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Cinema de la Plage, Cannes

I heard about the 'Cannes Independent Film Festival'. Is this an official event?

As of 2015, this event appears to be defunct. In our opinion the Cannes Independent Film Festival (CIFF) was a scam. It was not connected to the Festival de Cannes, Marche du Film, or any other official festival organisation. It was a coat-tails event, run from the UK, which sought to capitalise on the prestige associated with the city's name and famous festival.

Although CIFF was a real event, we questioned its legitimacy in the past and continue to believe that there was little or no value to filmmakers in submitting a film. Despite information to the contrary on the CIFF website, the festival had zero presence in Cannes for the years it claims to have operated, falsely described itself as an official part of the Marche du Film (2010), and in 2012 claimed links to the Marche du Film via a company (The Independent Festival Film Company) which was not registered for the event and had zero footprint anywhere on the web beyond the CIFF site. Likewise, the CIFF web site attempted to bolster its prestige by suggesting that it screened films in Cannes at the Palais des Festivals, glossing over the fact that in reality, films were screened (if indeed they were) in section of the Palais which is used by the Marche du Film. Far from the red carpet, screening rooms in the market are tiny affairs, with a small number of seats reserved only for film buyers (who usually only stay for the first 10 minutes anyway).

It remains our belief that CIFF was one of a growing number of operations which are promoted as film festivals but are primarily intended to generate revenue via submission fees. These 'events' attach themselves to prestigious locations and accept submissions for up to a year in advance, making use of the sliding scale of fees offered via Withoutabox to maximise their revenues. Most offer some form of award structure, but in almost all cases, the awards are subject to an opaque judging criteria and it is difficult to independently verify whether awards are actually received by filmmakers or indeed, whether the winning films even exist. Either way, these events aren't really film festivals in the true sense of the term - they are simply awards programs which do not screen films. And the awards they bestow are meaningless to anyone who matters to a filmmaker's career.

Our recommendation remains, avoid the Cannes Independent Film Festival if it reappears.

A full rundown on the 2025 Cannes Film Festival, is available in the book, Cannes - A Festival Virgin's Guide (7th Edition).
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