It’s Cannes season again, and like clockwork I see a lot of people talking about how their film was “accepted” into the Cannes Short Film Corner (or Court Métrage in French). As a big fan of Pic Pedant on Twitter, I obviously enjoy some killjoy at least a little bit.
So I’ll write it again:
All films are “accepted” into The Short Film Corner, it is a “film market,” and is commonly referred to as “pay to play.” In other words, pretty much everyone who pays the entry fee for their short to be at the Short Film Corner has it play there. IMDb used to specifically point this out in their submission page as a type of screening that did not qualify it for listing:
“Film markets - (most notably, Cannes Market, including Short Film Corner, and American Film Market [AFM]): Participation in these is determined primarily by payment of a fee, not by quality of the film. Screenings may be open to the public, and these will often affect the year associated with a title, but this doesn’t change the essentially pay-to-play nature of the event.”
This was a reason why playing at one of these events, specifically the Short Film Corner, was not criteria for inclusion for listing in the IMDb.
(For the record, IMDb has relaxed it’s submission requirements this year and so that is not longer on their page, but Short Film Corner remains pay to play regardless).
It’s awesome that you completed a short film, that alone is an amazing feat. It’s also awesome that you are taking advantage of many available venues to promote your work, for whatever reason. But sadly, you were not “accepted” into Cannes, you paid to play your film at their Film Market not the juried competition.
There’s lots to be proud of with your short film, but you run the risk of looking naive (and easy to take advantage of) if you celebrate playing at the Short Film Corner like it’s playing in the juried competition.