Cannes Film Festival Guide for Independent Filmmakers

May 01, 2024

Independent filmmakers face a number of challenges when it comes to standing out in the market against better-funded competition. 

However, indie films have seen something of an upsurge in their popularity. In 2022, the global box office took $25.9 billion and it is estimated that $5.6 billion of this or around 21% was from independent filmmakers.

Getting someone to watch an independent film, however, can still be difficult in today’s market that is dominated by big-budget titles and social media influence sending audiences down the more obvious and popular routes for entertainment.

With a lower budget, limited resources, and no big television networks plugging their work, indie filmmakers can find it difficult to build up a solid audience.

For this reason, events such as the Cannes Film Festival are hugely important for independent filmmakers and smaller productions that are looking to make a name for themselves.

The whole reason for the existence of film festivals is to magnify the plight of indie filmmakers and highlight those up-and-coming artists who are pushing the envelope with their work.

The Cannes Film Festival was first created in response to the fascist influences of Mussolini’s Italy and films featured today often have political motivations or themes.

For example, the 2024 biopic The Apprentice about Donald Trump, which was envisioned as a congratulatory campaign piece by its billionaire backer, has ended up being a no-holds-barred depiction of a sleazy and predatory character. So much so that it has since become the target of a lawsuit from the former president, for portraying “lies that have already been debunked”.

Although the former President was not happy with the production, it seemed to have been well received at the Cannes Film Festival where it was shown, with the audiences giving it an eight-minute standing ovation when the final credits rolled.

Why Should Indie Filmmakers Go to the Cannes Film Festival? 

Basically, if you are an indie filmmaker then the Cannes Film Festival, the biggest networking event in the world, is the place for you to be.

Apart from schmoozing with the bigwigs, building relationships and developing business contacts, the Cannes Film Festival is a great place to showcase your work throughout the many screening events taking place, as well as setting up arrangements with distributors and buyers and pitching your ideas to anybody who will listen.

When is the Best Time to Meet With Buyers and Financiers?

The first weekend at Cannes is always the busiest and buyers prefer the first weekend or earlier days of the festival.

For financiers, on the other hand, who are looking to fund projects that catch their eye, they would normally prefer the later stages of the festival for making any deals. 

Getting Tickets to Screenings

Booking tickets to screenings can be notoriously difficult, the website usually goes down with the sheer numbers of people trying to access it at once. The system can also be quite strict where if you miss two screenings you were booked in for, you will be banned from going to other screenings for a day or so.

So you really need to cancel those screenings you cannot make within at least one hour of the film starting. Early morning screenings that look like they are going to be missed through a drunken/hungover fog should be cancelled the night before, or at least give your ticket to someone else who can make use of it.

How To Book Tickets on the Website

With connections to the booking website being notoriously difficult to establish when the tickets become available, one of the best tips is to copy and paste all the URLs for the particular screenings you want to book before they become available, i.e. when the traffic on the pages is relatively low and everything still functions.

Send them in an email to yourself, make a note of them on your phone or create a Google Doc with all the website URLs for the screening booking page for each individual film, then when it comes to the busy time and people are struggling to access the site, you should be able to just follow the links directly to the page you want and book the tickets from there.

Just open up a separate tab with each of the links for all the screenings you are looking at and go through each one. 

Most Interesting Ways to Get Into a Screening or Party Without a Ticket

What should you do if you still cannot secure entry into the screening, networking event or party you are desperate to get into? 

While we would not necessarily recommend indie filmmakers try any of the following actions—based on accounts from those who have attended the festival and divulged some of their methods—these are perhaps some of the most interesting options that people have tried

  • Pretend you are on live TV and talk to an unseen camera, narrating what you are doing and the film you are going to see, then just try and breeze through into the party as if you have every right to be there and are part of some mainstream news organisation that is covering the event.

  • Bribing bouncers is apparently still a thing, but good luck to anyone who wants to try that with the hardcore security personnel they have on-site. As recent news stories from the red carpet show, those security guards will even have a pop at Kelly Rowland, so whatever notions of having significant clout to brush off the security personnel you may have had should be quickly dismissed. 

  • Dress like a waiter and try to find a back entrance.

  • Look the part by dressing glamorously, walking with an air of entitlement, and acting as if you are supposed to be there.

