Film Festival Circuit: The American Pavilion at Cannes

cannes film festival

The Cannes International Film Festival is considered the most prestigious film festival in the world.  Held every year in May, it is also an Industry only event, where new films and documentaries are previewed for a period of about two weeks.  Many film students know they can submit their student films to the festival through Cinéfoundation program, but what many students don’t know is there is a way to gain work experiences at the Cannes Film Festival: through the American Pavilion.

The American Pavilion is the Cannes Film Festival’s business center for the American film market.  Thousands of industry professionals, from Suits to Screenwriters and everyone in between, utilize the wireless café, business services, attend industry panels and networking events and dine at the bar and restaurant.  In addition to the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase, the American Pavilion offers several programs for students and graduates in helping them take the next step in furthering their careers.

Programs offered include the Film, Business, High School Film, Hospitality & Event management, and Culinary Program.  Student who apply and are accepted into the program are paired with an Industry mentor and have unlimited access to panels, networking events and of course film screenings (provided they fit into the work schedule).

For students or grads that can’t make it to France in May, the American Pavilion also as an LA Intensive and Venice Film Festival program offered later in the year.  The LA Intensive program runs eight days, is limited to twenty students and is geared more towards recent grads looking to make those vital connections that will help advance their careers. The Venice Program provides a wonderful opportunity to work with like-minded students and industry professionals in one of the world’s oldest and most beautiful cities.

The student film, culinary, and hospitality programs are prestigious internships with considerable application requirements.  All applications require school transcripts, essay questions, resume, and letters of recommendation from a professor and/or employer.  In addition there is a program fee of anywhere between 2-4 thousand dollars (depending on your particular program and submission dates) and students are required to make their own travel arrangements.  Accommodation costs are included in the program fee.

Overall the decision to apply and, should you be accepted, attend the American Pavilion program is a wise investment in your future career as a filmmaker, or chef or even hotel concierge and manager.  And not many people can say they made it to Cannes and got to rub elbows with the “big guys” of the film industry.

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