In Cannes, it takes a village

Int'l area offers visitors a taste of home

Every year a collection of white tents flying various national flags and brand signage join the street circus that is Festival de Cannes. These pavilions generally offer services such as meeting and party areas, mailbox facilities and Internet access for natives of specific countries or other affiliations.

Since 2000, the area just east of the Palais des Festivals between the Croisette and the beach is the domain of national pavilions — aka Intl. Village. Festival sponsors and other brands are spread around the town of Cannes, mostly along the Croisette and the harbor.

This is what some of the more popular pavilions have in store this year:

AMERICAN PAVILION

Located in the Intl. Village, AmPav will celebrate its 15th anniversary this year. The Yank enclave will host its usual assortment of receptions and Industry in Focus panels. Among the amenities is a full-service coffee bar and a cafe manned by celebrity chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger (Food Network’s “Two Hot Tamales”) and Tyler Florence (“Food 911”). The hub offers Intel Internet service and plays host to Kodak’s worldwide student program, which places various interns in positions throughout the fest. New this year is a JVC Electronics-sponsored digital screening room that’s open to any filmmaker attending Cannes.

BRITISH PAVILION

The British domain splits into two distinct areas this year. The U.K. Film Center, supported by the Film Council and other orgs, will serve as the official trade body presence in Cannes in the Intl. Village on the former site of the British Pavilion. A separate beachside tent located along the Croisette will become the new hangout, catering to Blighty’s film industry members with traditional pavilion amenities. It also will feature a new technology area showcasing innovations for film and related industries.

FRENCH INTL. VILLAGE

Gaul’s major national film bodies and brands will gather under one roof in the French Intl. Village, located at the top of the old harbor on the west end of the Croisette and adjacent to the big Canal Plus tent. The French conglomeration will house a multitude, including Air France, Renault, producers org CNC and Unifrance. The Rendez-vous des Exploitants area will feature a screening facility and act as a business club for French distribs and exhibs.

SCANDINAVIAN TERRACE

The Scandinavian Terrace, located at 55 La Croisette, next to the Noga-Hilton, is home to Scandinavian Films, the umbrella support org of the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden) that’s celebrating its 25th anni this year. Unlike most national pavilions, the sprawling Scandi complex — situated among retail space on Cannes’ main drag — also houses several sales agents including Nordisk Film, NonStop Sales, Trust Film and Svensk Filmindustri. And this year, Lars von Trier’s production company Zentropa will have office space at the Terrace. And as in years past, the Scandis will host lively Happy Hours daily from 5:30-6:30 p.m. during the fest.

VARIETY VILLAGE

Located opposite the British beachside pavilion at 42 La Croisette, between the Noga and Majestic hotels, is Variety Village. It’s the headquarters for Variety’s on-site editorial staff and will host the Cannes Conference Series. This year’s lineup includes One-on-One panels with Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart. Among the skedded interview subjects: “The Matrix Reloaded” producer Joel Silver, “T3” producers Andy Vajna and Mario Kassar, and Miramax co-chair Harvey Weinstein. Critic Roger Ebert will again moderate the popular American Directors at Cannes panel. And among a heavy sked of cocktail receptions at the Village will be Variety’s annual 10 Producers to Watch fete, set for May 17.

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