Now Reading:

Photographers at Cannes - 3/8: "Cannes is like the Berlin Film Festival multiplied by five, in terms of work and atmosphere."

world news

Photographers at Cannes - 3/8: "Cannes is like the Berlin Film Festival multiplied by five, in terms of work and atmosphere."


Media coverage of the Cannes festival requires an army of photographers. Some stand on duty alongside the red carpet while others are sent on sorties in the town’s streets and alleys. Away from the action, their editors sit in darkened rooms working furiously on images that will be seen across the world. But what is it like being at the front line in Cannes? What goes on behind the camera? euronews is following a team from Getty Images to get their unique perspective of life on the Croisette.

Christine Pettinger, Assignment Editor:

“I am working with a team of photographers from three organisations (Getty Images, Wire Image and Film Magic), technicians and a dozen or so editors.
In all, there are around 45 of us at Cannes. I am in charge of access issues and the photographers’ schedule: where they are going and when, to photograph whom. I look for the information: who is where, at which party, on which beach, at which hotel, at what time….I also schedule photo shoots with celebrities for the photographers. So my work tool is a Blackberry, a French mobile phone and, obviously, a computer.”

“The two first days were the hardest. Everyone was trying to plan everything for the full duration of the festival but now it is all going smoothly. Barring anything unexpected. For example, this morning Brad Pitt was an hour late for his photo call.
As a result, the whole schedule had to be changed, and appointments that the photographers had missed because of the delay reprogrammed. But it is alright, that is what I am here for! I already knew most of the photographers working here, notably two Frenchmen who cover the Berlin Film Festival with me each year and some Italians I met at the Venice Film Festival. They are very professional so that makes my job easier. It is really pleasant to work with them. I find it magical to send photographers out somewhere, then to see the photos arrive and finally to discover them in magazines and newspapers.”

“The atmosphere in the office is very good, with music always in the background. In general, there are around 20 of us in the office, in the basement of the Palais des Festivals. We have enough space apart from at the end fo the day when all the photographers come back. Generally, I start work at around 9.30am, 10am in the morning before the first photocall at 11am. In the evening, the last screenings go on until about midnight, 1am; which means that you finish at around 3am or 4am. On party evenings, one of us stays and it can be a very late finish. Today, for example, someone stayed until 6am! Fortunately, we are staying at the hotel. We can make the most of our six hours of sleep. When we get back, the bed is made, everything is clean.”

“In Berlin, I do roughly the same thing but here the team and the festival are much bigger. I would say that Cannes is like the Berlin Film Festival multiplied by five, in terms of work and atmosphere. The Berlin festival takes place in February. It is cold, it is grey, sometimes there is ice in the streets. The atmosphere is a lot less glamorous and there are fewer stars. I love Cannes. The sea, the sea air….What is more, I have already lived in France, in the 1990s. I like the French way of life.”

Christine Pettinger

Christine Pettinger is a picture editor at Getty Images. She is in charge of the “entertainment” section for German-speaking regions: Germany, Switzerland and Austria. In Cannes, she is in charge of the 30 or so photographers from the agencies Getty Images (official events), Wire Image (evenings and parties), and Film Magic (celebrity spotting). It is her job to provide them with the necessary information and access, to handle relations with festival staff and to arrange photo shoots with stars or the cast and director of films. She began her career in France, with France 3 (state broadcaster) and Arte in the 1990s before returning to Germany where she worked on the picture desk of several newspapers.
In her work, she likes to travel and be in contact with a lot of photographers. Every one of her days is different, with a very colourful atmosphere.
This Cannes festival is her first.

The Cannes festival on the Wire Image website

The Cannes festival on the Getty Images website

Read our news file

Coming up on Tuesday – Rollo Ross

Rollo Ross is a TV producer for Getty who has covered the Cannes film festival 14 times.
The Londoner is responsible for making sure that his video cameras catch all there is to be caught in what he called ‘one huge sprawling showbiz event.’
Ross is responsible for finding the big names, making sure the pictures are shot, editing the video and sending it back for distribution worldwide.
He spent the first 11 years at the festival for the agency APTN.
During his time there he told us he has found several ‘secret spots’ — places where he knows there’s a good chance of snatching those vital pictures that no-one else has.

Every story can be told in many ways: see the perspectives from Euronews journalists in our other language teams.

Next Article