HomeEntertainment & MusicMovieThe experiences of American Pavilion interns on the Cannes Movie Competition

The experiences of American Pavilion interns on the Cannes Movie Competition


I’ve simply returned from a visit to the Cannes Movie Competition and market. Whereas I used to be there I realized about what it’s like for the 200+ interns attending Cannes through the pupil packages run by the American Pavilion (“AmPav”).

I’ve subsequently spoken with over 30 interns about their experiences and can share under what I’ve discovered.

That is prone to be an evolving story. As I study extra I’ll replace, appropriate and broaden this text in response to the suggestions and responses I obtain. I’ve added a Change Log on the finish to make it simple so that you can see what’s been up to date.

The American Pavilion 101

The annual Cannes Movie Competition and Marche du Movie are essentially the most well-known gatherings within the movie calendar. Among the many venues open to attendees are a variety of “pavilions” alongside the seaside, every from a distinct nation. They act as a ‘house from house’ for movie professionals, and as a strategy to promote every nation’s choices to the movie group.

The American Pavilion (“AmPav”) is uncommon as it’s the solely pavilion in Cannes to cost an entry payment. Competition attendees pay between $100 (the fundamental bundle purchased prematurely) and $1,100 (VIP entry purchased on-site) for entry. For that, they get seats, wi-fi, free espresso, trade occasions and the possibility to buy drinks and meals from the restaurant.

A serious a part of AmPav’s exercise is its pupil program, which recruits over 200 US school college students (aged between 17 and late 20s) and locations them in quite a lot of internship positions.

AmPav’s program is the one pupil program formally recognised by the Cannes Competition. In 2007, Government Director of the Marche du Movie Jérôme Paillard mentioned: “Though there are different pupil packages in existence at Cannes, they haven’t any affiliation with the Competition or Marche. As we all know that previously some organisations have provided very low-quality packages to college students principally from the USA, we now have determined to endorse solely these few whose seriousness and high quality we are able to vouch for“.

AmPav is owned by Penske Media, which additionally owns just about all the most important movie commerce publications, specifically The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, Selection and IndieWire.

What the interns mentioned they skilled

Whereas in Cannes I heard about a number of features of the AmPav internship program which involved me. So I tweeted about it and invited college students to succeed in out and share their experiences.

5 predominant themes emerged:

  1. Pay to work
  2. Unpaid service jobs
  3. Lodging
  4. Covid response
  5. Inappropriate behaviour

There have been a number of different minor considerations raised however I’m specializing in the tales I heard time and again. Plus, interning isn’t enjoyable at the most effective of occasions so I’ve crammed a variety of the opposite complaints beneath “Sure, interning is horrible”. That’s to not dismiss them however simply to say that I need my focus to be on the features which I really feel are past what a traditional intern ought to count on to endure.

1. Pay to Work

Every pupil is paying round $4,000 to intern at Cannes.

Among the many issues the scholars obtain are an internship place, lodging, airport pickup/dropoff, breakfast, AmPav occasions, accreditation and entry to the pavilion. The payment doesn’t embody flights, most of their meals and different journey/residing prices.

I’m advised that there are 223 college students, 8 culinary college students and 50 employees/volunteers. If that is appropriate, then we are able to calculate that the gross revenue paid by these interns is prone to be within the vary of $900,000 to $960,000.

Most college students mentioned they spent upwards of $6,000 to be working in Cannes. This quote was consultant of the experiences I heard about:

  • “The price of this system for early determination was $3,950. My flight was roughly $1,200… AmPav advisable to us to carry $1,500 for spending cash. I spent practically $400 on skilled clothes that may be acceptable within the warmth of the summer time. I spent $600 on a tux and alterations. Writing all these numbers out makes me sick for what this program really is. And the worst half is many people, together with myself, don’t have this cash available, so we needed to put most-to-all of it on bank cards!”

After I reached out, lots of the firms the place interns have been positioned have been shocked to listen to that their interns had paid to be working there.

2. Unpaid Service Jobs

The AmPav say:Accomplice firms embody expertise companies, manufacturing/distribution firms (each home and worldwide), commerce publications, and PR corporations“. That is true, and a variety of college students mentioned that they had realized lots from their positions.

