Ric Forster - Writer & Filmmaker

Cannes Short Film Corner 2010

Back in March I decided that I’d check out the Cannes Film Festival this year, so I pretty rapidly, wrote, cast, shot, edited and submitted a short film. It got into the Short Film Corner, so Kaitlyn and I headed out there in May to see what all the fuss was about.

It’s a pretty surreal experience as the world’s film industry descends on a small coastal town in the south of France. We arrived on Saturday night, having flown into Nice airport. The local hotels are pretty wise to the festival game so even booking two months in advance, were quoting £250 a night. Maybe not a lot of money to Hollywood execs on an expense account, but sort of a lot of money to yours truly.

So I got a hotel a couple of miles down the road in neighbouring Mandelieu and hired a car to drive around for a week. Worked out miles cheaper this way, even with a €70 parking pass. Was good having the freedom to roam around and get out of the madness – our hotel was on a nice open complex with swimming pool.

The festival itself is a mix of a few components. Most of the action happens at the Palais, a giant concrete building on the water front. That’s where we picked up our accreditation passes, which allowed access to screenings, the marche du film, pavillions and short film corner. Basically – anything to do with the official festival. Without one, you’re screwed. We met up with Will who was there on a press pass – spending most of the roasting hot days indoors editing.

The film markets are fascinating to walk around – booth after booth of film distributor, selling a range of features, from A-list Hollywood vehicles, to low budget b-movies. It’s all here. Would really recommend any out there starting out in film to come and see the markets. It’s not glamorous, but it’s where business gets done. The poster is incredibly important – it’s a single image which represents your entire production.

Thankfully I had some postcards done and dished them out to interested parties, and plastered them all over the short film corner.

It’s a little area of the festival, where about 1000 shorts are distributed. Short film buyers can view them on interactive screens and there’s mini theatres too. We got one together for ‘We Need To Talk’. There’s also various seminars taking place here, and at 5pm – 6pm every day, free drinks. This was, unsurprisingly, the busiest time at short film corner, and a great opportunity to meet people.

Kaitlyn and I stalked out tickets for a couple of red-carpet premieres (you have to get up at 8am to reserve the tickets). The paps are everywhere, but decidedly uninterested in anyone that’s not either famous, dressed ridiculously or part of the production itself. We saw ‘SCHASTYE MOE (MY JOY)‘, an ironically titled film about an endlessly-repeating situation: Officials ask for documents. Person hands over documents. Officials then abuse/murder person or persons.

This happened about 10 times in the movie. Pretty grim. Extremely slow pacing, repetitive direction and shifting protagonists made it a long watch. Not too keen.

The second premiere we went to was for ‘Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives‘. It looked pretty fun on the advert, a beast hiding in the jungle with bright red luminous eyes. The film was, to our disappointment, even slower than the first we’d seen. And also made no sense whatsoever. During an evening meal, Boonmee’s dead wife appears as a Ghost. Everyone’s a bit shocked for a moment, but then the meal continues. Next up, is the red-eyed monster. Which turns out is Boonmee’s son, Boonsung, who turned into a monkey soul many years ago, and just wandered off. The family treat this as pretty much normal and go about their business, which includes collecting honey, cleaning Boonmee’s kidneys and discussing illegal immigration. Then, in what we can only assume must be a flashback, a princess has sex with a catfish.

Next up, Boonmee dies, and his family hold a funeral. There, Boonmee’s sister Jan encounters another relative (who we’ve never seen before), and whilst watching TV in a hotel room they talk about going out to a bar. They do go out, but as they do, we see that in the room, they are still sat there, watching TV. They are able to leave their bodies? Two sets of possibilities are playing out at once? I’m not sure, but we follow them to a karaoke bar and the film ends.

At all of these ridiculous moments, members of the audience walked out. There must have been 1000 empty seats by the end of the film.

And it won the Palm D’Or.

Maybe I just didn’t get it. But I wasn’t the only one. The audience bursting out in laughter during serious moments is never a good sign. Neither is being able to spot bad acting when the actors are speaking in another language.

You must see this film.

Those were the only two films out of the official selection that we got to see. There were a number of non-competition market screenings that we attended, and those films were actually pretty decent.

British film ‘My Last Five Girlfriends‘ – a low budget rom-com shot on video. Very fast paced, lots of flashbacks and fantasy sequences – though probably a little too labored – lots of After Effects scene transitions. The lead actor could have been more likeable, and it also stole the ending right out of 500 days of Summer. Good though, and I’d be really pleased if that was my first feature. It will no doubt do well on DVD.

