Finally, the market has actually started! I’ve been here for three days already and it was starting to feel deceptively vacation-like. But it’s definitely not vacation time anymore. It’s getting harder and harder to elbow your way through the crowds on the Croisette, and the hundreds of techs and their dozens of huge trucks full of stuff are somehow all gone, even though just two days ago it seemed like half the town was under construction, with elaborate displays, booths, and beachside pavilions all being erected simultaneously.

On the first day of the market, I started slow. I grabbed the dailies (the editions of Variety, Screen and The Hollywood Reporter that are published every single day of the market with the latest news & reviews) and had a coffee at the Canadian pavilion.

The view is pretty ok at the Canadian Pavilion!

The view is pretty ok at the Canadian Pavilion!

Next up, some meetings and a general walkabout in the Palais, to orient myself to where all the various booths and offices are. Around mid-morning, while it was still kind of nice outside, Colin and I took an ice cream break, to keep our vacation vibe going.

Today was a light day, meeting-wise, so we also spent some time checking out fun one-sheets and goofy taglines for films that were being sold in the market. My favourite was “what if talking to the dead was just a download away?” I mean, seriously guys. What if?

We got invited to a screening of a film called App, for which we will actually have to download an app, prior to the screening, in order for the movie to have, I guess, its full effect? I’m not sure exactly how that works but I’m ready for it. Surely, this will be the best app-based film of the market. Not like that lame InAPPropriate Comedy. Right? Right!

Indeed!

Indeed!

My afternoon was spent in a dark theatre watching Cabin Fever: Patient Zero, where I enjoyed flesh-eating hijinx, blissfully unaware of the fact that it had started pouring rain outside. I left the house without my umbrella this morning (at least I learned my lesson from last year’s extremely rainy Cannes to pack an umbrella). It was a cold, wet walk back. Luckily, Cannes is a tiny town, so my walk “halfway across town” to our apartment took about 10 minutes.

Cabin Fever Patient Zero, in case you’re curious, was screening in the market. The film isn’t “out” yet, it hasn’t premiered anywhere, and even though there were no restrictions as to who could come into the screening (sometimes, they explicitly say “no press” or “buyers only”), it’s an implicit rule that you’re not really supposed to review movies that are just showing in the market. It’s a bit like giving TV spoilers before the show has aired. It’s not cool, and most people respect the rules, although certainly nobody could really stop the thousands of people here from tweeting or blogging their immediate reactions to what they see, so any kind of market screening is a bit of a risk. But don’t worry guys, my lips are sealed re: Cabin Fever Patient Zero!

It’s a strange middle ground between public and private here, because there are so many people attending the market that it’s impossible to consider anything here really “closed” or “private”. And yet, the entire Cannes Film Festival and Market are industry-only events. The public can’t buy tickets to the films, ever. You have to register, and the process isn’t super easy. My first time registering, I had to provide a resume, a letter of reference, and proof that I was employed by a legitimate film company in order to be accepted. I actually lied, pretending to be an employee of a festival that friends of ours run in the US, but even so, it wasn’t super easy, and the pass cost me nearly โ‚ฌ400.

People complain about the TIFF ticketing system being convoluted, but imagine if you had to provide letters of reference just to be allowed to access the box office. And, once you have the pass, there’s still a complicated ticketing system to contend with (I summarized it in my Cannes diary last year, here).

You know it's an exclusive festival when the party invitations look like this!

You know it’s an exclusive festival when the party invitations look like this!

Because of the persistent rain, after a great dinner with some friends from a US sales agency, we decided to call it an early night. Drinking on patios just doesn’t seem as appealing when it’s drizzly and cold, which is probably best for our health and stamina. It’s only the first day. This is a marathon, not a sprint!