Cinekid Reports: Festival de Cannes

Members of the Cinekid team regularly attend festivals and conferences for research, collaboration and knowledge gaining/sharing purposes. Our Head of Film Erik Tijman attended the Cannes Film Festival in May and reports about his experience. 


Festival de Cannes 2017: Erik Tijman reports

Each year a Cinekid delegation travels to the glittering Riviera coast to attend the Marché de Cannes. In May this idyllic French seaside town transforms from the preferred holiday destination of the international jet-set into the busiest and most hectic film event in the world. That said, Cannes is a significantly less glamorous experience for us (and for most film professionals) than it is for the shipping magnates sipping cocktails in the old harbour, or the Hollywood A-listers that stroll the red carpet. 
This year I was joined in Cannes by Cinekid director Floor van Spaendonck and Head of Cinekid for Professionals Nienke Poelsma. One of our most important goals is to catch market screenings of the newest children films, but we also use the time to meet with international sales agents, producers, and institutes. During our days at the festival we don’t just hope to discover new films, but also like to hear about upcoming productions and discuss possible future collaborations with international partners. 

Research at the Riviera coast
Cannes is an important milestone in our yearly schedule. Usually our trip to the Berlinale in February marks the unofficial starting point of that year’s Cinekid campaign. Berlin’s Generation competition often provides us with the first suitable titles for our research list, while the other titles in the European Film Market give us a good sense of the diversity and overall quality of children’s film output in a given year. Cannes, on the other hand, will often be one of our last international trips and with that in mind we approach the Marché in a completely different way. 
In Berlin we might still go into every market screening with a sense of naive delight, waiting with curious excitement to see what new gems the industry will throw at us this year. When we enter Cannes’ air-conditioned auditoriums we are carrying the baggage of a year’s research. We already have a rough framework consisting of some confirmed titles, but we know that many more titles will need to be found in order to complete our line-up. With the Cinekid programme deadline looming in the near distance, we are even more focused to find the films we need to finish our competitions, fill the holes in thematic programs, and discover the topics and perspectives that we need in order to deepen our programme. 
Nice surprises and intriguing titles
Coming back after six days, exhausted and still hung over (from the professional networking, of course), the harvest can sometimes be disappointing. This year though, the Cannes programme and market offered a number of nice surprises and intriguing titles from all over the world. With OKJA and WONDERSTRUCK the Official Competition offered up two films with family appeal, while Cannes also presented the bona fide Halloween-themed children’s film ZOMBILLEMIUM in its Out of Competition sidebar. This is an incredibly positive development, showing that children and family films are no longer set aside as niche titles without any commercial or artistic merit. In any case, it’s fantastic for us to come back to Amsterdam with many new titles to consider, although it does mean we have to make some hard choices over the coming weeks.