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Crunch time at Cannes

Heavy crowds expected for 60th anniversary

Don’t expect a lot of elbow room at Cannes this year.

For the fest’s 60th anniversary, organizers have lined up such a feast of movies and events that many more people than usual are clamoring to be there.

Harried fest minions are busy trying to process requests for accreditation from showbiz folk and journos who missed application deadlines. And there are a lot of them, above and beyond the 30,000-odd people, including around 4,000 media, who usually attend.

“There has been much, much more demand from producers, distributors, directors — from people in every branch of filmmaking. Everyone wants to come this year,” says a Cannes staffer.

Fortunately the fest has no quotas. “No legitimate request will be turned down,” promises the fest worker.

Journos, however, report a bigger struggle to get that all-important press badge this year. “They are being much more finicky about what publication you write for, how big its circulation is and how many articles you are intending to write,” says one freelancer who’s a Cannes regular.

“The media have been talking about the 60th anniversary since the end of last year’s festival,” says Cannes press topper Christine Aime. “We’ve probably refused more accreditation requests than usual, but we are always very meticulous about giving out badges, not just this year.”

Newcomers, though, are likely to get even shorter shrift. “We are giving priority to the journalists who always follow Cannes,” says Aime.

“What matters is that the press who do attend work in the best conditions possible,” says Aime. “If you are a photographer, there is no point in coming if there is no room on the steps of the Palais and you can’t get into photo calls.”

Of course, getting the badge is only part of the battle.

Since hotel rooms and apartments have been heavily booked for months, latecomers may have to resort to a tent on the beach. Even luxury hotels along the Croisette note a difference this year, as bigger names are bumping ordinarily high-ranking folk out of their usual Cannes abodes.

“We’ve got more company chairmen and movie stars this year, while company No. 3’s and No. 4’s are staying elsewhere,” says a source at the Carlton, temporary home to the likes of Warner Bros., Fox, Columbia and the fest’s own top brass.

For those with pockets deep enough, the only thing still available at this late stage are some of Cannes’ top-of-the-line luxury apartments — renting out for as much as $204,000 — which are less in demand this year because the Cannes Market has extended its exhibition space.

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