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Ticket Headaches, Lost Luggage and Stolen Phones: Festival Woes Plague Cannes


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The streets surrounding Hotel Martinez were lined with fans on a blazing hot Wednesday. Eva Longoria, a L’Oreal ambassador, made a glamorous exit at lunchtime trailed by photographers while wearing a bright orange Victoria Beckham dress.

Minutes later, an exasperated power agent was feverishly texting on the sidewalk feet away, attempting to secure an ensemble to wear to a Palais premiere that same evening. The rep’s luggage was lost in transit, another example of drama that has plagued countless fest attendees.

Such is the juxtaposition of Cannes — breezy glamour and intense stress — that has been on full display during the fest’s 75th edition. The most pressing nuisance, by far, has been ticketing issues though. The festival’s online ticket portal has been a hot button issue, plagued by server crashes all week. The drama revealed itself on opening day, Tuesday, as the press site kept timing out and crashing altogether.,

Fest officials put out a statement linking technical difficulties to bots and blaming “acts aimed at saturating the site with ticket requests, thus preventing festival-goers from accessing it.” Officials worked to remedy the problem, eventually issuing a new link for press. On Wednesday, however, more than a hundred festgoers were spotted queuing up in a Palais hallway attempting to gain access to festival computers, which, at the time, was the only way to secure tickets.

“I hope they find a way to make the system work as well as it always has,” Picturehouse COO Jeanne Berney told THR, confirming she and company CEO Bob Berney have been battling the system. “Especially now coming into the modern age.”

Tickets haven’t been Berney’s only concern this week. “It was our first dinner in Cannes, and we were seated outside on the sidewalk. I put my bag on the back of my chair, and when we left, [my phone] was gone,” she revealed of the theft, something she’s never experienced in attending the festival. “I tracked it, and it was somewhere on the highway outside of town. I should’ve been more careful.”

Caution could not have prevented other woes this week. Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Helen Hoehne is said to have experienced major travel issues, as did countless fest attendees who flew in from New York, where there was a major storm earlier this week.

A THR reviewer’s train from Paris to Cannes was scheduled to arrive at 4:30 p.m. Monday. But at 3:30 p.m., during a stop in Toulon, the conductor announced there would be an “indefinite delay” due to problems on the track that were preventing the train from continuing on its journey.

Upon hearing that the delays could be nearly five hours, travelers rushed for the exits in droves, frantically searching for taxis and rental cars or connecting to ride-share apps, some of which were charging more than $300. In a strange twist of events, after many had secured transportation, the tech problems got resolved and the train resumed its course, arriving in Cannes about 80 minutes after its original arrival time.

Claudia Pacella, a designer of the cashmere brand UAVI Republic, made it to Cannes to participate in DPA’s Cannes luxury gift lounge, but her luggage did not. “I’ve been having to write all of my business cards by hand. It’s unconventional, but it’s possible,” she said of navigating going without her belongings for three days. “I hear it’s very common these days because airports and airlines are having staffing issues due to the pandemic. Everyone seems stressed lately.”

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