Crowdfunding at Cannes

20 May, 2015 Posted in: Cannes, Cannes, Festivals

Independent crowdfunding is an increasingly large part of even major festivals like Cannes, with Critics’ Week hit Krisha funded on Kickstarter and around 10% of films at Sundance part-funded via a mixture of different crowd-funded platforms. We asked Miranda Fleming, UK Film & Creative for Indiegogo, formerly head of production at Screen South, about her Cannes experience.

Miranda Fleming

Miranda Fleming

Can you describe a typical day at Cannes for us?

Nights are long in Cannes so meetings tend to start at 10am. It’s sunny this year so a lounge meeting in the terrace is a nice way to start – I often start my day meeting an international producer with a specific film in mind to crowdfund – I help them take a look at the project and start developing a strategy for the campaign.

Then it’s off to the International village – meeting with international festivals to discuss workshops and panels for future events. The UK is my main market, so I pop into a UK specific event like Film London. I’m also interested in European filmmaker networks in the main Cannes festival and join a documentary brunch on one of the Plages restaurants – today it was the Documentary brunch with selected documentary makers from across the world.

The afternoon is full of more meetings with mix of filmmakers/international film festivals and funds. I also attend the Croisette front offices to see a couple of Sales Agents who are internationally selling a film which is crowdfunding or might be launching a campaign for one of their films which they are financing.

The evening is a dinner with US filmmakers from partnerships such as IFC in New York and a great way to introduce and network them to some similar minded UK filmmakers.

What are Indiegogo’s general aims at a festival like Cannes and how do they relate to Indiegogo’s general objectives?

Our objective is to speak with all international filmmakers – UK, US, but particularly from countries where we don’t have offices (yet) like India, Japan and Europe. The latter is key at Cannes as Europe is a fantastic central focus here. European funds are crucial to our work here, as they have direct access to filmmaker networks. I also meet with the European Association of European Regional funds, Cine Regio, whose members accounted for 30% of the films playing at Cannes.

It’s important for us to measure the trends via these networks – they know more than anyone what their film industry is discussing – it’s imperative we join that conversation as crowdfunding takes a hold internationally.

And what do you most enjoy about Cannes?

Filmmaker networks, particularly meeting filmmakers from all corners of the world – having just one fantastic spontaneous introduction each day – be it through a scheduled meeting, an encounter in a queue waiting for a film or taxi, is what makes Cannes such a special festival. The sunshine helps put a spring in everyone’s step – there’s an optimistic feeling of good things to come.

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Youth: first reviews at Cannes

20 May, 2015 Posted in: Cannes, Cannes, Festivals

Early signs indicate that Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth, starring Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz and Paul Dano, which premiered in Competition at Cannes this morning is polarizing critics: some love it, some certainly aren’t on board. We are, of course, proud to cherish what we think is a very special film, and we’re honoured to have had a hand in bringing it to the big screen here at Cannes. With that in mind, read on for our pick of the very best independent critics’ reviews so far…


Lee Marshall for Screen International

“The wry, flamboyant cinematic opera of Paolo Sorrentino reaches new heights of showy, utterly tasteful magnificence in Youth, a meditation on ageing, creativity and the staging of spectacles set almost entirely in a Swiss spa hotel. It opens up the pores with ravishing images and rubs in soothing musical ointments, occasionally varying the treatment with a bracing splash of cold drama, served by immaculately groomed actor-assistants.”

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David Sexton for the Evening Standard

“Throughout there are bitter, funny aphorisms about life, love and ageing exchanged by the two old friends, in between updates on their prostate troubles. And as ever with Sorrentino, there are intense visions of both sagging, bloated flesh and the transient bloom of ravishing sexuality — while the exquisite camerawork is itself always a reminder of how much beauty there is in the world and that it passes. Nobody else is making such operatic films half so well as Sorrentino: Youth makes nearly all the other contenders for the Palme d’Or this year seem to lack conviction.”