Nonetheless, one side left off that checklist is working within the precise pavilion. The pavilion hosts a variety of occasions, non-public events and is open to members through the day. They promote and serve a choice of meals and drinks. A lot of this work is carried out by interns in this system.

Right here’s what the scholars needed to say on the matter:

  • “Working contained in the pavilion consists of ready tables, bartending, promoting memberships, some scheduling of panels and spherical tables, and the comparatively “fortunate” few who’re recording some occasions or panels. They’re jobs of necessity and we bought shoved into them, mislead to assume they might give us time to community”
  • “They promise that the pavilion staff get to fulfill and work together with the celebrities introduced in, however in fact they don’t it’s simply guide labor and so they get in bother for interacting with folks”

I’m not a French labour lawyer however it’s my understanding that unpaid internships are authorized in France for as much as two months provided that the intern isn’t changing a salaried worker.

French attorneys I spoke with expressed doubts over whether or not interning in a restaurant or serving tables was congruent with French legislation.

France has a working minimal wage of €10.85 per hour and the US Embassy in France says: “Along with the fundamental necessities, an American who needs to work in France wants a piece contract accredited by the French Ministry of Labor“. Overseas college students finding out in France can work as much as 60% of regular French working hours, however this pertains to finding out inside a French instructional establishment, which isn’t how AmPav works.

The AmPav web site explicitly tells college students: “Please make sure to apply for a vacationer visa.” (daring emphasis is theirs) and one pupil I spoke with mentioned:

  • We have been advised beforehand that if we bought stopped in customs and requested why we have been in France to only say we’re visiting the competition and never working there

I’m undecided the place all this leaves us so I’ll proceed to hunt out solutions and share/replace what I discover.

3. Lodging

A part of the payment goes in direction of the scholars’ lodging. That is described by AmPav as: “Shared lodging in a European-style residence condo“.

In apply, plainly most college students would not have their very own mattress to sleep in. Right here’s what a number of college students needed to say on the matter:

  • “The housing they “present” is 3-4 folks squished into 2 particular person rooms (throughout a pandemic), whereas harassing us about paying 200+ for premium rooms”.
  • “Every room has 2 couches and 1 non-public bed room for 3 college students”
  • “The residence we’re staying in has 4 folks stuffed into what is basically a studio condo”

4. Covid Response

Covid continues to be rampant in France, and all indications counsel that Cannes has been a hotbed of infections. This isn’t AmPav’s fault, and I perceive that they’ve been following the protocols steered by the Competition.

Nonetheless, many college students felt that AmPav was not ready, was not taking sufficient steps to curb infections and was not suitably ready to take care of college students as soon as they have been contaminated. I’ve been advised that numerous AmPav college students presently have Covid, though as a result of medical privateness I can’t confirm this myself.

Right here’s what the scholars needed to say on the matter:

  • “They despatched an electronic mail about sporting masks within the Pavilion but that rule continues to be not enforced. They despatched an electronic mail about doing temperature assessments but that’s not enforced. The meals offered for us is served buffet fashion with no utensils so persons are usually grabbing it with their palms”
  • “The covid response has proven that they weren’t ready in any respect”
  • “They didn’t have any covid assessments so I had to purchase my very own”

5. Inappropriate Behaviour

It’s a unhappy incontrovertible fact that the movie trade incorporates some individuals who act in wholly unacceptable methods. This covers the whole lot from unprofessional behaviour, derogatory phrases, proper via to systemically preying on others for their very own gratification.

Cannes solely exacerbates this, as a result of frenetic nature, clear energy imbalances and the sensation of being away from regular constructions/norms.

I haven’t heard any suggestion that any AmPav personnel acted in any method inappropriately themselves. Some college students expressed aid that the AmPav employees have been there and at the very least one detailed an incident the place AmPav particular person stepped into to guard a pupil after they judged the scenario to be turning into unsafe.

It is a good instance of the advantages of an organised program whereby college students have folks looking for them and someplace to show in a disaster. This isn’t explicitly listed on AmPav’s ‘What you get’ checklist however must be acknowledged as such a profit.

The principle story right here is that the movie trade stays someplace the place the younger and weak have to be consciously protected.

