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Next week, the Cannes Film Festival kicks off with its 76th edition.

Imagine is going to the Côte d’Azur with a large delegation, but why? Isn’t Cannes mainly a festival of red carpets, expensive dresses and many elderly arthouse directors? Well, that’s Cannes for sure, but there’s a lot more going on than that.

Cannes is neither the oldest nor largest film festival, but it’s still the most important. The worldwide film industry and an army of journalists gather here and there is no place like Cannes to meet and speak to everyone. Bad luck for the regular film lover: Cannes is not an audience festival, there are no tickets for sale. Professionals and the press can reserve tickets or queue up for a film. This makes the festival a real bubble, where films and filmmakers are put on a pedestal – or mercilessly crushed.

Over the years, Cannes has become more genre friendly. The Midnight screenings are still the place to be for action films in particular, but sci-fi, horror and anime regularly make it to the main programme. In 2021, Titane even won the Palme d’or.

For us, the Market is at least as important as the festival programme. Here, often in small screening rooms, new films are screened that are still waiting for a premiere spot at a festival later in the year. A lot of genre is shown here and we are able to see films that only appear to the public later in the year. We usually don’t know what to expect and the quality ranges from something to sit through to an exciting surprise.

In that field, zigzagging from official screenings in large, prestigious venues to stuffy market rooms, we chew away 50 to 60 films each. Only a very small part makes it to Imagine’s longlist. More about that in a next blog. Tomorrow’s blog: what are we looking forward to this year?

Chris Oosterom