Mayhem Film Festival and Cannes
"a giant, multi-levelled maze of stalls featuring posters for every genre of film imaginable"
Broadway have been lucky to host Mayhem Film Festival for the past 15 years. As the team continues to plan for the best way to bring you their sweet 16th edition, Mayhem founders Chris Cooke and Steven Sheil tell us about their experience at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.
As festival programmers, the Cannes Film Festival is where the programming for Mayhem really kicks into high gear, and we have both been regular attendees for the past 6 years. Alongside a team from Broadway Cinema - our home and key supporter of the festival - we stay in Cannes for around a week or so, with the aim of getting to see as many films as possible.
We generally don't spend our time on the red carpet, or at glittering premieres - instead we can usually be found catching approximately 25 - 30 films in small screening rooms peppered across the seaside town, either in their local cinemas (quite a relief hiding out in a darkened cinema from the rain, wind and unseasonably cold temperatures in the south of France this year) or inside rooms housed on one of the great floors of the massive conference hall, at the back of the famous Debussy Cinema, and hidden away from the glitzy superstars of moviedom.
"We've seen the good, the bad and the truly amazing there this year"
This is the Marché du Film – the busiest film market in the world. This is where films are bought and sold for territories across the world - a giant, multi-levelled maze of stalls featuring posters for every genre of film imaginable. There are roughly a hundred different screenings taking place each day at Cannes, so part of our job is to figure out which ones might be appealing for us as a festival - which is sometimes difficult because these films are brand new, often with very little information about them available - and to zigzag across the town from screening room to screening room to see them.
If we like a film, we then go to the Marché to find the sales agent who has the rights and begin a conversation with them as to whether the film might be available for us. There are many factors involved in whether we get a film for the festival or not - the plans for UK distribution, the release date, the cost - but we have very good relationships with a number of sales agents, distributors and production companies, developed over the years we’ve been running, which really helps.
"Over the years, we have been lucky - lucky enough to return with amazing examples of the very best in new genre cinema"
With luck, this means that we are able to bring Mayhem audiences the best in upcoming horror, sci-fi and cult films from around the world.
And, over the years, we have been lucky - lucky enough to return with amazing examples of the very best in new genre cinema, hosting screenings like Mandy and premieres like Prospect and Number 37, Raw and many more, thanks to our time at Cannes. We've seen the good, the bad and the truly amazing there and that's been the catalyst for things - Cannes triggers the starting gun for us.