With that in thoughts, I did need to share a number of considerations college students had on this subject:

  • “There are not any further technique of help or steering for these minors and nobody observes who they’re hanging out with or what they’re doing. It’s completely a recipe for catastrophe”
  • “The fact is simply older males speaking about themselves then giving me their Instagram”
  • “Ampav as a collective may make it extra recognized to every visitor that they don’t tolerate predatory habits or attitudes in direction of the employees”
  • “College students have been requested to get into Ubers with out figuring out the vacation spot or folks on the airbnbs they find yourself with”
  • “Throughout my time at my internship, [person at the company they were placed in] has made sexist, racist, and homophobic remarks”
  • “Even with the efforts of these with good intentions I haven’t spoke to 1 ladies that has labored an occasion and never felt uncomfortable sooner or later”
  • “Breakfast encompass bread and low. Meals served at occasions and events are thrown out quite than given to college students… College students are inspired to seek out events for meals which inspires assembly unscrupulous people.”
  • [Some students told me that there was a Zoom meeting in which the interns were told to go to parties on boats in order to get free food. It could be argued that sending hungry young college students to random boat parties is at odds with a duty of care]

How among the interns really feel

There may be an emotional part to many of the interviews I carried out. Many felt misled, ignored, taken benefit of, and unheard. Just a few consultant feedback embody:

  • “I’m scared to inform my mother and father any of this as a result of they helped me finance a part of the journey and I do know if I have been to inform them they might really feel as if I used to be led astray”
  • “I really feel closely mislead”
  • “I simply really feel so taken benefit of, they don’t care about a lot of their pupil’s experiences, if any of them. I can’t inform you how disenchanted I’m”
  • “We’re all so determined for connections that we don’t need to converse out”
  • “I significantly dislike this program, and I’m glad that somebody is saying one thing. Our professors pushed us to do that laborious and in addition lied to us”
  • “I’m presently in this system and overwhelmingly each pupil I’ve spoken to feels upset”
  • “This internship left me …disheartened and feeling misled”
  • “I’m actually devastated that I didn’t have the same expertise to the folks I do know who went earlier than me”

There’s lots proper with the AmPav program

Over 90% of the responses I obtained have been destructive, however that’s to be anticipated. People who find themselves sad or dissatisfied are way more motivated to answer a name for feedback than these having a good time, or these busying themselves with a profitable internship.

I spoke to about 15% of the scholars on this system, which means that it may properly be the case that the overwhelming majority of AmPav college students are having a completely optimistic expertise. Moreover, among the points listed above could possibly be defined by the bizarre nature of 2022 (i.e. backlog of scholars, meets a scarcity of apply for the organisers, meets Covid, meets Cannes).

There may be a lot to advocate within the AmPav program. It locations numerous new entrants proper into the guts of the movie enterprise. It has constructions for supporting them and takes away lots of the challenges and hurdles they might face on their very own. Among the professors I spoke to identified that they didn’t have the information, expertise or bandwidth to organise one thing like this on their very own. With out AmPav, there could be far fewer college students studying how the movie enterprise works.

Among the optimistic issues college students mentioned embody:

  • “I imagine the folks which were saying this (probably first-years) have a really skewed notion about the place this cash goes – the charges are essential to supply enough lodging for housing in addition to full entry to the complete two weeks of the competition; not a single penny is wasted and I’ve personally seen the AmPav Pupil Program employees go above and past to try to reduce these charges down as a lot as humanly attainable. … I might additionally like to emphasise that that is an internship program, not a trip program; I imagine lots of the college students who I’ve heard complain about ‘feeling misled’ merely utilized with an inaccurate notion on the actions and positioned their hopes within the improper locations”.
  • “The Ampav program has allowed me to take a monumental step in my movie profession. I’ve had an unimaginable quantity of entry to many alternative components of the trade and made doubtlessly lifelong mates. … Sure the worth tag is hefty however such is worldwide research packages”.

The place does this depart us?

As I mentioned on the high, this story will evolve and alter. Among the points acknowledged could but be resolved, some could have already been addressed. For instance, as I write, there’s uncertainty as to how these testing optimistic for Covid can be sorted in France as soon as the competition ends. That mentioned, I’m assured that between AmPav and their school they won’t be deserted.