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Sasha Stone for Awards Daily

“Every shot is a thing of beauty. I spend most of my time here in Cannes finding beautiful/ugly/interesting things to take pictures of.  For most of this film I had the impulse to hoist my camera and take a snapshot of it. It is just one dizzying image after another.  Films like this hardly get made anymore. Probably American directors couldn’t get a movie like this made, not on anyone’s big name.  Actors certainly don’t get chances like this to deliver fully realized performances. [...] Both Caine and Keitel give career-best performances.”

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Jay Weissberg for Variety

“Everything the director’s fans expect is here: stunning compositions (with Luca Bigazzi again behind the lensing), a second-to-none understanding of music’s emotional range, delightfully unexpected interludes, and a towering performance, this time divided in two (or two-and-a-half, since Jane Fonda’s brief turn is indelible). In addition, there’s a stronger female presence than has been seen since This Must Be the Place. [...] There are the grand themes, including aging, memory, love and thirst for further fulfillment, and the minor entr’actes, ranging from spectatorship to the visual pleasure of contrasts, to a near-mystic sense of wonder at beauty in all its forms.”

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Jamie Graham for Games Radar

“Paolo Sorrentino’s new feature, Youth, is a companion piece to his last feature, The Great Beauty, albeit in a more minor key. It is an introspective work of tenderness, melancholy, joy, humour and considerable compassion, with the Italian director’s signature visual flair ensuring that any and all contemplation comes with a blast of brio. [...] Sorrentino has always been something of a visual chameleon – compare the poise of The Consequences Of Love to the camera chaos of Il Divo – and it’s the themes that remain: ageing, memory, creativity, love, loss, and forgiveness. Youth is Sorrentino’s aria, and is one for the ages.”

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Instant Twitter reactions: Youth at Cannes garners a wave of superlatives

20 May, 2015 Posted in: Cannes, Cannes, Festivals

Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth, starring Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz and Paul Dano, and backed by Film4, has provoked reactions from both ends of the spectrum here at Cannes, but the early response seems to be leaning in the film’s favour with many declaring it a masterwork. Here are 13 of the best reactions on Twitter – we’ll update with a reviews round up later when those come in.

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Cannes reviews round-up: Amy

19 May, 2015 Productions Posted in: Cannes, Cannes, Festivals

Film4 are very proud to have boarded Asif Kapadia’s intimate, emotional documentary portrait of the rise and fall of artist Amy Winehouse, who died tragically in 2011. The film has premiered at Cannes to rave reviews paying testament to both the film and to Amy Winehouse’s own extraordinary talent. Here are five of our favourites:

Peter Bradshaw for The Guardian:

“Asif Kapadia’s documentary study of the great British soul queen Amy Winehouse, who died of alcohol poisoning at the age of 27, is stunningly moving and powerful: intimate, passionate, often shocking, and almost mesmerically absorbing […] It is an overwhelming story, and despite everyone knowing the ending, it is as gripping as a thriller: Kapadia has fashioned and shaped it with masterly flair.

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Lindsay Miller for Popsugar

“For my money, the most winning aspect of Amy is how much it revels in the late singer’s scalpel-sharp wit and sense of humor. The audience burst into laughter more than once during the screening I attended as we watched Winehouse throw interviewers off-kilter or come up with off-the-cuff, invented characters to entertain her friends.”

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Geoffrey McNab for The Independent

“There is an unutterable sadness at the heart of Asif Kapadia’s brilliant new film about Amy Winehouse, the singer who died from alcohol poisoning in 2011 aged only 27. Kapadia’s film is steeped in regret and grief over what became of its subject and yet it never loses its sense of awe about what she achieved.”

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Guy Lodge for Variety

“Boasting the same depth of feeling and breadth of archival material that made Kapadia’s “Senna” so rewarding, this lengthy but immersive portrait will hit hard with viewers who regard Winehouse among the great lost voices not just of a generation, but of an entire musical genre.”

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Robbie Collin for The Telegraph

“Kapadia’s film is many things: a Sherlockian reconstruction of Winehouse’s arcing path across the skies of superstardom, a commemoration of her colossal talent, and a moving tribute to a brilliant, witty, vivacious young woman gone far too soon. But above all, it’s a perceptive examination of the singer’s need for love – from her friends, family, colleagues, husband and public – and the ways in which that need went unmet, or was exploited, at the times it ached in her the most.”

