Cannes Film Festival Callsheet South Africa
May 21, 2019

South Africa in Cannes

On top of being the most famously glamorous festival in the world, the Cannes Film Festival provides access to the ultimate decision makers and financiers within the filmmaking world.

This article was first published in Callsheet Issue 3.

As per usual, a delegation of South African producers, government officials, and filmmakers are in attendance at the Cannes Film Festival to renew existing partnerships, strike new deals, and find outlets and production partners for their work.

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture, that has been mandated to ensure the equitable growth of the South African film and video industry, have embarked on a trip to the Cannes International Film Festival, held from the 14th of May 2019.

The NFVF once again showcase a catalogue of South African projects from the 2018/19 period, seeking either completion finance or sales agents. The catalogue includes independent filmmakers with projects that have completed development (final, polished scripts) or have completed projects that are ready for sale.

Cannes Film Festival Callsheet

A jury panel at Cannes Film 2018

Flying the Flag

While many South African film stakeholders will be travelling to this glamourous pocket of France to pitch their projects and secure production finance, many others will be attending simply to fly the SA flag high, and remind the industry’s heaviest hitters that there is still no country on the planet that can offer what South Africa can, in terms of rebates, weather, skilled crew, talent pool, diversity, and the ever-important currency conversion rate.

Benefits of International Product Exposure

South African filmmakers can benefit from international festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival as they offer opportunities to:

  • Increase their networks of international contacts.
  • Conduct business according to international standards and develop strong business models for their companies.
  • Develop the skills needed to operate within the international film environment.
  • Secure finance for a projects.
  • Get support for projects that have been invited to internationally recognised pitching forums or competitions.
  • Enhance the profile of their films and increase international appeal.


Puits de Lumiere Palais (c) Alexandra Fleurantin

The Cannes Film Festival

With the 72nd season currently underway, the international Festival de Cannes is one of the world’s most widely publicized events and certainly the most important film festival in terms of worldwide impact.

Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate since 2007, reveals how the Festival maintains its international dimension:

“Every year, the Festival invites filmmakers from all over the world to give their own interpretation of the world of today and tomorrow, creating a world map of cinema. In 2018, more than 120 countries were represented. It’s a virtuous circle: as long as the Festival remains out in front, everybody wants to be at Cannes! Accredited professionals come from all around the world, and there is international coverage of the event in the media. In addition, the Festival de Cannes offers filmmaking countries the chance to showcase the richness of their cinema in the Village International, which hosts an increasing number of countries every year, nearly sixty in 2018.”

Palais Booth Callsheet Cannes Film Festival

Palais Booth (c) Alexandra Fleurantin

The Village International

The Village’s unrivalled visibility, thanks to its location near the beach and port and immediate accessibility from the Palais des Festivals, makes it a supremely easy place to meet partners. Under its white awnings, each institution organises professional events such as contract signings, press conferences, cocktail parties or announcements of new projects in the terraced area.

The Village International is growing and catering to new arrivals with each passing year. Inaugurated in 2000, the Village then played host to 12 countries, with 14 pavilions. It now welcomes over 60 countries, among which Armenia, Nigeria, Kazakhstan and Singapore are included.

It is here that South Africa’s government agencies, production houses and filmmakers will spend their time mingling with decision makers, financiers and the who’s who of the filmmaking world.