Late lineup was 'hell' for festival participants

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Cannes has introduced a new genre to this year's festival: the grumble flick.

The lateness in announcing the full lineup has caused multiple problems for producers, distributors, publicists, party organizers and media outlets alike.

"Everything's late this year. We didn't find out when our film was screening until just last week, which meant we had to rush like hell to arrange things — flights, hotels, the party, everything," the producer of one Competition film said. "They were late because they were very hesitant on some films," one French industry insider said. "As far as I can see, they could have replied very quickly on most submissions."

Ironically, the first suspicion that things were running late came from the festival office, when the initial April 17 date for the lineup announcement was pushed back a week. Festival de Cannes general delegate Thierry Fremaux denied that the revised April 23 date was later than usual, noting that it was in line with the timing in previous years. The difference this year was that neither the opener, Fernando Meirelles' "Blindness," nor the closing film, Barry Levinson's "What Just Happened?" were announced six days after.

Several observers suggested festival organizers were holding out for a different movie to open but settled for "Blindness" when it became clear that the alternative wouldn't be ready.

Stuart Kemp contributed to this report.
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