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Cannes has bowed to industry pressure and will hold its film market — the Marché du Film — in an four-day online-only version in May, ahead of the planned 2021 Cannes Film Festival, scheduled for July 6-July 17.
The move was expected after reports that sales companies were looking to set up their own pre-festival market screenings, perhaps together with IFTA, the group which runs the American Film Market.
The short virtual Marché is being billed as a “pre-screenings” event, with Cannes in July still planned as both a market and festival. The earlier, online-only market will focus primarily on market titles and pre-sales, with the possibility of a few festival films in the mix.
The exact dates for the 2021 Marché are still to be confirmed, but the screenings will be near the end of the month, starting no earlier than May 24.
“Due to the unusually long delay between the EFM in Berlin and the Marché du Film in Cannes, many international sales agents have expressed the need for an intermediate event in the spring, which will allow them to do business and to network virtually, while awaiting the big rendez-vous in July when the film industry will meet up again in large numbers,” the market said in a statement.
Access to the online Marché will be restricted to sales companies and to buyers already registered with the Cannes market, either with an online or onsite accreditation. There will be no additional charge for participation in the 2021 virtual market.
Producers, sales agents, and distributors were pushing for an earlier market to secure financing for projects they can shoot in the summer or, for finished films, to allow time for a theatrical launch in early summer by when, it is hoped, cinemas in most territories will again be open for business after coronavirus pandemic shutdowns. Many independent distributors hope for a window of opportunity in the early summer after theaters re-open but before the competitive onslaught of major studio titles, many of which have been pushed back to the later months to accommodate later cinema openings in the U.S.
The Marché traditionally runs alongside the Cannes Film Festival, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the festival to cancel its in-person event and the Marché moved online, launching the first major all-virtual film market. Cannes held a three-day, largely symbolic, an in-person festival in October, just before France went into its second nationwide lockdown.
The 2021 Cannes Film Festival was originally scheduled for May 11-May 22, but moved to July over COVID-19 concerns.
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