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article imageWorld economic woes catch up with The Cannes Film Festival

By Michael Cosgrove     May 24, 2009 in Entertainment
Stars and producers are spending less time there, hotels have empty rooms for the first time in years, lavish parties and the Vanity Fair Gala bash have been cancelled, and if you want to hire a yacht there are bargains to be had. Hard times indeed.
Money is an issue for the first time ever for what is one of the most glamorous and prestigious events on the film industry calender. People are tightening their belts this year and the dreaded word association “Financial crisis” can be heard floating in the sultry air of the Cannes Promenade like an unwelcome intruder. Bubbly wine has replaced champagne in some instances, and you are more likely to be offered onion quiche than foie gras.
The must-be-there event which is Oréal Cosmetic’s publicity party, normally held at the sumptuous Hotel Martinez, has also bitten the economic dust.
All the big names are present of course, but events have been scaled down and invitee lists by big companies have been shortened due to the cancellation of publicity events.
Deluxe fashion and jewellery companies such as Fendi, Swarovski Crystal and Louis Vitton have also cancelled sponsored events and charity collections.
It is generally accepted that the crisis has hit cinema-industry related companies hard, and according to the Director of the Cannes Hotels Association companies are spending between 25 and 30 percent less on hotel bills. Whereas before they would stay for an average of around nine nights, that has slipped to seven this year. Average big company hotel room reservations are down too, from thirty to twenty at the most.
You can even get a room at a swish downtown hotel. This was almost impossible in past years, which saw 95 percent of rooms being booked, many of them up to a year in advance.
Yacht hire has plummeted too. Jeroen Frech, owner of several yachts, says he’s never seen anything like it. His company has suffered a 50 percent drop in yacht reservations for this year’s festival.
You can also get a top hairdresser at cut-rates. Jaques Dessanges, hairdresser for the stars, has reduced his company’s budget by 20 percent and he has only taken 15 stylists with him this year, instead of the usual 20.
Still, some people seem to have suffered less than others, and have spent enormous amounts of money to be present. People like the two un-named clients who paid 36 000€ each per night for top-floor penthouses in the Hotel Martinez, one of the only hotels with ‘Full’ signs hanging on the door. They reserved for the whole festival. It’s nice to know that some people are managing to scrape together a decent living in these hard times.
Sorry? Did someone just mention films? Films? What films?
This year’s festival gossipers have a much crustier subject to get their teeth into than knowing who made which winning films. And that subject is, of course, finding out who spent the least money due to their being hard-up for cash.
Tut tut. Someone is going to be awfully embarrassed in the next couple of weeks dahlink...
(Source: Le Figaro)
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