Film London at the 76th Festival de Cannes

Latest 31 May 2023

News Story

How to Have Sex © MUBI

As the 76th Cannes Film Festival draws to a close, we take a moment to reflect on Film London’s activity during the festival.

The UK Pavilion was home to a series of busy and bustling events, meetings and panels, and members of the Film London team were there to fly the flag for the London film industry.

We were delighted to host our annual Film London Talent Mixer at the festival, bringing together over 40 members of our talent pool with distributors, industry execs and financiers, supported by independent accountancy firm Alliotts LLP. Guests heard from Ian Gibbons of Alliotts and Film London CEO, Adrian Wootton, who celebrated the talent in the room and announced that applications for Film London’sProduction Finance Marketare now open for 2023.

On Sunday 21 May, Film London Sustainability Consultant Louise Marie Smith featured on a panel at the UK Pavilion - Positive Practical Action for Sustainable Screen: The leading ideas and practicalities of greening film production. Louise was joined by industry representatives to talk about how they are successfully working to make the film industry ecologically, socially and economically more sustainable.

Speakers shared insights into the challenges they face, and the innovative and creative ways they are cultivating a sustainable screen sector via new initiatives with practical solutions and tools that can be easily applied to make film greener.

Layla © Film4

In the film programme, Film London alumni Molly Manning Walker screened her debut feature, How to Have Sex, the story of three British teenage girls who go on a rites-of-passage holiday in what would be the best summer of their lives - winning the top prize in the "Un Certain Regard" competition!

The Hollywood Reporter summarized the "striking" film as "a quiet stunner" while The Guardian newspaper gave it four out of five stars, calling it "an interestingly unsentimental film, without the coming-of-age cliches."

Molly worked on two BFI NETWORK and Film London-supported shorts (Theo Krekis' Pram Snatcher and Ruth Greenberg's Run), and was named as a Film London Lodestar in 2021. The film, which stars Mia McKenna-Bruce, Lara Peake, Shaun Thomas, Samuel Bottomley, Enva Lewis and Laura Ambler, will be released by MUBI later in 2023.

Another Film Lodestar, 2020's Savannah James-Bayly, was at the Festival as producer of Amrou Al-Kadhi's debut feature Layla, a daring queer love story between a young Arab drag queen and a white cis gay man which screened as part of BFI and British Council's GREAT8 showcase. Savannah produced Al-Khadi's short Anemone, which was funded by Film London through London Calling in 2018.

Meanwhile, long awaited films by two of London's most acclaimed directors screened during the Festival, both built around stories from the Second World War. Jonathan Glazer's The Zone of Interest, in which a Nazi officer falls in love with the woman of the commander of the Auschwitz concentration camp, picked up the Grand Prix. There was also a special screening of Steve McQueen's Occupied City, a documentary film about Amsterdam under Nazi occupation during World War II.

We were delighted to also take the opportunity during the festival to meet with some of our international friends and partners to continue creative collaborations.