Lena Situations severely attacked on her physique at the foot of the steps of the Cannes Film Festival. Is it only for her rounded shapes or because she dared to show off in the Westwood dress worn thirty years ago by the model Naomi Campbell? Crime of lèse-majesté: Léna Mahfouf of her real name, is not a model and even less a movie star. Still, he’s a celebrity. And not just any with its 4 million followers on Instagram and 2.5 million subscribers to his channel on You Tube. Like her, influencers Théodort, CyprienMastu, Poupette, Libellule are in Cannes, causing, as soon as they appear on a screen, the jubilation of their fans at the same time as the ire of those who believe that these personalities have nothing to do there.

“These are just coat racks that get paid by the brands,” says Cynthia, 45, a saleswoman in a Cannes store. Mathilde, 60, a client of the boutique, has never heard of these “false stars” when their names are mentioned to her. “Catherine Deneuve on the festival poster this year, that’s a star, she enthuses. The others are a race to the bottom! So who are these “influencers” who seem to have invaded the festival since TikTok and Brut shared the festival’s media partnership with France Télévisions?

Content creators or influencers

“Already, it is necessary to make the distinction between influencers and content creators, nuance Mehdi Omais, a film critic who is now in the second category with 80,000 subscribers across all media. The young man talks about films and conducts interviews to share his passion for the 7th art. “A lot of influencers only go up the stairs to show off and promote brands, but aren’t interested in cinema,” he sighs. Whereas we work like brutes trying to attend screenings, film and edit subjects. We don’t do the same job! »

Another content creator present in Cannes, Hugo Travers d’Hugo Decrypts does not specialize in year-round cinema. He comments on current events and tackles subjects as diverse as politics or sport in a serious and informed manner. “I see myself more as a content creator who makes a large team work to deliver in-depth videos of interviews or analysis,” he explains. His objective: to introduce the festivals to subscribers who are not automatically cinephiles, while his colleague Mehdi Omaïs addresses himself to a niche audience already in love with the 7th art.

New partners

“The Covid-19 has made known new names from social networks during confinement. This reverberated in Cannes after the pandemic, especially in 2021 when the stars were dragged out to come back, ”insists Daniela Estner, general manager ofUnifrance, an organization that defends French cinema abroad. She learned to reckon with these new partners.

“We took stock of the importance of influencers,” she explains. They are particularly important with young people. They have become complementary to the traditional press by attracting a different audience to the cinema. “And to remember a Brazilian youtubeur who was promoting the operation “My French Cinema” with a wand under his arm and a beret on his head. “We are preparing an event with gamers by creating a virtual room in the world of games Minecraft. We will give away cinema tickets and hope that this will attract young people to the theatres. »

From a brand point of view, same story. “We know that the influencers of today can become the movie stars of tomorrow, even if they will then join brands better known than mine”, specifies the stylist Christophe Guillarme. Still considered a young designer, although he has been present for more than twenty years in Cannes, he continues to lend outfits to young women, not necessarily all known, but who help him to make his dresses known. “We sometimes link our accounts on social networks,” he laughs.

The stars always present

“I do not have the impression that the influencers are more numerous this year than the previous ones, estimates Pierre Zéni, of Canal +, who comments on each climb of the steps. I also don’t believe they outshine movie stars for the public watching the red carpet. “It is true that this year, the stars, the real ones, the Hollywoodians, did not miss: Johnny Depp, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Ethan Hawke, Cate Blanchett, Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson … each time eclipsing the lesser-known personalities in the eyes of an audience who came to cheer them on.

“Today’s influencers remind me most of the reality TV stars of a few years ago, who themselves replaced footballers in the 2000s, supermodels in the 1980s and starlets in the 1960s,” says Nathalie Dubois-Sissoko, the founder, twenty years ago, of the Gift Suites which bring young brands into contact with more or less well-known celebrities. “You can’t compare Sharon Stone to a girl her community watches eating noodles on social media. I can receive them both in my suites, but the brands, which are my clients, will not offer them the same products. »

20 minutes also remembers the astonishment, in 2016, when Instagram began to reveal behind the scenes of the festival as we had never seen them. That was only seven years ago. So, Cannes, new stronghold of influencers? A little, no doubt, because the cameras have always needed pretty girls and handsome boys. But not only. Because if the big names of the 7th art are always the kings of the biggest film festival in the world, the newcomers have at least the merit of bringing a breath of fresh air to a universe tempted by the between-oneself.

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