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How to do Cannes Film Festival on a budget

Published May 11th, 2016

Not an A-list celebrity, flashing excess Gs or call Jennifer Lawrence your BFF? Meh. Make your own Woody Allen script (sans drama, with an extra dash of comedy) on a celebrity-studded voyage to Cannes Film Festival. The good news is you can gatecrash the glitz, glamour and famous clientele of the world’s most extravagant film festival on a budget.

Get a piece of the action at Cannes Film Fest.

Here’s how…

Book your flights early

Cheap rates wait for no man, woman or gatecrasher no matter how worthy your plight or strong your commitment to seeing Ryan Gosling in the flesh.

Get on the red carpet

The city is practically draped in red carpet for Cannes, especially around La Croisette. Do yourself a favour and strike a pose on one of the furry runways when they’re not being stampeded by Gucci-clad famous folk. Do it in between ‘oohing’ and ‘arghing’ over La Croisette’s couture shops.


Pose du tapis rouge ! --- Red carpet laying! #Cannes2015 #InProgress Photo by Getty Images

A photo posted by Festival de Cannes (@festivaldecannes) on

Get out of town

No glamour yacht for mooring at Vieux Port? No surprise Cannes’ hotels issue a price hike at Festival time. Save pennies at a hotel or campground outside the city. Be sure they’re close to public transport or you will be handing over money saved to drivers of expensive taxi fares.


The bad news is events are strictly invite-only and it’s illegal to purchase tickets. The good news is some people have found a way around the whole VIP thing. One is to hold a sign telling people you want into tonight’s screening around Palais de Festivals – quite a few people have documented their success scoring someone’s spare ticket on the web. You will need to have the threads to back up your luck. This means gowns, tuxes and black ties. No one needs to know you got dressed in a tent.


#vprm #viproom #viproomparis #viproomdubai #dxb #viproomcannes #fifa16 #cannesfilmfestival A photo posted by Salomé (@sacha_loca) on

Celeb selfies

Turn the tables. If the Queen and Queen B have been gracious enough to gatecrash selfies in the past, surely you’ve got a shot at Leo or Cate adding some je ne sais quoi to your holiday snap action. First find your talent – follow the paparazzi, get front row at the front of big screenings, keep abreast of Twitterverse sightings or try your luck at Vieux Port (celebs love to bring their yachts to the French Riviera).

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Unofficial movie moments

The whole city is a buzz with movie fever. Unofficial screenings of famous movies and Cannes classics are plentiful, like beachside near Palais de Festivals at Plage Mace. Think Dancer in the Dark, Drive, Pan's Labyrinth. Imagine watching a free screening of Mulholland Drive overlooking the Mediterranean. Uniquely steamy.

Cheap drinks

A few pre-drinks for Dutch courage to ask a celeb to dance post screening doesn’t hurt. Beer and wine can be sourced on the cheap from supermarkets before you head to expensive clubs or try your luck at charming your way into a famous beach or boat party.

No packet noodles

You are in France. Bread and cheese is everywhere (like the markets at Cours Saleya) as are scenic spots to eat them in (like nearby Chateau Hill). From crepes to pizzas, places like old quarter, Le Suquet, boast a smorgasbord of delicious cheap eats amongst the narrow, colourful rues.


A photo posted by Mara Minuzzo (@maraminuzzoart) on

The 2016 Cannes lowdown

Held this year on 11-22 May, Cannes Film Festival will be opened by Woody Allen's Café Society, which stars Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and Blake Lively, while other films on show will include Jodie Foster's Money Monster, Steven Spielberg's The BFG and Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe comedy The Nice Guys from Kiss Kiss.

Can't get enough of the festival scene? Here's a rundown of all the best events and festivals around the world worth travelling for. 


Jolee Wakefield

A seasoned backpacker and travel writer, Jolee has spent the past decade wandering the globe in pursuit of good vibes, unusual conversations and unforgettable adventures like cave diving in Mexico, mountain climbing in Borneo and learning (failing at) local dances in the Pacific nation of Kiribati.