The Variety Welcome to Cannes party at the Unifrance terrace was the place to be on Thursday afternoon, with guests including Eva Longoria, Sony Pictures Classics’ Tom Bernard and Sundance Institute CEO Joana Vicente.
The hot ticket event was a bubbles and canapes celebration where the movers and shakers of the entertainment industry turned up in force to mingle after two years of COVID-caused separation.
Dea Lawrence, chief operating and marketing officer of Variety, kicked off proceedings by saying that Variety has been covering the Cannes Film Festival for 75 of the publication’s 116 years of existence and that Variety.com has 35 million unique users. “That makes Variety the No. 1 entertainment brand in the universe,” Lawrence said.
For Variety executive editor Ramin Setoodeh, it was a doubly joyous occasion as the event also coincided with his birthday.
“Variety is dedicated to covering the international film business. It is our bread and butter and we appreciate all of your sourcing, your communication, your help, your partnerships and allowing us to tell the stories of the business that you do, which is incredibly important for you and for us,” Setoodeh said, also thanking the international team on the ground in Cannes for their hard work in publishing print and digital dailies.
Variety international editor Manori Ravindran said that she was “really excited by our amazing team from all over the world.”
The industry, in turn, was equally pleased to be at the event, which was held in partnership with Clinique, which provided sought-after goody bags; Unifrance and the Gotham Film & Media Institute. Jeffrey Sharp, executive director of the Gotham Film & Media Institute, said that the nine producers on the ground in Cannes as part of the organization’s Cannes Producers Network Fellows initiative are a distinguished group who have made films such as “Nomadland,” “Shiva Baby” and “Halston” and welcomed them to the event.
Amir Ramses, filmmaker and director of the Cairo International Film Festival, told Variety: “Ever since I was a young filmmaker, Variety was always something big for us. Actually feeling a part of an event belonging to that great establishment — I really feel honored about being here.”