Update - 28 May 2010
Well, it's now a week after the end of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Our suspicions that submitting to CIFF is of little benefit to filmmakers have been confirmed by the fact that this event had zero presence in the main areas of Cannes (even the far less ambitious Cannes in a Van event had a higher profile in town).
Indeed, the CIFF web site makes mention of screenings at the "CIFF Villa", yet we couldn't find any mention of where this actually is or how to get there. It also didn't escape our attention that the CIFF website was not updated at all during the event. And even a week later, it still makes no mention of whether winners were selected, prizes awarded, or even a half-decent party hosted. You'd think a festival which charges up to £110 for submissions would be able to find a few minutes to update their website during their flagship event!
As such, we would reiterate our advice that the Cannes Independent Film Festival should be avoided on the basis that the submission fee does not provide any value for money to filmmakers.
If you're heading to Cannes, we'd recommend that you steer clear of an event calling itself the "Cannes Independent Film Festival".
This 'festival' has all the hallmarks of being linked to (or at least inspired by) a network of dubious 'film festivals' and screenplay competitions, which appear to be primarily intended to make money via submission fees. These events are dressed up to look like prestigious festivals and are often linked to glamourous locations to add to the submissions appeal. But in many cases, they can be little more than anonymous 'competitions' which do not screen films (or if they do, not in the way you would be lead to believe from reading the information on their web sites), and they may or may not have real prizes.
Worryingly, submissions to this event (along with a good deal of other dubious festivals) are currently managed through Withoutabox, a service that many filmmakers now rely on to submit films to legitimate events. At the time of writing on WAB the Cannes Independent Film Festival described itself as:
The Cannes Independent Film Festival showcases the best of indie filmmaking during the annual Festival de Cannes. As an official part of the Cannes Film Festival's Marché du Film, CIFF gives indie filmmakers the opportunity to network with the entire filmmaking industry, screen films at the Palais des Festival, and sell in the Film Market, all side-by-side with the year's biggest new releases. This is the place to be if you are serious about film. Become a part of the amazing spectacle that is Cannes.
This is utter bunk. It is not an official part of the Festival de Cannes or the Marché du Film. Any screenings which take place in the Palais will only be in one of the tiny screening rooms in the basement - screening rooms which are intended to screen films for buyers, not for audiences. The main cinemas in the Palais are for the sole use of the Festival itself. Laughably, the CIFF also billed itself as "the first major addition to the Festival de Cannes since the Director's Fortnight in 1968." Again, utter rubbish. Of course, the description has been changed since this post appeared.
The URL for CIFF is www.cannesfest.org (unlinked so as not to give undue Google link mojo to the site). Until there's some credible evidence to suggest this is a legitimate event with real benefits to filmmakers who submit, we recommend steering well clear of the Cannes Independent Film Festival.
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