While most of the attention in Cannes next week will be understandably dedicated to the film festival and its screenings, it would be safe to argue that the vast majority of attendees in Cannes next week, will have their sights set on the Marche du Film, the Cannes Market. The market screenings, panels, and exhibitors set up shop all throughout the city (and headquarters is inside the Palais along with the main festival). They are joined at the hip, but still very distinct operations with distinct programming. For the most part, this is where buyers, programmers, and other industry will sit in small screening rooms to watch back-to-back films from around the globe. They are primarily straight-to-video fare with titles like Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horror (which was at the market last year). But there is also an assortment of quality films, including almost all of the official Cannes festival lineup, which proves very valuable for attendees who would otherwise miss them.
What I’ve also noticed, though, is an in-between strand of films at the Cannes Market. These are the films that are not playing the festival, yet certainly appear to be above-average titles with great potential. For example, last year’s Cannes Market featured such future hits as The Lives of Others and Severance (which opens next Friday but is already a festival hit), eventhough they were not part of the film festival. Both titles, especially the Oscar-winning former, have gone on to great acclaim and success. After briefly looking at the massive Cannes Market lineup, I’ve identified a few potential hits that would not be found as part of the fest. I’m very excited for a chance to get an early look, long before they either open or screen at later festivals. They include such Hollywood productions as James (Saw) Wan’s thriller Death Sentence, Davis Guggenheim’s soccer saga Gracie, Kasi Lemmons’ political period piece (starring Don Cheadle) Talk to Me, and Gillian Armstrong’s Houdini epic (starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Guy Pearce) Death Defying Acts.
In addition, there are some under-the-radar buzzworthy features to be found. I’d suggest these include screenwriter Daniel Waters’ latest directorial effort (starring Winona Ryder) Sex and Death 101, Nicolas Roeg’s newest thriller Puffball, and Chilean superstar Nicolas Lopez’s sophomore feature Santos. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll find time to see Rob Schneider’s directorial debut (I kid you not), Big Stan. Ah, Cannes!