Cannes Sets Dates for Pre-Festival Online Market

Cannes Film Festival General - Getty - H 2019
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The Cannes Marche will hold online-only screenings for market and select festival titles in May, ahead of the planned in-person festival in July.

Cannes’ film market, the Marché du Film, has confirmed the dates for its four-day online-only event this May.

The virtual "Pre-Cannes Screenings" will take place from Tuesday, May 25 through Friday, May 28 and be hosted on the market's marchedufilm.com platform. The Cannes Film Festival is still planning to hold an in-person event in the south of France from July 6 -15.

But a summer market is too late for many industry players, who would prefer a May event to allow them to secure financing for projects they can shoot in the summer or, for finished films, to allow time for a summer theatrical launch. Given the current uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, many international companies were also unwilling to commit to attending in person in Cannes in July.

The all-virtual Marché will be similar to last year's online-only event, with sales companies pitching new projects to international distributors and presenting finished films via the market's platform. Access to the May market will be strictly reserved to buyers already registered with the Marché but will not cost extra.

Organizers say the market will also hold an in-person event alongside the festival in July.

Cannes is still confident it will be able to hold a physical festival this summer but COVID-19 cases continue to surge in France, with daily cases on Thursday passing 45,000, close to double the figure what they were a few weeks ago. On Friday, the French government announced it would be increasing police checks to enforce travel restrictions in place in Paris and several other coronavirus hotspot regions.

Cannes was the first major film festival forced to cancel last year due to the pandemic. Organizers held a three-day, largely symbolic, in-person festival in October, just before France went into its second nationwide lockdown.