How Cannes Organizers Plan to Stop "Ridiculous and Grotesque" Red-Carpet Selfies

Rosario Dawson

An unofficial ban on self-snapping may slow stars' Instagram feeds — and speed up red-carpet traffic. But how far will festival organizers go to enforce it?

This story first appeared in the May 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

"You never look as ugly as you do in a selfie," said Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Fremaux on April 16, when he announced a new policy of stopping awkward extended-arm snaps on the red carpet. He called the practice "ridiculous and grotesque."

The Cannes A-list might disagree. Rosario Dawson, Hilary Swank and Petra Nemcova have done it, as have Alec Baldwin, Matt Damon and even 2014's Un Certain Regard jury president Pablo Trapero.

But Instagram addicts can breathe easy: It seems the ban is officially unofficial. "The announcement itself has in some ways created a lot of buzz, but I'm sure the selfie will still go on," says Isabelle Gainche, the Palais' director of marketing and the city's director of tourism. "Hopefully people will be aware of it now and fewer people will do it because of the announcement."

Even Fremaux hedged when he announced his dislike for the practice. "We don't want to prohibit it, but we want to slow down the process of selfies on the steps," he said.

The nightly red-carpet traffic jam is a logistical nightmare for the Palais, says Gainche. With more and more people stopping to capture their big Cannes carpet moment, stars can't move quickly along the gantlet of professional photographers, and the iconic staircase becomes a bottle­neck of rubberneckers. Guests are stuck on the arrivals line as screenings are scheduled to start.

Security personnel (a mixture of public and private at the Palais) will be trained to manage the flow of amateur photographers with a serious warning and a side of s'il vous plait.

In other words, no camera snatching. "Cannes is a glamorous place, so people have to behave in a glamorous way," says Gainche. "Even the security guards."