After a challenging few years, Cannes Film Festival has returned with a bang, full of the glitz and glamour the world has come to expect.
And once again, IGY Vieux-Port de Cannes, a star venue for festivities during the event, witnessed the comings and goings of Hollywood’s finest, with celebrity-studded yacht parties unfolding alongside fashion shows, a slew of headline-grabbing premieres and glittering gala fundraisers.
The A-list arrived in droves, with Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Phoebe Waller Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen and Andie MacDowell just a few of the big names spotted in town during the past fortnight.
Harrison Ford arrived for the world premiere of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny - the fifth and final instalment - and appeared tearful as he stepped onstage to accept an honorary Palme d’Or award.
A bird’s eye view of the festival in full swing
All in all, 2023 will go down as a festival to remember, according to IGY’s Maddie Hagen. “The buzz this year has been insane,” she says. “In past years, Cannes Film Festival had dipped slightly in popularity but this year, it seems to have come back in force.
“We’ve had so many movie and pop stars in town…Johnny Depp was here for the opening film, and his daughter Lily Rose Depp and The Weeknd came with their new HBO show The Idol. “Dua Lipa and Donatella Versace also arrived to launch a capsule fashion collection they created together called La Vacanza.”
When asked why they chose to unveil this collection in Cannes, Donatella answered: “Cannes is the place for vacations, sun and the beach.”
IGY’s European Marketing Director Debbie Parsons-Randle agrees, adding: “It’s been incredible. The festival started to feel a bit stale and old school in recent years, but the film selection for this year has been on a different level and the celebrities in town have helped that elevation.”
BMW chooses Cannes for its marine space debut
IGY Vieux-Port de Cannes was the setting for a premiere of a slightly different kind too, as festival partner BMW unveiled their new state of the art E boat on one of the quays.
“They rented a space on one of our jetties to debut The Icon, their new 13.5m emissions-free boat, which water foils or floats slightly above the water,” explains Maddie. “They lined up around 30 BMW vehicles, each of which had a screen inside to tie in with the film festival theme, and they showed a video of the boat.
“It’s the first time BMW has stepped into the marine space and the fact that they chose to debut their new 100% emission-free boat here for its world premiere was very cool. Being a key sponsor of the film festival, hosting the BMW event was quite a coup for the port; the synergy was excellent.”
Superyacht icons lined up in the port
Naturally, the festival draws a diverse, high-powered collection of film lovers and movie insiders, all of whom are looking to secure the best spot in the marina. One of the regular returning vessels is 97m Vava 2, which was commissioned by Swiss entrepreneur Ernesto Bertarelli.
“Vava 2 is always one of our biggest yachts here, they often come during the film festival,” says Maddie. “They’ve held a lot of parties, which is exciting, and many people have been coming and going.
“Our yacht-owning visitors tend to come because they have friends in the industry and tickets to the festival. Generally, they want to secure the most highly coveted spots so they are all set to throw a 300-person party on board. The marina is always full during this period!”
Cannes Film Festival VIP packages set to launch in 2024
Following the success of their Miami F1 Grand Prix VIP packages launched in May, IGY has exciting plans to roll out exclusive red carpet experiences for Trident Collective members and marina clients during the Cannes Film Festival next year.
“It’s very much at the exploratory design and ideas stage currently but we are planning to refine what we did at F1 for next year,” reveals Debbie. “Cannes Film Festival is another key event which touches the port and our Trident members and marina clientele will be able to take advantage of their connection with the marina to tie in with activities at the festival.
“We have yet to decide exactly what the package needs to look like, and which partners we need to reach out to in order to make it happen. It’s early days but we will definitely have something exciting in place for next year’s film festival.”
Exciting redevelopment plans unfolding
IGY was awarded the concession to manage Vieux-Port de Cannes in March 2022, and the team is working alongside the city of Cannes to support a four-year redevelopment plan to bring the marina up to date. This includes a new crew and captain terminal and staff offices, a reconstructed Jetée Albert Edouard Sud specifically to berth larger yachts, an underground car park and extended public areas of parkland adjacent to the water, which will create further cohesion on the walkway between la Bocca and the Croisette.
“The works will elevate the space and bring it into this century with updated tech, more space for bigger superyachts and increased accessibility for the public,” says Maddie. “A new open-air market for the fishermen to sell their catch will be finished in June, because it’s very important to shine a light on the tradition of Cannes being a fishing village originally.
“During the festival we also launched the first-ever edition of Vieux-Port de Cannes Magazine highlighting all that Cannes has to offer as well as interviews with IGY CEO Tom Mukamal, Fayat CEO Jean-Claude Fayat, Mayor of Cannes David Lisnard and President of the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès Jean-Michel Arnaud.”
True to the spirit of Cannes, Debbie believes the upgrade represents a perfect union, marrying the history of the port with state of the art architecture and technology. “It will provide a more panoramic viewpoint, improve the facilities for fishermen and users of the port and uplift public access. We’re aiming for an elevated user experience across all sectors of the marina without losing that traditional Cannes feel.
“With the port going through redevelopment until 2027, having these key pockets of activity at events and trying to encompass and spread these events into the port is vital.
“We do a lot with clients and crew but we’re discovering that brand-orientated launches can add another dimension to the main event. It re-emphasises that the whole of Cannes has a real pull and provides the perfect platform while you have a captive audience - and we have a great team to make it happen.”