honour.

Cinéfondation, created in 1998, screens fifteen short and medium length films from film schools around the world. It has its own jury, separate from the jury that judges the main competition, and awards 3 prizes to the best films accepted to cinéfondation.

Cannes boasts classic French architecture in chateau style

Out of Competition” refers to films screened in the main Lumière theatre that the Festival feels deserve the honour of being shown at Cannes, but either do not meet the selection criteria for the festival or do not justify a position in the official competition. Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, George Lucas' Star Wars Episode II, and Woody Allen's Hollywood Ending all screened in Cannes out of competition. And, as previously mentioned, the 2006 festival will begin with the out of competition film The Da Vinci Code.

Cannes International Critics Week, created in 1962, showcases both feature films and shorts from first and second-time filmmakers. A panel of international critics select the films that will screen in this section, and cash awards are given to the best film in each category. The best feature film receives the Grand Prix (Critics Week). This section has always served as a launching pad for new filmmakers, and past participants have included Ken Loach, Neil Jordan, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Kevin Smith.

The Director's Fortnight , created in 1968, has always been the most radical of the various sections in the film festival. It includes both feature films and shorts made by little-known filmmakers. One of the most famous anecdotes surrounding this section came from a 1974 screening of a little-known American film, after which none of the journalists stayed to talk to the filmmakers. These disheartened individuals were none other than Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro with their film Mean Streets.


Cannes harbour - 'A' list parties are held aflioat


Anyone can submit a film to be considered for the official Competition (features and shorts), Out-of-Competition, or Un Certain Regard. You must simply follow the rules, fill out the online entry form, and send in your film. The selection committee then decides in which section a film can participate. The deadline for all applications is March 15, 2006, and a print, videocassette, or DVD of the film must reach the Festival Selection Committee by March 20, 2006.

The Director's Fortnight and International Critics' Week are independent of the Cannes Film Festival and in charge of their own respective sections. You can visit their websites for more details: and The deadline for Director's Fortnight is April 3, 2006, and for International Critics' Week the closing date for entering feature films is April 7, 2006 and for short films it's April 5, 2006.

Cinéfondation is only open to film schools, and any films for this section must be submitted through a school. Anyone can register for the Cannes Film Market, in which sellers and producers can hold screenings of their films for a fee.

Finally, the short film corner is also open to anyone, and is - as the title implies - reserved exclusively for shorts. You must register on the website, and the deadline for submission is April 20, 2006. The film must be in English or French, or with subtitles in English for French, and in a DigiBeta, Beta SP, DV, or DVD format. Anyone can register, as long as you pay the fees: 75€ for a film under 30min and 125€ for a film longer than 30 minutes.

The Cannes Film Market - commercial hub of the festival


The Film Market is the business aspect of the festival, also known as the Marché du Film or Cannes Market (For more details on this, please see the Cannes Market Article). Within the Cannes Market, deals get made, distribution rights get traded, and films themselves get bought and sold. It's open to anyone in the world who wants to participate, unlike the prestigious festival itself. All you have to do is pay the registration fee.

SHORT FILM CORNER Hotel homage to a legendary star

This section is the easiest way for new filmmakers to participate in Cannes (see registration information in the "Submitting a Film" section above). It gives you an opportunity to not only present your film, but also to meet producers, agents, buyers, and other filmmakers from around the world. Even more importantly, registration grants you 2 Cannes Film Festival accreditation badges.

The Short Film Corner is located in the Palais des Festivals, and contains a reception and meeting area, 20 interactive screens and 2 screening rooms where your film can be viewed. You can also display flyers or other exhibits. Last year, more than 600 films from 50 different countries were screened.

There are also networking opportunities every day at the afternoon round-table discussions or in the evening at the Short Film Corner "happy hour." See the website for more details and registration information, 


You must be a film industry professional or a member of the press to participate in the festival. The screenings are NOT open to the public, unless you live in Cannes itself or belong to an approved French film organization. Only the Directors Fortnight and the International Critics Week have an extremely small number of tickets for non-industry people.

Cannes Riviera HotelThe exception to this arises with the Cannes Market - if you are genuinely a filmmaker and want to pay the registration fee to show your film, then you can register for the festival through the market and gain accreditation. Or, if you have made a short film and want to register it with the Short Film Corner, you can gain accreditation that way.

If you do have accreditation, you still need to obtain a ticket for films shown after 12 noon “in competition” and “out of competition” at the Ciné Lumière. It is much easier to obtain tickets for afternoon screenings than it is to get tickets to the evening premieres. Morning screenings, depending on the popularity of the film, do not always require tickets, but they do still require an accreditation badge.

You can put your name down for tickets which become available 24 hours in advance from the Ticket Office, and tickets for the most popular films will run out quickly. For films shown in the various sidebars or any films screened at venues other than the Lumière, you simply line up outside the theatre at least one hour in advance with no ticket required. But you must present your festival badge at the door. Finally, for market screenings, you must have either market or press accreditation in most cases.

ACCREDITATION Jet skiing for jet setters, this is the place for high-fliers

You must have official accreditation to get into screenings and events during the Cannes Film Festival, including the market. To get more information on any accreditation, or to apply, visit the website: (you can change it into English in the top right corner).

Professional Accreditation is free and available to industry professionals in all areas of the industry. You must prove you are a film professional to receive accreditation. But with this badge you gain access to all the official programs, screenings, and the major hotels. The deadline to submit an application for professional accreditation is April 22, 2006.

Market Accreditation offers the same benefits as the professional accreditation, as well as access to the market and market screenings and events. Each year over 5,000 delegates attend the market, making it the world's largest film market. In order to appear in the Cannes Market Guide (the bible for all festival attendees), you must register by April 14, 2006.

