The real business of Cannes is the buying and selling of films to distributors from all over the world. It’s no good having made a film if no-one ever gets to see it.

Every cinema in town suspends their screening schedule and shows festival films one after the other, with a total of over 250 screenings every day. With such bizarre titles as Rabbit over the Void, a romantic comedy set in Moldova, Gary the Tennis Coach, from New York independent filmmaker Greenstreet Films, Chinese Botanist’s Daughters and Zorro’s Bar Mitva, sales agents are hopeful that every one will come home from Cannes with a deal for at least some territories, if not worldwide distribution.

With statistics such as 5000 companies in attendance, among them 12,000 buyers, producers and others, and 6,000 film titles on offer, the market is an amazing piece of organising. It has been totally transformed with the technical revolution and the recently established Producer’s Network, which organises events, seminars and breakfasts for attending producers.

In official competition, the Irish have stolen a lot of the limelight courtesy of Ken Loach’s film The Wind that Shakes the Barley, a wonderfully crafted piece from the master of realistic, emotional drama. The film charts the uprising in Ireland against British, their military force of the black and tans and the subsequent civil war. Loach has never pulled his punches - anyone who witnessed his appeal for a backlash against US studio-led movies at the Bafta TV Awards knows that - and here he comes up with a characteristically hard-hitting film.

FilmFour has announced that Loach has committed to make his next film with FilmFour. Provisionally entitled These Times, to be directed by Loach and written by his long-term writing partner, Paul Laverty, It is described as a contemporary story set in Britain.

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