Thinking about attending Cannes Docs? Meet Pierre-Alexis Chevit, DAE member and Head of Cannes Docs!

Cannes Docs – What’s happening this year?

Every year around 450 documentary professionals gather during Marché du film for documentary-specific programming, but more specifically, a documentary-only stand, just for us. Let’s meet the folks behind Cannes Docs.

DAE: Tell us about Cannes Docs? What happens there? How many guests attend each year?

Pierre-Alexis Chevit (PAC): Cannes Docs is the dedicated industry program and networking platform for everything documentary, within Cannes’ Marché du Film, the world’s n°1 film market, running parallel to the Festival de Cannes. It’s basically the go-to program in Cannes for anyone working with cinematic, creative, author-driven, feature docs, filmmakers and industry representatives alike. The important thing to know is that Cannes Docs is mostly relevant for projects already in editing stage, as the majority of decision-makers taking part are festival programmers and specialized sales agents. We are not a pitching, financing or co-production forum, nor are we a training program or development lab. Fundamentally, we are a networking platform which has the advantage of being very focused on the doc genre and enabling doc professionals to connect easily, as there is a strong sense of togetherness of the documentary people in the midst of the huge Cannes mayhem! In terms of guests, I’d say we have around 150 key industry profiles, plus another 300+ delegates somehow working on or interested in the documentary genre.

Round-the-day support from the Cannes Docs team on the stand.

DAE: For people thinking of attending Marché du Film for the first time, what special programmes or networking events does Cannes Docs offer?

PAC: The program starts with an Opening Cocktail on Thursday 18 May. Then there are 4 bustling days of workshops, panels, one-on-one meetings / group consultations with experts, showcases of docs-in-progress from around the world, + daily Happy Hours. On Tuesday 23 May will be Doc Day, rounding off the program. Doc Day is a not-to-be-missed full day of keynotes, exclusive conversations and panel discussion, including some of the filmmakers with a documentary in the one or the other Cannes selections. Doc Day ends with a mixer cocktail bringing together the entire community in Cannes, followed by the closing screening of a documentary film curated by the Acid section!

Workshops, keynotes and practical discussions occuring every day with important experts and decision makers

DAE: And for returning guests, are there new and/or exciting developments from your already excellent offerings?

PAC: The first thing I would say is simply that we attract more and more doc industry professionals year after year. That is, in itself, one exciting element: each year the doc community in Cannes gets bigger, which of course makes it more and more relevant to attend the program – and more and more uplifting and enjoyable too. The more the merrier! Even if of course the whole point of Cannes is also to connect with film professionals not [only] focusing on docs. Besides that, I’d say that by nature, and by choice, Cannes Docs isn’t probably destined to keep growing continuously ever after. We’re trying to find the right balance between multiplying the number of events and opportunities we offer (which has clearly been the case over the past years), and sticking to a ‘less is more’ / ‘small is beautiful’ approach.
Concretely, two of the potential new additions to the program we’re trying to work on right now include something to help filmmakers connect with potential experienced (co)producers truly interested in creative docs, and organizing a few sessions meant to bring small groups of makers together in a protected, stressless environment, just for them to share general know-how, advice, key tips and good vibes. Not only about making films, navigating markets & festivals, but why not as well about life in general. The concept still needs refining at this point, but the core dynamics has to do with collective intelligence, group ideation, peer-to-peer nurturing, mutual motivational boosting, love and respect for one another =)

DAE: Do you have a secret Cannes tip you want to share with DAE members?

PAC: Take (at least) half a day to go the beautiful, peaceful, soothing Sainte-Marguerite island, in the Cannes bay, just opposite the Croisette (regular boat shuttles all day, 20-minute crossing). Of course it’ll seem impossible to find the time to squeeze that in your insane Cannes schedule………… but just do it. Go. It’ll make you feel SO GOOD to step out of the Cannes craziness just for a few hours………

Cannes Docs is happening again, between 18.05.-23.05.2023!

We are very happy to partner with Marché du Film and thought you might be curious to get an inside scoop about what will be happening there this year.

Marion and Brigid will be onsite making meetings, moderating discussions and participating in important discussions, if you’d like to join, we’ve negotiated a special deal for DAE members!

How it works: Using a discount code, DAE Members can access an 80 € discount on their badge, for just 379€ (ex. VAT) Register by May 3. To pick up your code, send us an email here.

Before Cannes you can meet us at our partner events:
Beldocs 11.04.-13.04.
Visions du Réel 24.04. – 27.04.
goEast Filmfestival 29.04. – 02.05.