David Shaheen

The managing director of JP Morgan’s entertainment industries group finds opportunities at the fest

Since 1999, David Shaheen has missed just three Cannes Film Festivals, but with good reason: The global financial crisis.

Shaheen, managing director of JP Morgan’s entertainment industries group, doesn’t lend to individual films — at least not often — and he comes to Cannes for the same reasons many people do: To shake hands, meet with clients and help facilitate deals that may already be under way.

But Shaheen took a break from the festival between 2009 and 2011, when the industry was suffering from the global financial crisis and a massive hangover from the glut of indie films that preceded it.

“There was a while there when fewer and fewer banks were going, and you’re starting to see, with every passing year, more and more people coming back into the fray,” Shaheen said.

Those people include both lenders who stepped away from film or are just now dipping their toe into the water. All of that means more activity at Cannes. And while it’s rare that a JP Morgan deal originates in Cannes, Shaheen says the festival is one of the best opportunities to get a lot done.

“It’s a very efficient way … to have a ton of meetings in a very short time frame,” he said. “There are certainly times at Cannes where you end up sequestered around a table working through deal points on live transactions.”

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