Our FEDS trainees – 15 ambitious young people receiving experience in distribution, exhibition and international sales – are moving ahead with their careers. Here, Emma Caviezel gives her take on her first time in Cannes.
As soon as I started my FEDS work placement at Umedia International in late January, it became clear that festivals were a major part of the sales agency calendar. Some of the first tasks I was assigned were to do with the imminent Berlinale, and, having spent some of my first working days in an almost empty office as my colleagues left for Germany, I was pretty curious as to what the whole festival thing was really about. When it came to Cannes, a bittersweet series of events led to me being transferred a badge, and I made my way over with the aim of spending some time working in the office, as well a shaving a general look around.
Arriving at the office, I knew the sales team would be extremely busy, having spent the weeks leading up to the festival booking their meetings. By the time I came in over the weekend, it was only just beginning to wind down, as the majority of activity took place in the first few days. Basically, the aim of the sales team is to sell the rights of the films on their slate to distributors representing different countries or regions. At this particular festival, their focus was on a few major projects, all at different, but early, stages of production. The team there were very generous with inviting me to sit in on meetings, and I was really impressed by the matter-of-fact and honest way in which the projects were pitched and discussed,both parties being very up-front about their hopes and visions for the finished film. Although the agents calendars were completely booked up, what I had pictured as a hectic and stressful environment seemed much the opposite. Each new distributor, whether arriving in groups or individually, was greeted with new energy, and with a selection tailored to their company’s, or regions/tastes. During the latter part of the market, meetings were also had with producers, with a view to discussing new upcoming projects that the sales agents may be interested in picking up.
Being in Cannes proved an invaluable opportunity to see some amazing films, as well as to learn more about the sales process through sitting in on meetings at Umedia. However, it was not without relief that I got on the plane back to the real world, as I definitely had my fill of glitz, glamour and blisters.