Cannes Reveals Delegate Numbers From First Ever Virtual Edition

Cannes Film Festival 2020
The Palais des Festivals in Cannes on May 13. It was to be Day 2 of the festival. Olivier Huitel/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The Cannes Marche du Film Online, which hosted its first ever digital edition last week, has revealed that it had 10,002 participants take part in its virtual marketplace.

The largest delegation came from the U.S., which saw 1,500 participants log on, followed by France (1,400) and the UK (950). The majority of the overall pool were European (5,900). In total, attendees came from 122 countries, up from a spread of 121 at last year’s physical edition.

There were 262 virtual sales agent booths and 61 virtual pavilions. The 1,235 screenings drew 42,000 admissions, said the fest, with a further 3,500 projects available in the market.

As we wrote in our International Insider newsletter last week, the unprecedented event was largely seen as a success by those who took part. There were good packages on offer in the market and some heavyweight deals were sealed, including Apple’s record-breaking pact for Will Smith starrer Emancipation. From a networking perspective, some industry said to us they missed the physical contact and didn’t think an online incarnation could replace the real experience, particularly as many people are finding themselves on international Zoom calls regularly at the moment anyway.

“We received lots of messages from professionals telling us that it felt just like being in Cannes,” said Jérôme Paillard, Executive Director of the Marché du Film. “This proves that even virtual events are capable of creating moments where we can come and be together. Professionals were able to see the films, but they were also given the sense that they had seen them in good company.”

“The quantity and quality of exchanges made it feel as if we were there, mingling around the Marché’s stands,” added Pierre Lescure, President of the Festival de Cannes. “Jérôme Paillard’s teams and their innovative spirit and ability to adapt truly impressed me. I was delighted by the hard work and care they poured into ensuring their sites looked good and were user-friendly.”

“With this online version of the Marché du Film, Cannes 2020 demonstrated the Festival’s underlying dimension: its role as an organization dedicated to industry professionals,” added Thierry Frémaux, the Festival de Cannes General Delegate. “The agility with which the Marché reinvented itself to adapt to this year’s special circumstances was applauded by everyone from sales teams to buyers, whether in the office, at their villa, on the beach or on the other side of the world. This was a magnificent way of reuniting. It was also a first test run for the 2020 Official Selection films and for what the future might hold for Cannes 2021.”

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