The Cannes Film Festival has said it expects in-person industry attendance at its 2022 edition to be “much higher than last year”, with the vast majority of delegates expected to make the trip.
Last year, the French festival saw 10,000 total registrations for its market, split roughly evenly between on-site and online attendance. This total was in line with 2020, when the event was entirely digital due to closures, with 10,000 professionals registering for the virtual marketplace.
In 2019, pre-Covid, Cannes saw over 12,500 industry delegates fly to the French Riviera. Currently, registration numbers are lower than 2019, but the festival expects many to make last-minute decisions amid continued uncertainty.
Jérôme Paillard, who is due to oversee his final Marche du Film before handing over the keys to Guillaume Esmiol, told Deadline that this year the event expects only 10% of delegates to be virtual attendees, with the rest traveling to France.
Paillard added that the US, UK and Germany are expected to lead the international presence at the festival as usual. Another territory likely to have a significantly increased presence on the Riviera this year is Asia, although major Asian nations still have significant travel restrictions in place.
The Marches chief noted that recently the rules in several Asian countries have become less stringent, which was echoed by companies Deadline contacted to find out if they were planning to participate this year.
Albert Lee, director of the Hong Kong International Film Festival, told Deadline that the Asian market’s appetite to be at Cannes was “palpable”.
Hong Kong is enforcing a “zero-Covid” policy, but restrictions are slowly being eased and new rules on April 1 have made traveling to Cannes technically possible. It won’t be easy, however, with a seven-day quarantine in a hotel required upon returning to town.
Despite this hurdle, Lee said his team plans to have a physical presence at Cannes and “everyone is eager to get going”, although it’s “inflexible and logistically difficult”.
Raymond Phathanavirangoon of Bangkok-based Southeast Asia fiction film lab SEAFIC said he planned to travel to London at the end of April and then travel to France from there. In addition, a delegation from the Busan International Film Festival should also be present in Cannes.
As for China, which maintains some of the strictest restrictions, Cannes expects a “significant drop” in the number of participants before the pandemic, but the country will still be represented by a pavilion in the International Village, where a dozen Chinese companies are expected. to be present.
One Asian nation considering sending an official delegation to Cannes for the first time is Mongolia. A new film commission is being formed by the country, and it will send representatives to France for the festival.
This week, Cannes-based MIPTV was hit by travel disruptions after airlines including EasyJet canceled hundreds of flights at the last minute, citing Covid-related staff shortages. The Cannes Film Festival may still be over a month away, but the unpredictable nature of the virus continues to add further uncertainty to travel planning.
The 2022 edition of the Cannes Film Festival takes place from May 17 to 28.