Yes, I Cannes
Lir Mac Cárthaigh talks to producer Jackie Larkin of Newgrange Pictures about the Irish experience at world’s best-known film festival.
Cannes may have the biggest market of any festival, but is it the best?
In my limited experience Cannes is certainly one of the best markets. It’s the one market on everyone’s diary, whether they’re from Europe, the US, Australia or Asia, so basically everyone descends on this small town for the two weeks of the festival.
Could you briefly outline a typical day in Cannes for an Irish producer?
I don’t know if there’s actually a typical day as such for an Irish producer. A lot of your meetings are scheduled in advance so, in an ideal world, you’ve pretty much lined up a number of meetings per day. But typically this means racing up and down the Croisette as you’ll generally have to go to peoples offices rather than them coming to you!
What is the role of the Irish Pavilion – is it an industry focal point, a social meeting place, or a bit of both?
The Irish Pavilion is both an industry focal point and a social meeting place. It’s situated right beside the Palais, so it couldn’t be in a better location. The staff there are very accommodating and it’s a very useful base to have. It’s often used for meetings but is also a base for all of the Irish attending, so there’s somewhat of a social aspect also.
Is it all about the market, or is there time to see a film or two as well?
It’s not all about the market and of course time permitting you should aim to see a couple of films. There’s such a wide range of independent films screenings, some of which you might never get an opportunity to see again, or certainly not for a year or so. It’s always a difficulty though, trying to balance meetings with going to screenings.
What advice would you give to an Irish producer visiting Cannes for the first time?
You have to officially register with the market to have any type of access to the market and various events. If you’re not officially registered you’re very limited to where you can go in terms of the Palais, the International Village and any of the screenings. It’s also important to register with the Irish Pavilion. As I said, they’re in a great location and it’s a very useful base to have when setting up some of your meetings.
The most important piece of advice though is not to go with your expectations too high. If you come away having had three good meetings, then that’s a result. The important thing is to get a sense of the market in general, who’s selling what, what kind of product is out there, so you are informed about who are the most suitable sales agents, distributors, co-producers and financiers out there for your project.
What projects will you be bringing to Cannes this year?
We’ve just completed the film Kings, which will be screening at the market in Cannes. We’ll also be bringing along two other projects, Stella Days and Happy Ever Afters that are planned for production later this year. Along with that we will bring some of our projects in development as we’re seeking co-development partners for some of the bigger budget projects.