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Entertainment behind the scenes

It’s a wrap on Cannes ’09


FILM-CANNES/The 2009 Cannes film festival reaches its finale on Sunday night when the coveted Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) trophy is awarded to the best film among the 20 in competition. That movie, and current frontrunner is French movie “Un Prophete” (“A Prophet”) will likely find success in theaters around the world.

But critics have been widely mixed with their reaction to the overall slate of films screening at Cannes this year (read a wrap up here). The lack of a clear thumbs up, or thumbs down, also has been a hallmark of the Cannes’ movie market in 2009, where buyers and sellers of film rights from around the world meet to do business. Read about that, here. And while 3D films were a big part of Cannes after the festival opened with Disney’s animated “Up,” the reality is that for independent filmmakers, making a 3D film is a mixed (there’s that word again) proposition. For that story, clicke here.

What does it all mean? At the mid-point of ’09, the worldwide independent film industry is in flux. After funding for movie production froze in the waning months of 2008, a glut of films is expected to work itself off by the end of this year, and that means that financiers — with a little more visibility on the future economic outlook — are once again beginning to look at movies in which to invest for 2010. But the capital flow into the market, for now, is just a trickle. If you’re a seller and you have a good, “A” movie with marketable stars, then you might find theaters to screen it. If it’s a straight to video title with “B” or “C” stars, times remain difficult because your primary market is DVD retailers (sales are down) or TV (ad revenues are dismal).

The next big meeting for the global, independent film industry is the American Film Market in Los Angeles, starting Nov. 4, and it will provide a fresh look at the business of indie movies. On the art front, look to the Telluride, Venice and Toronto film festivals that start in late August and run into early September to see what’s on the minds of filmmakers.