Cannes: Distrib Has Taste for Finer Films and Food

Al Munteanu is CEO of SquareOne Entertainment, one of Germany’s leading film distributors. Past releases have included “The Imitation Game” and “Philomena”; its upcoming slate includes “Jane Got a Gun,” starring Natalie Portman; “Life,” starring Robert Pattinson; “Woman in Gold,” starring Helen Mirren, and “While We’re Young,” starring Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts. Munteanu is a co-producer on the upcoming Jesse Owens’ biopic “Race.” He and his five-strong team have a busy schedule during the festival, with up to 15 meetings a day. Every year, the company acquires at least a couple of films at Cannes.

Restaurant notes

Da Laura is a breath of fresh air, as relates to gastronomy and service. For some odd reason, you don’t feel like you’re in Cannes.

Cannes 2015 schedule

As we are hunters and gatherers, we get there early and leave late. We have an entire team of people that screens movies and meets sales companies and producers. We come prepared and have a target list of movies we want to acquire, and try to get that out of the way in the first few days. Typically, we meet with the same handful of producers that we are working on projects with, and give each other updates.

Which films will you go to see?

This year, Cannes is not a festival where we see finished films that we have pre-brought, which is a moment of anxiety. Most of the films that we’ve acquired we’ve already seen at private screenings. So it is market screenings of films that can or cannot be acquired.

Do you attend any parties?

As we’re in real working mode, the parties are limited to gala screenings and the parties after — for example, ‘Grace of Monaco’ last year, and a few events held on yachts. But they are held to a minimum because we have acquisitions meetings in the morning.

The Cannes experience

In comparison to most festivals — bearing in mind that we focus primarily on the market aspect — Cannes is a war zone, in the sense that if one meeting is at the Majestic and the next one is at the Carlton, and there are thousands of tourists meandering along the Croisette, it is hell. And you are constantly on the phone, trying to cut deals, so typically you lose a few kilos just by running up and down the Croisette, and trying to avoid tourists.

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