BFI NETWORK: Cannes Debrief

Now that the Palme leaves have settled, we checked in with some Cannes 2018 attendees for this year’s hottest topics and titles.

30 May 2018

l-r: Rosa Attab, Shona Collins, Holly Daniel, Lizzie Francke, Matimba Kabalika, David Kimbangi, Ben Luxford, Julia Oh, Tricia Tuttle, Rowan Woods.

Rosa Attab – Producer (You Were Never Really Here, 2017, I, Daniel Blake, 2016, Rust and Bone, 2012, Dheepan, 2015)

Favourite film of Cannes 2018

Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman – welcome back Spike Lee, I’ve been missing you so hard!

Best first or second feature

Diamantino (Critic’s Week) a Portuguese first feature that you can’t really categorize in any specific genre and certainly can’t pitch. It mesmerized me by its boldness and its freedom... and made me laugh so hard (which certainly doesn’t happen a lot in Cannes).

And sorry but I have to add a second one: Girl, watching it was witnessing the birth of a young director who certainly is going to count.

Film you’re most gutted you missed out on

Birds of Passage.

Film everyone is talking about

Girl

Hot topic of conversation in Cannes

Women in film… but I have really been missing a more intersectional debate. Hopefully soon race and class will be embraced as well, as proper change can’t happen without it.

Shona Collins – Creative Executive, Pathé International

Favourite film of Cannes 2018

BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee

Best first or second feature

Los Silencios, Beatriz Siegner

Film you’re most gutted you missed out on

Birds of Passage – Embrace of the Serpent was incredible.

Film everyone is talking about

Cold War

Hot topic of conversation in Cannes

Gender politics and the weather (some nervous attendees quickly turning to the latter when the former became too heated).

Holly Daniel – Management Team, Scottish Film Talent Network

Favourite film of Cannes 2018

I was there so briefly I only managed one. Long Day’s Journey Into Night’, Bi Gan.

Best first or second feature

As above. A second feature for Bi Gan and a beautiful noir style film with a story told through memories, dreams and the present. Plus the second half of the film is not only shot in one take but also in 3D! I still have questions about it but I am also still talking about it.

Film you’re most gutted you missed out on

Girl

Film everyone is talking about

Girl

Hot topic of conversation in Cannes

Sexual harrassment hotline, gender parity, Netflix, storm troopers!

Lizzie Francke – Senior Production and Development Executive, BFI Film Fund

Favourite film of Cannes 2018

Well, Cold War was ours – but it makes me swoon every time. I missed a lot in competition but can’t wait for BlacKKKlansman, Burning, Shoplifters.

Best first or second feature

One Day – an extraordinary feature debut from Zsofia Szilagy, fostered through the Hungarian Film Fund’s Incubator Lab. It’s a domestic horror as it details with painful precision one day and a half in the life of a working mother on the verge of a marriage breakdown. In Critics Week and with no ‘high concept’ hook, it might take time to be discovered but it was one of the most important films in the festival. On its taut filmmaking alone it should have been in competition – as an excavation of the female existential experience it is up there with Chantal Akerman’s masterwork Jeanne Dielman.

Film you’re most gutted you missed out on

Too many this year – see above, but also: Girl, Birds of Passage, Breakdown, Leave No Trace.

Film everyone is talking about

Well, I would say Cold War...

Hot topic of conversation in Cannes

Women in film – but as with every year since I have been going to Cannes in 1988... “plus ça change. Tout doit changer...”

Matimba Kabalika – Talent Development Manager, BFI NETWORK

Favourite film of Cannes 2018

BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee

Best first or second feature

One Day (‘Critic’s week’) A Hungarian first feature, which knocked me sideways – still thinking about it!

Film you’re most gutted you missed out on

Girl and Birds of Passage and Cold War

Film everyone is talking about

Girl

Hot topic of conversation in Cannes

Women in film, when will we see more films from women in Competition, it feels as though there’s an urgent desire for real and lasting change.

David Kimbangi – Film Fund Development Coordinator, BFI

Favourite film of Cannes 2018

Cold War, Paweł Pawlikowski

Best first or second feature

The Harvesters (Un Certain Regard)

Film you’re most gutted you missed out on

One Day and Mandy. I’ve heard both are absolute bangers!

Film everyone is talking about

BlacKkKlansman (And another contender for my favourite of the fest).

Hot topic of conversation in Cannes

Has Lars Von Trier gone too far?

Ben Luxford – Head of UK-Wide Audiences, BFI

Favourite film of Cannes 2018

Birds of Passage, Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra.

Best first or second feature

Girl (Un Certain Regard), Lukas Dhont.

Film you’re most gutted you missed out on

The World Is Yours, Romain Gavras

Film everyone is talking about

In the market: 355. At the festival: Border (Ali Abbasi).

Hot topic of conversation in Cannes

Blockchain. It’s going to save us all...!

Bradley Quirk – Head of Development, Altitude Film Entertainment

Favourite film of Cannes 2018

Border, Ali Abbasi (Un Certain Regard)

Best first or second feature

See the above.

Film you’re most gutted you missed out on

BlacKkKlansman.

Film everyone is talking about

Girl.

Hot topic of conversation in Cannes

For British attendees, the lack of British films (with ‘Whitney’, ‘Cold War’ and ‘Don Quixote’ the exceptions). All attendees commented that Cannes felt less busy this year.

Julia Oh – Commissioning Executive, Film4

Favourite film of Cannes 2018

Cold War (very biased, but absolutely love it).

Best first or second feature

One Day. The filmmaker said she wanted to make a mother of three her protagonist, not have a murder and still keep us interested. Great direction, very compelling.

Film you’re most gutted you missed out on

Shoplifters and Burning. Asian cinema! Went home and watching both filmmakers' early work.

Film everyone is talking about

Border.

Hot topic of conversation in Cannes

Hmm, my favourite convos are less hot and more about gelato.

Tricia Tuttle – Artistic Director, BFI London Film Festival

Favourite film of Cannes 2018

I can’t have favourites amongst films we may show... But Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace is out before us and it’s an extraordinary, compassionate film about the contemporary American underclass, a drama about a father and daughter living off the grid. Brilliant.

Best first or second feature

See above re favourites, but a first feature everyone was raving about is Belgian debut Girl by Lukas Dhont.

Film you’re most gutted you missed out on

BlacKkKlansman. It’s out before us so I couldn’t afford the luxury of the time to see it. Can’t wait to catch it when it’s released in a few months.

Film everyone is talking about

Lars Von Trier’s The House That Jack Built.

Hot topic of conversation in Cannes

Of course the hottest and most urgent topic is representation: the scarcity of female filmmakers in Competition, and globally, more generally.

Rowan Woods – Development Executive, BBC Films

Favourite film of Cannes 2018

Border, Leave No Trace, One Day.

Best first or second feature

A tie between One Day and Girl – both incredibly accomplished first features playing in Critics Week and UCR respectively.

Film you’re most gutted you missed out on

BlacKkKlansman and Burning.

Film everyone is talking about

Girl, Border, The House That Jack Built (ugh!).

Hot topic of conversation in Cannes

Women in film (specifically competition), the weather, the fact that it’s a quiet year – both in terms of big hitters in competition and general festival attendance.