And you are ... ? Local people who work the festival
How do you prepare the city for the festival?
The festival is the No. 1 event of the year but we have other events that draw up to 35,000 people throughout the year. So we’ve had to adapt ourselves to the volume of visitors, which represents about 3 million people, and to the permanent rush. One of the main things is security. We’ve installed a system of video protection in 2002. We also try to keep the city clean and aesthetically pleasing for visitors. We’ve had to hire more staff and we have increased our budget. After all, the festival is the most-covered event by the media, along with the Olympic games, so we really have to make sure we make enough room to welcome everyone on the Croisette.
How do you stay on top of it?
I’ve learned that even when we think we have all our bases covered we can never control everything during the festival. That’s why every morning, we have a meeting with Gilles Jacob’s team to ensure that we’re on the same page. And no one is allowed to take a vacation during this period. We are all in the same boat.
What is your experience at the festival?
Even though I’m the mayor, the festival is never purely a business event. As I grew up in Cannes and I’ve always been passionate about cinema; I perceive the festival more as a cultural event — with an economic impact, thanks to the film market. I enjoy discovering the films, actors, scripts — it’s all fascinating to me. If I hadn’t been mayor, I would have certainly produced films.