The questions that matter to me relate to the larger image. In speaking to trade professionals whereas researching this text, a number of questions stored arising:

  • Pay to work. Is it morally proper to be charging folks to work in unpaid service jobs? Is it authorized in France?
  • Shock. Why are college students shocked by the state of lodging and the work they have been anticipated to do? Is that this an issue with the communication given prematurely and the guarantees made?
  • Discontent. Why are so many college students deeply sad with their Cannes 2022 expertise? Is it simply entitled grumbling over comprehensible teething issues, or does there have to be a re-centring of priorities and communication?
  • The longer term. What ought to change for Cannes 2023 and past?


As a white, middle-class male who has a spot within the trade, I’m privileged to be past most of those considerations. To be sincere, I didn’t even see them. However now that I’ve, I can’t ignore them.

We as an trade must do a greater job in defending folks than we’re proper now – in all features of the trade. That begins with acknowledging what’s occurring.

When you have one thing to say on the matter – converse up.

And when you’ve got the privilege to have the ability to achieve this publicly, rattling properly use it.

Within the reporting of this story, I’ve obtained a variety of ‘off the report’ quotes from senior folks within the trade agreeing that features of the expertise listed above will not be acceptable. Now’s the time to say so in public.

Let’s have a dialog. Tweet, publish, remark. Tag me @stephenfollows and I’ll amplify your voice.


  • If I’ve made a factual error, please contact me or depart a remark. I’ll repair errors and observe them within the Change Log.
  • When you have an expertise you want to share, please add a remark or contact me instantly, both through this manner or through a non-public message on Twitter. Except you say in any other case, I’ll preserve all names and figuring out info non-public. I very a lot need folks to go ‘on the report’ in the event that they select, however I respect how some folks really feel that they could obtain reprisals in the event that they have been to take action. It’s essential I do know you’re real, however I don’t must publish your identify.
  • If you happen to disagree with something on this article, please depart a respectful remark or contact me instantly. I’m all for debate, I wish to hear differing opinions and there’s prone to be a range of experiences on this subject. Let’s simply preserve it civil, please.
  • I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with the quotes listed above. They’re solely the views of their authors and I’ve not had any of the experiences talked about. I’m searching for to share different folks’s factors of view, not make statements past my information or coaching. If I’ve overreached, please contact me and I’ll repair it.
  • All quotes are verbatim, besides the place the unique textual content would reveal private info, when the context was unclear or edited for brevity.

Photographs got here from Adobe, from AmPav interns and @jenn_bouani.


  • I emailed two folks at AmPav 3 times to speak about these points however they haven’t replied but. I stay very eager to talk with them, to fill in particulars solely they are going to know and to appropriate any errors they spot. AmPav – please get in contact.
  • I’ve emailed 60+ different pavilions and nation representatives to ask if all their employees are paid and if they’ve any unpaid pupil schemes. To date, I’ve had the next responses:
    • UK Pavilion and Display Australia say they pay all their employees and don’t run any unpaid or pupil schemes.
    • Movie USA. “Movie USA is a non-profit group to signify movie commissions and promote movie manufacturing throughout the USA… Our funding is solely from our sponsors… we’re a employees of two: Tony and myself. We’re not paid. We have now a handful of fantastic and supportive mates who’ve volunteered this yr. Our workshops are free, we now have free pleased hours, and it’s a free place open to all to return and sit down and meet folks“.
  • I’ve emailed over 80 professors on the schools listed on the AmPav website. Some have responded privately, however most haven’t but. None have gone ‘on the report’ but. One mentioned:
    • “A feminine colleague of mine who was a mentor in a subsequent yr has stopped recommending this system and inspired the varsity to do the identical.  I can be way more direct in my objections sooner or later.  I will even attain out to the scholars who attended this yr, as each are communicative and can be sincere with me”
  • I’m nonetheless trying to perceive the scenario with French labour legal guidelines, so if a French labour legislation knowledgeable who can add their views (ideally on the report) please do get in contact.

Change Log

I’ll observe alterations to the article right here.

  • Added that AmPav is owned by Penske Media, which additionally owns The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, Selection and IndieWire.
  • Added professor quote on the finish.


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