The Cannes 2018 Press Schedule

* Letter of FIPRESCI to the Festival (Thierry Fremaux, Christine Aimé)
* Press release of the French Union of Film Critics and the Club Média Ciné

Letter to the Festival

Dear Thierry Fremaux,
Dear Christine Aimé,

From the media we learnt about a change of the press schedule at the forthcoming Cannes Film Festival.

As the International Federation of Film Critics, we represent critics’ associations in 52 countries worldwide. Our members are worried about the effects of these changes on their working conditions. Could you be so kind to inform us, in detail, how this year’s press screenings will be programmed? What are the options of the accredited press to follow the official program?

We understand and respect the necessity to have world premieres of films. If you could choose to put an embargo instead of delaying press screenings, we would strongly ask our members to follow it.

Our members and their outlets spend a lot of money and travel long distances, in order to follow the Festival. They need to be informed as soon as possible, in order to react on the changes and to take measures not to delay their texts.

We agree that irresponsible social media posts harm the true nature of our profession, but we do worry about the work and coverage of professional journalists and critics. We are afraid that the changes, as far as they’ve been published, function in fact in favor of hastily opinions in social media and will have a disadvantageous effect on the quality of the work of professional critics.

Alin Tasciyan, FIPRESCI, President

Press release
The French Union of Film Critics and the Club Média Ciné

The French Union of Film Critics’ executive board and the journalists at Club Média Ciné would like to respond to Thierry Frémaux’s – the Cannes Festival General Delegate’s – statement published in Le Film Français magazine, regarding the selected films press screenings taking place at the same time as the official film screenings.  

The new schedule published worries us, as it will affect film critics, regardless of the media (the daily press, the internet, press agencies, radios and television).  

A simple mathematical question arises: how can we fit 4,000 accredited critics in a 1,068-seat theatre (Debussy) when this very film (for which artists walk up the red carpet at 7pm) was previously screened in the Grand Auditorium Lumière which sits 2,300 people? Let’s remember that this film was also screened at the same time in the Debussy theatre and again at 2pm in the Grand Auditorium Lumière.

The unlucky ones will join the 10pm crowd for the screening at the Bazin theatre (if it is still happening) or the one scheduled the next day. When will they write their articles?
As for the competition film screened at 10pm, its 8:30 press screening the next day will cause obvious and problematic delays in publication, as press articles will be released at least 48 hours after the screening and 24 hours for all other types of articles.  

It is then reasonable to fear that such work conditions will encourage editors to choose pictures rather than texts and a rating system rather than detailed reviews.    
Not to mention the complexity of the schedules which is the by-product of this new organisation for the French and international press, and which will bring journalists to either give up on interviews or carry them out before seeing the film. It may even encourage these editors to reduce their coverage of the festival by sending fewer journalists and critics.

The essence of our profession and the amount of time necessary to analyse and review the works shown at the Festival de Cannes are therefore at stake.
There may be other solutions, including setting up embargoes to protect the peace of mind of the teams about to walk up the red carpet and the time required for serious reviews and journalistic work.  

We do understand the wish to, once again, present world premieres, but the conditions set out in the previous statement would have dire consequences on the quality of media coverage and hence on the image of the Festival and the Festival itself.

Syndicat Français de la Critique de Cinéma
Club Média Ciné