Update 10:26 AM: MIPCOM has cancelled the opening night red carpet due to logistical problems. “Following the heavy flooding over the weekend,” a statement read, “the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez is not in a position to host the Red Carpet.” Tonight’s opening night screening, the upcoming six-episode Sky/Canal Plus crime drama The Last Panthers, is still scheduled.
Original post: The sun is shining on the French Riviera today, but that’s a vastly different story to how the situation played out over Saturday night. In what has been classified as a natural disaster by French President François Hollande, violent rains battered the Côte d’Azur and parts of Provence, resulting in severe flooding and the deaths of at least 16 people, including residents of a retirement home, throughout the region. Among the towns hardest hit was Cannes, which this week is playing host to Mipcom, the world’s biggest TV market. The equivalent of two months of rain fell in a single night on Saturday.
Mipcom officially unspools tomorrow and is likely to do so under a veil of sketchy internet and cell-phone coverage. Electricity is getting back to normal and clean-up crews are at work. Still, pre-Mipcom events, including the MipJunior kids TV market, have been re-tooled. Organizers Reed Midem said today that MipJunior screenings had been suspended due to flooding in the Martinez Hotel at the far end of the Croisette. MipJunior conferences were transferred to the Palais this morning, despite flooding on the lower levels there.
A screening tonight of Sony Pictures Television’s The Art Of More is expected to take place as scheduled at the Palais from 6PM. Presenting company Reed Midem said, “Despite the flooding that occurred in Cannes Saturday night October 3rd, MIPCOM 2015 will open for business on time on Monday October 5th… The whole MIP team, the Palais staff and our Cannes partners are working non-stop to limit the disruption caused by this exceptional situation.”
The damage included flooded ground floor stores and apartment building lobbies, along with some cars pulled out to sea, Cannes mayor David Lisnard told French media. The Cannes train station’s lines are currently still underwater meaning some French execs may have a hard time getting to town from Paris. Most U.S. execs begin arriving earlier in the weekend, flying into Nice and taxiing up to Cannes. The A8 highway that leads into town is down to one lane.
While this is the most devastating case of severe Cannes weather in recent years, it is not the first time a major industry event has fallen victim to Mother Nature here. The film festival faced a rushed clean-up ahead of its start a few years back when high tides caused major beach erosion, dumping sand onto café terraces. And, in its inaugural year, the Lerins Hall at MipTV suffered a roof collapse mid-market due to heavy rains.
We’ll update as the situation continues to unfold.