Press Accreditation gives you access to absolutely everything you could want, but because it is one of the most coveted passes it is also one of the hardest to obtain, even for legitimate members of the press. The submission deadline is March 31, 2006.

Short Film Corner gives you 2 badges for every film submitted, as long as you pay the registration fees. The deadline to register is April 20, 2006.


Cannes centre ville


Flying to Cannes doesn't have to be too expensive, depending on how early you book and the routes you take. Obviously the most popular choice is to fly into the Nice airport. However, to cut down on costs, you can also fly into neighbouring airports in other parts of France (such as Lyon, Marseille, or Toulouse) or Italy (Genoa or Turin), and then either rent a car or take the train to Cannes. This sometimes works out cheaper overall, but you have to decide if the added hassle is worth it.

Remember though that this year the last weekend of the festival falls on a bank holiday so flights to return that weekend are quite pricey.

 Palais Des Festivales by night


If you want to stay in Cannes itself, book early and be prepared to pay for the convenience. If you can't find anywhere affordable within Cannes itself, there are several convenient alternatives nearby such as Juan-Les-Pins, Antibes, Cannes-La-Bocca, Le Cannet, or Mandelieu. All of these are an easy distance from Cannes (at most 10 minutes by train, and unlike in England the trains are fairly cheap, run regularly, and run until midnight). If you're sharing with friends, taxis are also affordable after a late night of partying to return to your hotels. - We are offering 6 Degrees Readers 4% discount on accommodation - simply quote D9L6WVU when booking.

Cameras everywhere


Cannes is a small city, and it's easy to walk around during the day between the various screening theatres and the major hotels. There are also regular buses and trains to take you around Cannes and between the neighbouring cities. Hailing a taxi late at night can sometimes be difficult, but there are taxi stands scattered around the festival areas, and most of the major hotels will call one for you if you ask politely - even if you're not staying there. You can also get the phone numbers of local taxi services and call one yourself.

The buses stop running early in the evening, with most lines stopping by 8 or 8:30. The trains between Cannes and Nice run until midnight at various intervals depending on the time of day. In general, getting around is easy, and during the festival there are more people who speak English than French around if you need any help.


What should I bring?

There are three must-have items for anyone going to the Cannes Film Festival:

1) A comfortable pair of walking shoes. These are essential, as you will most likely do a lot of running around during the day, even just to get between screening venues, and blisters will make those walks torturous.

2) A black tie outfit. This is critical if you want to attend any premieres, as they are strict on the dress code. Men must be in a tuxedo and women must be in an evening gown. Remember nice shoes to go along with the outfit.

3) An umbrella. It usually rains at least once or twice during the film festival, sometimes quite heavily. So even though you can expect plenty of warm days and sunshine, it's best to be prepared.

Other than those 3 things, it's up to you. Although I would recommend a camera, sun tan lotion & sunglasses, a bathing suit in case you have any time to relax down on the beach, business cards for easy phone number exchange when networking, and a mobile phone that people can reach you on during your time in Cannes.

A mobile phone?

This is important, although not absolutely necessary. It does make it easy to network with people while in Cannes, especially if you want to arrange a time to meet up with them or in case anyone wants to call you to set up a meeting. You can hire them for free at Nice Airport and then only pay for local calls. Or, if you bring a phone with you, then you can buy a sim card in Cannes at one of several stores on the Rue d'Antibes and just put that sim card into your phone (although make sure they're compatible and that this will work before paying for the sim card!).

How can I find out what films are screening when?

The official festival itself puts out a schedule. Otherwise, all of the major film magazines - the Hollywood Reporter, Daily Variety, and Screen International put out daily additions during Cannes that include a listing of all the films showing that day. It's worth picking up at least one of these "trades" every day to keep yourself up-to-date of what's going on.

Any other questions? - Feel free to contact 6 Degrees Film - - who will try and answer them for you.

The Red Carpet Cannes-style 











The leading handbook for filmmakers and film industry professionals looking to attend the Cannes Film Festival for the first time. £13.95 – 10% discount for 6 Degrees readers, simply go to the 6degreesfilm website - - click on the book image on the left and quote 6DEGREES when prompted during check out.


The Official Website, which provides general and practical information about the Festival de Cannes throughout the year, covers from day to day the life and news of the Festival as it happens.



To avoid roaming charges, you can hire mobile telephones on-site from CELLHIRE | Tel. + 44 19 04 61 06 10



Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, Esplanade Georges Pompidou B.P. 272, 06403 Cannes Cedex Tel: 33 (0) 4 92 99 84 22 Open 7 days a week from 9am to 7pm (winter) - from 9am to 8pm (summer)




- SAMU (Ambulance and emergency services) : 15

- SMUR (Ambulance and emergency unit): 33 (0) 4 93 69 71 50

- CANNES HOSPITAL, 13 avenue des Broussailles - 06400 Cannes Tel: 4 93 69 70 00

- Hospital Emergencies: 33 (0) 4 93 69 71 50

EUROPCAR FRANCE (cars and scooters)

3 rue du Commandant Vidal 06400 Cannes Tel.: 33 (0) 4 93 06 26 30

To book online and benefit from EUROPCAR's special Festival de Cannes rates, click here



103 avenue Georges Clémenceau 06400 Cannes, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day

Cannes to the airport: 63 €

Airport to Cannes: 68 €

Tel: 33 (0) 890 712 227


Place de la Gare 06400 Cannes Information: 33 (0) 892 353 535

© Laura Horwtiz & Shizana Arshad 2005