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A Student Guide to Cannes Film Festival

On the French Riviera, Cannes hosts one of the most important film festivals in the world. Unlike other festivals, it is an exclusive event which means it is not open to the public and to attend you’re going to need a badge. There is a hierarchy based on accreditations and what each of them can offer you. At the top of the pyramid, the industry badges guarantee access to all festival areas from the Palais des Festivals to Marche du Film. You can try to apply for them if you have previously worked on a film or you are writing for a larger magazine, but usually these badges are offered to more experienced professionals. However, two programmes in the festival are dedicated to film students and cinema lovers and are the perfect opportunity be a part of Cannes.

The first one is called Three Days in Cannes and is dedicated to anyone between 18-28 years old who can prove their passion for film. With it, you are granted access to the films in the Official Selection and in the Palais des Festivals. You can decide if you want to attend the first or the last three days of the festival. This year the organisers invited the participants in this category to attend the whole festival. Normally, the first three days are more eventful and towards the end many decide to leave. I would recommend coming for the beginning of the festival.

The cinephile accreditation is destined for film students, school groups and other cultural or film associations. Until this year, this badge was considered the weakest, because with it you could only attend screenings in some designated theatres, without access to the professional areas. However, due to a smaller number of people attending the festival in 2021, the Cinephiles were promoted to having the same benefits as all the other participants.

Applying for a Cinephile or Three days in Cannes accreditations is a straightforward process. You will need to provide an ID, a proof of your enrolment at university and a motivation letter in which you present why you want to attend the festival. There are no rules or secrets for writing this statement and you can get as creative as you want. I recommend sending your application when submissions open, as the organisers work on a first come first serve basis.

As soon as you get your acceptance email you should start thinking about your accommodation. Hotels are always booked one year ahead of the festival and there is almost no chance to find a room, so Airbnb is a great option. There are plenty of apartments in the city, but they get reserved quickly so you need to decide early what you want to do. Many people rent larger houses in neighbouring towns which, if you have a group that does not mind commuting, this is the best solution. Just keep in mind that the money you save on a cheaper place, you might have to spend on trains and busses.

Getting around in Cannes is not too complicated. The main events are happening in the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, a large building with multiple theatres that also hosts the Marche du Film. Depending on the event you want to attend you will need to find the correct entry. The international village is next-door, close to the beach. Each country organises a pavilion where they present their film industry and projects. You can visit with your badge, and it is a great opportunity to learn more about the film industry. For Cinephiles, the special screenings are held in cinemas close to the main areas. To watch a film, you use your accreditation details to log into the official website. There you will find the programme and request tickets. For some films, you are granted a ticket right away. However, for more anticipated events the request takes longer to be processed and you are not guaranteed to receive a ticket.

Lastly, every night there are numerous parties. Some of them are organised after premieres with the cast and crew, in hotels in Cannes or in villas outside the city. Normally you need to be on the guest-list to attend but there some events where the access is not that strict, and you might be lucky enough to get in.

Overall, although it can get frustrating at times with all the rules and access restrictions, Cannes is an amazing opportunity to meet people who are connected by their passion for cinema and to watch the best films of the year.

All images provided by Daria Popesco.

Edited by Kezia Ariasa Surrey, Photography Editor.