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How to Go to the Cannes Film Festival

The 12-day Cannes Film Festival showcases short and feature films.

The Cannes Film Festival is considered one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. Because it attracts celebrities and acclaimed filmmakers, it can be a challenge to get your hands on a festival pass. The festival is reserved for film industry professionals and you can't just buy tickets or a pass to the festival. Instead, you've got to be a working film professional, an active member of the press or submit a film that gets accepted to the festival. The festival does set aside some passes for film students and enthusiasts, but like the film professionals and press, you have to apply for an accreditation to gain access.

Film Professionals

Those who are working professionals in the film industry can apply for festival accreditation. Film industry working professionals include filmmakers, media technicians, distributors, producers, journalists and photographers. If you're a filmmaker, producer, distributor or media technician and have at least one film credit to your name, you are eligible to receive free accreditation upon registration, which is typically open from February through the first of April. If you plan to apply for press accreditation, submit your request in early February because the number of awarded press passes are limited. If you work for a print magazine, the higher your publication's circulation, the better chance you will have of receiving accreditation. For online contributors, you'll be given greater consideration if your site has a high number of unique visitors per month and a high average number of page views per month. Your chief editor will need to submit an official letter on your behalf, explaining your publication or site's circulation and what your magazine or website intends to cover. Go to the Cannes Film Festival website to apply for an accreditation (see Resources). Representatives from the festival will confirm your film credit history and you'll receive confirmation by email if your accreditation is accepted.

Submit Your Film

Filmmakers whose projects are accepted into the festival will receive accreditation. The festival accepts both feature and short films and the open period for submissions begins every year in November. Your film has to have been produced during the 12 months preceding the festival and cannot have already been presented at any international motion picture event -- or shown on the Internet. You can submit your project for consideration by filling out the online entry form and either uploading the file of your short film on the Cannes website or mailing in a DVD copy of your feature film to the Cannes office. You’ll learn whether your film has been accepted to the festival around mid-April when all official selections are announced on the festival’s website (see Resources).

Students and Educational Groups

The Cannes Film Festival opens a select number of accreditations for film students and educational groups. Apply for accreditation online between February and the first of March. If you’re a film student, you’ll need to supply a letter of motivation and a copy of your student identification card. Film clubs and educational groups will need to provide a letter of motivation, a brochure from your organization or a link to your group’s website and a copy of your membership card. To increase your chances of receiving accreditation, apply as early during open registration as possible. Keep your letter of motivation to one page and clearly express your motivation for attending the festival. If you're a student, stress the learning potential of the festival. If you're applying as a cinephile, express not only your love of movies, but why you want to attend the Cannes festival specifically. You'll receive email notification whether or not your application has been approved (see Resources).

Watching Online

Although you won’t have the ability to watch the actual films screening at the festival, you can view the red carpet proceedings, press conferences, photo calls and interviews online through the festival’s TV Festival de Cannes. Cameras are set up throughout the festival’s complex and in most hotels in the area (see Resources). This is an option for those who are unable to receive accreditation to attend the actual festival and are most interested in the behind-the-scenes events that occur at Cannes. The online broadcast, featuring both French and English options, is available to stream for free. During the 12 days of the festival in May, visit the festival's website to find links to the TV Festival, which will provide live streaming via YouTube and DailyMotion.

About the Author

Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.