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Pay 2,000 euros to walk the red carpet and attend the screening of the last IndianaJones or up to 20,000 euros for an evening in the presence of Leonardo DiCaprio: at the Cannes Film Festival, the black market for prestigious invitations is in full swing.
If professionals and accredited journalists have access – free of charge – to screenings by booking their tickets online, there are dozens of anonymous people, sometimes in tuxedos and evening dresses, in front of the Palais des Festivals, hoping to recover a precious sesame which will allow them to climb the steps like the stars and discover the selected feature films. Sometimes against (heavy) remuneration and completely illegally.
A WhatsApp group of sellers and buyers
Near the congress center, Sienna, an Italian woman in her thirties who lives in Berlin, remains adamant: “I will not pay to go see a film which will be released in two or three months”. She explains that she has “already seen three films without paying anything” with “each time, nice people” who “gave her a ticket”. A 25-year-old Finn, wishing to remain anonymous, is less categorical: despite “few means”, he would agree to make “an effort” to see “an Almodovar or the last Scorsese”.
Is it commonplace? Jenny, a young American from Miami, ends up confiding a little further that she is a member of a WhatsApp group which brings together “about 600 people, sellers and buyers of tickets and invitations”. In several screenshots of conversations, proposals such as a seat for the screening of the fifth IndianaJones at 2,000 euros. “I have a ticket for the Campari party. I can give it, ”also writes a member of the group in broken English. A certain Alex replies: “Can I have the Campari ticket? “. And the seller says to him: “OK, 300 euros, do you have a cryptocurrency account? “.
Another seller offers, still in English, an invitation for an evening with Leonardo DiCaprio at “20,000 euros per person” or other invitations for evenings or “after parties” at prices ranging from 9,500 to 16,500 euros. For her part, Natalia is “looking for 2 tickets for the red carpet on May 25” and Joe would like to access the “Chopard rooftop” of the Martinez hotel.
“Convictions have already been pronounced”
Who can afford to pay such sums? “Influencers who have millions of followers and just want to be seen,” says Jenny. “For them or the brands they promote, 2,000 euros is nothing”.
These invitations to the evenings “are offered by the brands to professionals, they are free of charge”, explains a regular at the festival on condition of anonymity. “If these invitations, generally in the form of QR codes, end up on the black market, it is because they are resold by unscrupulous professionals who thus make money”.
For invitations to screenings, all tickets bear the same mention: “This invitation is strictly personal and cannot be sold. Violators may be subject to prosecution “. “As soon as the Cannes Film Festival is informed of proven facts of resale of tickets, we take action, in consultation with the police and judicial authorities. Sentences have already been pronounced in the past, ”reacted the organizers. According to the police, no proceedings have yet been initiated this year.