Technical Specifications for Submitting a Film

The Cannes Film Festival only accepts multiplexed files or those with the audio, video, subtitles, and everything else all in a single file.

Maximum file size is 8 GB, so bear this in mind for larger films and those shot in higher resolutions.

Films can be uploaded with a resolution up to 1920 x 1080 HD, provided they do not go over the maximum 8 GB allowed. 

What Technology and Equipment is Needed to Act Like a Pro at the Cannes Film Festival?

Below, we’ll discuss the essentials you need at the Cannes Film Festival.

Business Cards

In this age of high-tech solutions and social media connections, it is easy to forget one of the most common forms of media used at the Cannes Film Festival and that is the simple business card.

Apart from flyers for your films detailing what it is about and when it will be shown, the business card is the only other printed media you really need, and even in 2025 and onwards, events such as the Cannes Film Festival still rely on that old skool touch of swapping business cards.

Buyers and funders you talk to who are experienced in the industry and are familiar with the setup at the Cannes Film Festival will use your business card to jot down notes about what you talked about and your film, to remind them further of the encounter in the midst of all the chaos and hundreds of other people they have met.

To this end, it helps to have a business card that is not laminated so the industry professionals can use it to scribble notes and dates of when you met and arrangements you have made.

It is important to remember that many high-end business transactions at the Cannes Film Festival will be facilitated with excessive amounts of wine and other alcoholic beverages sometimes over many hours, so expecting your contact to be able to whip out their phone and do something technical like unlocking it may be a bit of an ask. With a business card, it is nice and simple and even the most inebriated industry contact can find the motor skills needed to put it in their pocket.


The Cannes 2024 Camera Chart shows that most of the cameras used during shooting are equipped with Super 35 sensors. The main cameras being used currently are the Arri Alexa Mini, Arri 35, Sony Venice, and the Arri Mini Lf. 


WiFi is available throughout the Palais at the Cannes Film Festival. 

Priced at around €15 per day (or €95 for 12 days) although press badge holders get free WiFi with their badge code.  

Using the WiFi connection you can also gain access to cloud solutions, enhancing your trip to the Cannes Film Festival with all the technology and data you need at your fingertips. With film production cloud solutions in place and accessible through WiFi, you can bring your filmmaking business with you, from any location or device, even using handheld mobile phones in places like the Cannes Film Festival.


One of the key tools for the Cannes Film Festival is a good smartphone that won’t let you down. Aside from the obvious communication, scanning QR codes and transferring of information they will be needed for, at the Cannes Film Festival you can use your mobile phone to scan member’s passes to get their details, as a quick and easy way of getting all the typical contact details you would need without having to jot it down on a piece of paper.

Cloud Storage 

Of course, you don’t want to rely on just your smartphone and the one film you may be showcasing at a screening event that has been pre-uploaded to the Cannes Film Festival system.

Using cloud storage solutions your phone will be just the tip of the iceberg and backed up with a full film production control hub with virtual workstations, unlimited storage and access to your entire body of work.

At the Cannes Film Festival, you want to make the deal at the event and have the technology to facilitate this.

If a distributor is not interested in the film you are pitching but may be interested in another of your titles that has not been prepared, arranging to send it to them after the event is not good enough. Chances are that the distributor or buyer will finalise a deal with another production team who had all their technology in place.

With cloud storage and computational power, you can have almost unlimited storage capacity and processing capability at your fingertips. As long as you have a connection to the Internet you can access your entire collection of work securely from any location, whether that is at home, the office, on-site, or sipping prosecco in the Palais at the Cannes Film Festival.

Contact Lyon Tech

For more information on the state-of-the-art technologies that can enhance your production house, get in touch with our expert advisors today.

With fully managed solutions from Lyon Tech, events like the Cannes Film Festival can really be the playground of indie filmmakers, rather than a logistical nightmare of technical troubleshooting.

When you have an important film industry contact at your table, you don’t want any embarrassing technical issues to ruin the moment or any potential deals you might have made.

As well as an eye-catching and original or thought-provoking piece of creative work, you need a robust IT system in place to act as your control centre from which all your devices including laptops, PCs, and mobiles will operate seamlessly.

For more information on improving your processes and utilising technology to complement your creative vision, contact our industry experts today for an informal conversation on which systems and technology would be most suitable for your filmmaking business.