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It's a costly playground, but Cannes remains a favorite.

It's a Costly Playground, But Cannes Remains a Favorite

If we believe what we read, the Cannes Film Festival is a great expense and over-glitzy. There are now four theatrical markets, and, coupled with the four additional TV markets, the Cannes outlook may not be good. However, in interviews with several executives attending the AFM, the Cannes Festival emerges in a different light.

Alex Massis, executive vice president of International Sales for Angelika Films, said that for him, "Cannes is a sales priority. Angelika's artistic library, like Cannes' categories, are in tune, with all cultures." Massis maintained that Cannes could be done in an economic way - without paying outrageous sums for gala displays, champagne and limousines. "We don't have to starve! An office, with a small display, and some entertainment is all we need. With four of our executives attending, this could come to $40,000 - which is a fraction of what I read is spent."

Companies like The Movie Group stretch their dollars to attend five markets. Daniel Marquet, executive vice president, international distribution, is not sure which of these markets The Movie Group will attend; however, Cannes and the AFM are on his "absolutely yes" list. "The notion of linking products to a particular market is becoming less and less important. We use a market as a place to touch base with our clients, who we can regularly, in any case. If we have product, fine; if we don't, we don't."

The Movie Group attended MIP for the first time last year; this year will be their first at MIPCOM. "We don't need the market as much as we used to," said Marquet, noting that it would be financially more practical for him to go to Europe by himself. "We go because our buyers are going to be all under the same roof."

But isn't Cannes too much of an expense? "Well, you can spend $10,000 or you can spend $100,000. You can stay at a small hotel - the cost of flying is marginal now, but it all depends on you." Marquet emphasized that "what counts is the product - not the flash. You don't have to take part in all of the festivities." Marquet's advice: Spend less money but still be a part of the scene. "Cannes is one of the last places which still maintains the |mythology' of entertainment, i.e., |the star system'."

"Everyone is in a bad mood in Milan. It's a sad, depressing, expensive city. I choose Cannes." So stated Alexandra Yacovlef, President of Axelia International Pictures. Axelia will also be at the second fall AFM," recovering from our expenses at Cannes." Yacovlef had some problems with MIFED last year. "In Cannes, if you spend $300 for a room, you get a $300 room. In Milan, a $300 room is worth $85." For Yacovlef, "surroundings are important. At Cannes, there is a very relaxed ambiance. If there is a problem, it gets worked through."

Companies that are new to the international circuit, like Artistic License, "end up saving money," said Barry Binning, Director of Marketing. "We split the booth with KM International, so we pay half the cost. Milan is far more exorbitant than it's French counterpart."

Blue Ridge/Filmtrust embraced the AFMA's general consensus concerning MIFED: too expensive, not well organized. Erik Saltzgaber, vp, international distribution, is very optimistic about the Cannes Festival. "The Cannes market fits in with our plans. All markets are expensive, but Cannes is such a force, well, it's just vital for Blue Ridge/Filmtrust to be there." Althoug he admits to an over-saturated market year, like many AFMA participants, Saltzgaber has adopted a "wait-and-see" attitude.

Westinghouse Broadcasting is not attending Cannes. But it's not because of the cost. "We simply do not have enough film product." Catherine Malatesta, Director of International Sales and Marketing, said that her product can be sold at other markets. But, she added, "If we had more film product, we'd definately go to Cannes." Malatesta feels that all the markets serve a purpose. "The process to negotiate, discuss and finalize (an agreement) can take a number of markets before the transaction is complete."
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Title Annotation:Cannes Film Festival
Publication:Video Age International
Date:Mar 1, 1991
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