It rained on the Croisette last week and it poured inside the Palais des Festivals.

An early morning fire May 18 in aisle 19 brought the building’s sprinkler system into action, drenching stands and turning aisles 17 to 23 into a swamp.

The fire broke out at 7 a.m. when a neon sign at Antares Worldwide apparently exploded. Market teams worked fast to mop up the mess, but nearly a dozen companies – mostly selling skinpix – were left contemplating soggy marketing material and no clients throughout the morning.

Frustrated execs from the Barrandov Studios were huddled around their aisle 19 stand, wondering whether market organizers would reimburse them for the inconvenience.

L.A.-based Cornerstone Entertainment was considering quitting the market and Cannes. “We are selling a new white supremacist picture, ‘Pure Race,’ and now I don’t have electricity, no carpet and nobody coming to see me,” a Cornerstone exec said. “Either the market guys relocate me or I’m out of here.”

As workers put up new walls at the . Antares Worldwide stand, the company’s execs praised the speed of the turnaround. “They have been great. We just want to get back to business,” said Antares’ Melodie Farnell.

Market insiders said they were concentrating on restoring the damaged area to working condition before talking about any kind of compensation. But some execs were angry that they had not been approached by mart organizers. “We should have been talked to,” grumbled a Gold Pictures staffer.

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