As workers roll out the famous red carpet, and attendees dust off their formal wear, the Hollywood Reporter's Anne Thompson has a great write up on the market at Cannes, which she characterizes as a "seller's market". Most of the films with big buzz, Thompson reports, already have distrib going into the fest, leaving hungry buyers scouring the lesser known films, hoping to find that perfect film. Cannes, Thompson says, has "plenty of world class cinema on view -- but prcious little commercial titles to buy."
The list of buzzed-about films already with distrib is pretty long, from Sofia Coppola's Marie-Antoinette (I'm still not sure about the wisdom of casting Kirsten Dunst in the title role in this film, but I'll withhold my judgment until I get to see the film firsthand), Pedro Almodovars' hotly-anticiapted Volver, Babel, starring Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Gael Garcia Bernal, and Richard Linklater's Cannes duel entries - Fast Food Nation and A Scanner Darkly.
There are, of course, a slew of lesser known films without distribution from a major house, but which, if any, of those films might end up getting picked up is anyone's guess at this point. Warner Independent acquistions exec Paul Federbush, who also kept a low profile at Sundance, told Thompson he only has two films on his priority radar, and other buyers seem equally cautious at this point, holding out to see which films will generate the most buzz. As Thompson notes, there are a lot of good foreign films at Cannes, but American audiences haven't been coming out in droves to see foreigns lately, which is too damn bad, because it means that distribs will be understandably cautious about investing in bringing some really good films stateside.