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Cannes 2015: The Festival Finds Its Feet

18 May, 2015 Posted in: Awards, Cannes, Cannes, Festivals, Opinion, Review

Film4 Channel Editor David Cox brings us up to date as the 2015 edition of the Cannes Film Festival moves into its second week…

We’re into the first weekend of this year’s Cannes Film Festival and, after a bumpy beginning, some stronger titles have come along and things are starting to straighten out a bit. I felt like I was clutching at straws for a few days – nothing felt like the real deal, nothing was delivering from start to finish and on all levels. There’d been plenty to enjoy (I’m not seeking perfection and you rarely find much at Cannes that’s actively bad) but it was really just moments from, or aspects of, films that were making an impression.

Amongst the early entries unlikely to be remembered by the end of the festival were Hirokazu Koreeda’s touching but perilously lightweight Our Little Sister (graced by some lovely performances); Radu Muntean’s intriguing but too-ambiguous-by-half One Floor Down; Woody Allen’s campus comedy of morality and murder Irrational Man (scene-by-scene snappy but an overly-familiar dead-end); and Matteo Garrone’s fairytale compendium Tale Of Tales, which filled the screen with lavish design and fabulous creatures but failed to conjure anything approaching a fantastical atmosphere.


More significant, and almost certain to be in the running for a prize, Laszlo Nemes’ Son Of Saul is a Holocaust drama made with the urgent immediacy of a Dardenne film (specifically Rosetta and The Son). This immersive first-person drama – set in Auschwitz-Birkenau, 1944, and focussing almost exclusively on a Hungarian prisoner’s attempt to bury the dead body of a boy he believes to be his son – has a teasing visual scheme (lead Geza Rohrig is front-centre throughout, with death camp horrors glimpsed at the edge of frame or out of focus) and haunting sound design, an infernal, almost industrial clamour that conveys more of what’s going on than the images. It’s as powerful as one might expect and highly accomplished. However, given the subject matter, it also feels too contrived for comfort, with its perfectly constructed clockwork plot that, by being so compelling its own right, somehow reduces the very real historical horror to little more than a backdrop. Furthermore, some of the off-screen dialogue – lines such as ‘To the pits, the ovens must be full’ – are a little more on-the-nose than feels entirely necessary. Still, there’s no doubt that Son Of Saul is an entirely honourable attempt to confront the Shoah and an early festival highlight.


The festival whipping-boy going into the first weekend was poor Gus Van Sant (a former Palme d’Or winner for Elephant) and his spiritual survival-adventure/relationship drama Sea Of Trees. Booed at the first press screening (and maybe at the second too, but surely there can’t be that many idiots at this festival), Sea Of Trees is – simply put – not a film best-served by being in competition at Cannes. It may be ponderous, sentimental and full of trite philosophical musings but I’ve seen plenty of films here over the years that follow the same path, escaping unscathed thanks to a lower profile or a better disguise (another of this year’s competition entrants, Joachim Trier’s Louder Than Bombs, is equally banal yet received warm applause). The nakedly earnest Sea Of Trees never tries to hide its emotions (it almost defiantly overshares in the final third) and one is never in doubt of the sort of grand effect that Van Sant – and Matthew McConaughey – are aiming for. That they end up looking faintly ridiculous is a shame, but critics would be better off trying to figure out why a big-hearted, serious-minded and beautifully-directed film ends up in such a mess rather than taking childish cheap shots.

A stumbling start maybe, but the weekend bought with it a handful of anticipated films that didn’t disappoint – Todd Haynes’ Carol; Asif Kapadia’s documentary Amy; Nanni Moretti’s Mia Madre (which I’ve yet to see but which has been well received); Miguel Gomes’s three-part Arabian Nights; and my personal favourite, Arnaud Desplechin’s My Golden Days. There have also been discoveries in the sidebars – Andrew Cividino’s Sleeping Giant; Clement Cogitore’s The Wakhan Front; Han Jun-hee’s Coin Locker Girl; and Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room, the director’s bloody follow-up to his popular Blue Ruin. I’ll touch on some of them in my next entry if we haven’t moved on by then – it’s amazing how quickly your new favourite film becomes yesterday’s news at this rapid-fire festival!