Ways to Experience Festival de Cannes
How to attend the Cannes Film Festival as a normal person
· 4 min read
The Festival de Cannes is one of the world's most prestigious film festivals. It is a celebration of cinema, bringing together filmmakers, actors, industry professionals, and film enthusiasts from around the world. The 10-day festival is held annually in Cannes, France, some time in May. The dates for 2024's festival has been announced for 14 May - 25 May 2024.
The Festival de Cannes is reserved primarily for film industry professionals, but if you will be traveling to Cannes during the period of the film festival and want to experience one of the world’s most prestigious film events, here are some ways you can do so.
Watch a Screening at the Main Festival
Generally, to get into a screening at the main festival, you will need to get accredited. There are ways to get accredited even if you are not part of the film industry. However, if you think that is too much of a hassle, the festival also offers free public screenings by the beach every night.
Getting an Accreditation
If you are not an industry professional, but are a film student or a member of a cinema or film association, you can still apply for a Cinephiles Accreditation. Registrations for Cinephiles Accreditation typically open sometime in February so keep a look out for that, but if you are planning to apply for accreditation, it is good to plan ahead and join a cinema club of some sort in the meantime.
If you are just someone who is very interested in films but not have any memberships, the Festival de Cannes also offers a ‘3 day in Cannes’ programme that provides film buffs aged 18 to 28 with an opportunity to take part in three days of the event. You will have to submit a motivation letter in your application. Registrations typically open in February.
The 3 day in Cannes accreditation will provide you with access to the Cinéum for all films in the Official Selection (Competition, Out of Competition, Special Screenings, Un Certain Regard). You will also have access to screenings at the Palais des Festivals (and the Grand Théâtre Lumière for some screenings) on a first-come-first-served basis, with industry professionals given priority.
You will still need to get tickets for access to the screenings. The accreditation will give you access to the ticketing portal to request for these tickets. If you don’t get a ticket, there are still chances for last minute entry if there are places that are released due to last minute cancellations.
Public Screenings by the Beach
If you are not that much of a film buff and don’t want to go through the hassle of applying for an accreditation, you can also attend the Cinema de la Plage that takes place at 9.30pm every evening of the festival. This open-air screening by the beach typically features films from previous editions of the festival, and is the only screening of the main festival that is publicly accessible. It is free and open to all festival-goers as well as the general public on a first-come-first-serve basis. Stay tuned to the official website of the festival for more information of the line-ups for the Cinema de la Plage.
Catch a Glimpse of Celebrities at the Red Carpet
The red carpet event is one of the highlights of the Festival de Cannes. Celebrities donned in their most glamorous outfits will walk up the iconic red carpet stairway outside the central entrance of the Palais des Festival. As the red carpet is outside the festival hall, you wouldn’t need a festival badge to see it. This also means that you will have a chance to catch a glimpse of the celebrities and their fashion looks. Crowds tend to form as people try to secure a spot to get a view of the red carpet event, with some even bringing their own ladders and foldable chairs. Be there early if you want to get a good view of the red carpet event!
Watch a Screening at the Parallel Sections
There are several parallel sections that are happening alongside the main festival. The parallel sections are more accessible to the general public, and most of the screenings in these sections also include a Q&A session with the directors and cast of the films.
The Directors’ Fortnight is a parallel section that is independent from the main Festival de Cannes. It is organised by the French Directors' Guild, and will usually take place at the Noga/Croisette Theatre, the Arcades Theatre and at the Olympia Theatre. The Director’ Fortnight is a free-spirited and non-competitive selection that showcases a wide spectrum of films with varying genres. It is made available to the wider public through a subscription basis and specific screenings’ ticket sales. Even if you don’t have an accreditation, you can either create an account on the online ticketing system and purchase them in advance. For more information on the film selectionsand screening schedules, stay tuned to their official website.
La Semaine de la Critique
Similar to Director’ Fortnight, the La Semaine de la Critique is a parallel section that runs independently from the main festival. The La Semaine de la Critique focuses on discovering new talents, and to highlight the first and second feature films of new directors. You can also get tickets to the La Semaine de la Critique screenings from the online ticketing system. Admission to the La Semaine de la Critique screenings are free. Keep a look out for the lineup and programme schedules at their official website.
ACID is a selection that promotes the distribution of independent film. The general public will be able to attend the screenings of these films, subject to availability. Similar to the other parallel sections, booking of tickets are required and can be done through the online ticketing system from a few days before the screening. Stay tuned to the official website of ACID for the programme line up.