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FCFF goes to the Cannes Film Festival

FCFF goes to the Cannes Film Festival 1920 2560 Forest City Film Festival

Matthew Downs is the Festival’s International Film Programmer, and his work ensures that our festival has access to an exciting, diverse line-up of the new films making waves around the world. To do this, he scouts festivals the world over, and this year, his search has taken him to the Cannes Film Festival in France. 

Read on to hear about his experiences, and how this year’s FCFF will bring a touch of Cannes magic to London, Ontario.

For as long as I’ve been interested in movies, I’ve dreamed of attending the Cannes Film Festival. Every May, I sit by my computer screen, watching the live stream of the red carpet glamour and reading reviews of what will surely become some of my personal favorite films of the year. Since 1946, Cannes has been the most highly regarded festival in the world, where every auteur strives to premiere their newest works, and where every celebrity wants their picture taken. White sand beaches, gorgeous weather, and an unparalleled benchmark in the quality of their movies—what more could any movie lover want?

This year, as a programmer with the Forest City Film Festival, I had the immense honour and privilege of attending the 77th edition of Cannes. Over the ten days of the festival, I viewed 34 movies, attended industry events, and survived on 5 hours of sleep each night, eating exclusively movie theatre popcorn (which, very strangely, tasted like cilantro rather than the familiar North American popcorn butter). I had the time of my life.

But Cannes is no walk in the park. You think the buses are unreliable in London, Ontario? HA, my sweet summer child, just TRY catching a Palm bus from the Palais to the Cineum IMAX theatre during the Cannes Film Festival. Not to mention, not just anyone can book a flight to France to catch a premiere. The Cannes Film Festival is a highly exclusive event, reserved for press, industry, and a lucky few cinephiles from around the world. The only reason I was able to obtain one of their highly sought-after badges was due to my work with the Forest City Film Festival.

How amazing is it that we’re now able to travel halfway around the globe to scout out the best movies of the year? Last year, 7 out of 13 of our Best of the World Fests movies originally premiered in Cannes, and in 2022, 8 out of 13 of our titles came from Cannes. I won’t give any hints about this year’s selection, but there should be plenty to be excited about in the 9th edition of the Forest City Film Festival.

For more thoughts and insights on this year’s Cannes, check out my vlogs from the Croisette: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBVgYtCwGTKnlYEjqBnLDDSyPZRAMZisZ.