In a recent interview with French publication, Le Film Français, festival boss Thierry Frémaux outlines a few more tweaks to the festival format for 2018.
The biggest change remains the shift of start and finish dates, but Frémaux also outlined measures to strengthen the value of the 'world premiere' screening of films in competition, and also an "outright" ban on selfies on the red carpet.
People taking selfies as they enter a screening has long irked the festival - the problem existed long before smartphones and a dictionary-definition for the activity. Ever since cameras became small enough to fit into a pocket or purse, people have used the opportunity to snap a shot of themselves on the red carpet. And in response, the festival has for many years reminded attendees that selfies are 'prohibited'.
But the reality has always been slightly different. Although frowned upon, it's generally been ok in the past to take a quick selfie, so long as you didn't linger too long or block the way for other festivalgoers. Red carpet ushers were always quick to politely move you along. So it will be interesting to see if and how an "outright" ban will work. Given the volume of attendees, it's likely to be virtually impossible to enforce a complete ban. And we're assuming that the 'move along' motivation for this might not apply to the official photographers (from whom you can buy a red carpet shot of yourself).
The other major change announced relates to press screenings. Historically, the press have been able to attend a closed screening of a competition film in the morning before it's evening red carpet premiere. This process is a hangover from the days where the press needed a decent lead time to allow a review to appear in their printed publications the next day. But in today's digitally-charged media landscape, this need no longer exists.
To ensure each film in competition receives a true world premiere, the first screening in Cannes will be the red carpet gala. For films in the 7pm slot, the press will be able to review a simultaneous screening next door in the Theatre Debussy. For the 10pm slots, the press screening will be the following morning.
The main impact this will have on festivalgoers is there will be little advance information about many of the films in the competition program, so more surprises are in store.
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