With so much money and fame at stake, hundreds of filmmakers, sales agents and film investors are biting their fingernails over whether their precious just finished films are going to be invited into what's called “official selection” in the Cannes Film Festival in May.
It's a tense environment ripe for some to have a bit of fun, and that's exactly what someone has done: an online French blog devoted to the mother of all festivals has published what it claims to be the competition line-up, with the explanation that it was published by mistake on the official Cannes website then “hastily” removed.
“The selection is in my head,” festival director Thierry Frémaux told Nancy Tartaglione, international editor of Hollywood website Deadline.com. "This is all lies and it's disgusting to play with such a thing. Cannes is an institution and must be preserved. There is a code of conduct for Cannes and it must be respected. Those who don't respect the code, will never come back to Cannes."
Deadline.com didn't deign to repeat the titles featured in the April Fools' Day joke, perhaps because of Frémaux high-handed reaction, but it was precisely the believability of some of the inclusions that made film types pause to consider the veracity of the list.
It includes Cosmopolis from David Cronenberg, The Burial from Terrence Malick, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence from Roy Andersson, The Master from Paul Thomas Anderson, and Laurence Anyways from Xavier Dolan, the young French Canadian who won the 2010 Sydney Film Prize with Heartbeats. Moonrise Kingdom, the Wes Anderson film that is already known to be opening the festival, was also included. (Google Blog du Festival de Cannes for the full list).
Those who know their stuff, know that the Cannes is not announcing the contenders until April 19 and, while many titles will have been locked down, it is highly likely that the small handful of decision makers are tussling over the final chosen few.
Just like their filmmaking colleagues around the world, there are many Australians on tender hooks. It would be unfair to name the films in contention, however, because most will not withstand the competition and not being selected can – unfairly -- give them a whiff of failure that can seriously hinder their emergence in the cut-throat world of film.
The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 16 to 27 and will be attended by well over 100 Australians. Some will be touting finished films in the market held at the same time as the glamorous red carpet antics; others will be seeking out financiers for planned films.