Another low budget flick we saw was ‘At Home By Myself… With You‘. I hope they re-title this one, because when trying to recommend it to people, it takes several moments to remember what it’s called. It’s a Canadian production, shot entirely in one location. A flat. A novel way of getting the costs down, as the protagonist has a crippling fear of leaving her home. Really nicely shot, not once feeling boring stuck in the same space. Solid performances and some laugh-out-loud moments, this was a pretty decent movie – funded entirely by pocket change and facebook donations. Check it out.

So all in all, a very worthwhile trip. I can’t wait to return next year with another film.

Some photos:


  • April 15, 2011

    Nice write up. My film is selected/registered for the short film corner this year. I was wondering how many days I should budget to attend the festival, especially promoting my film at the short film corner? Does accreditation pass provide free access to all movies played at the Cannes? I dont drive car and my budget is not much. What’s the realistic budget for a hotel?
    Thanks so much and hope to see you there!

  • April 21, 2011

    Hey Ric, Thanks so much for your reply! I just found out that you had actually replied to my comment couple of days back.
    Yes, thanks for the wishes. Though I was wondering if SFC select every film which is submitted or has some minimum criteria to accept films for SFC, because I see lot of films registered there.
    I’m excited about the visit though. One of my actors is also coming along with me. I have made note of all your suggestions. I have few more questions. Reply only when, and if, you have some time.
    1. I read the SFC website and it mentions regarding showing your films at mini theaters. Now, how does one book those? Can we book them now or you have to fight for the places once you are there? Also, are booths easily available..i read there were 47 booths last time

    2. Regarding the buyers, can we contact them before going there or you have to remember their names beforehand and when you see them there, you just go and talk to them?

    3. We want to cut/edit our film bit more before we go there. I was wondering if you can show to buyers the current version there or you can only show the one uploaded on the website right now.

    Once again thanks so much. I checked your blog and congrats for all your films. I’m blogrolling you now and hope to meet you at Cannes!

  • April 21, 2011

    Thanks so much again! Oh, I thought you were based in UK. Of course I will keep you posted and might bug you bit more if I have any other question. 🙂
    It would have been nice to meet you, but may be next year now! Ya, they did send me the login for Cinando. I will check that out now. I’m going crazy looking for hotels/places to stay. Hopefully by this weekend, we will book everything.
    Good luck with your current projects!

  • April 26, 2011

    Hey Ric, Sorry to bother you again hotels and vacation rentals in Cannes seem to be either so expensive or its difficult to know from the description if its a right place . We have been trying since last few days. Hotels which are like 10 miles away from Cannes seem reasonable, but do you think it makes much sense to stay that far from action? I mean even considering the rental car expenses and all..can you suggest any website to find accommodation there, apart from tripadvisor and hotels.com

    Thanks so much!

  • May 6, 2011

    Hey Ric, we found a really nice place very near the festival. Getting ready now to fly next week. As you advised, I contacted some buyers already and few have replied. You mentioned regarding the fliers..do you think 100 fliers are enough or we might need more?
    I havent made HD Cam versions for my film yet and will only be taking dvd’s with me..I’m assuming that if some buyer wants to buy the film, I can make the HD Cam version once the deal is done.
    Good luck with your current film and hope to see you next year at Cannes or perhaps somewhere else.

  • May 12, 2011

    Thanks so much Ric! Really appreciate your help. Best of luck for ‘Thinking Straight’ and I will certainly look out for the film at Cannes.

  • February 2, 2012

    Well guys i would not consider short film corner as a division where they select films.
    I checked their website and you can see that they “accept” around 2000 films if not more…
    so what kind of selection is that?

  • February 29, 2012

    Hi, Ric. I uploaded my film to short film corner and now waiting for the answer. They said “as soon as possible” they will let me now if my film accepted or not. I am waiting excitedly for 3days.. The result is very important for me so I am going crazy while waiting. I wonder how long did it take to receive your acceptance email? Thank u.

  • February 29, 2012

    thank u 🙂 its really hard to wait.. if i will be aceppted, i may bother you with millions of questions. thank u again.

  • April 4, 2015

    Hi Ric,

    Thank you for your article. It will be my first time at SFC this year for my short film so I have a lot of questions…

    is Cinenado the only way to get people to see your film in advance? It says on the website that it’s for feature length only.
    Do you have to register people to watch your film once you’re there? Or do you simply invite them? How is that done?

    Thanks for your time 🙂


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