Cannes Film Festival charges Canadian journalists to interview stars such as Brad Pitt


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The Independent Culture

Interviews with Hollywood’s top stars can be staid affairs. Reined in by a host of publicists and PRs, very rarely do they let slip anything of great interest. But now Canadian journalists at the Cannes Film Festival have been told they must pay for the privilege.

In a move Toronto’s Globe and Mail described as “anathema to respectable publications and broadcast outlets”, Canadian distribution company Alliance Films sent out a detailed menu of how much face time with each star will cost.

A television interview with Brad Pitt, who is in France promoting Killing Me Softly, costs £2,400, while a one-on-one print interview with Twilight and On The Road star Kristen Stewart is £800.

Der Spiegel magazine also revealed that German journalists who wanted interviews with The Paperboy actors Nicole Kidman and Matthew McConaughey would need to pay an undisclosed fee.

It is uncommon to have a pay-for-entry policy on junkets of this type. Interviews are normally granted for free on the basis that their appearance in the news creates goodwill and publicity. But in this case, Alliance passed on the cost of organising the junkets to the journalists themselves.

In a statement to Canadian magazine Macleans, Alliance spokesperson Carmite Cohen said the interviews would have been offered for free at an upcoming junket in North America. “Alliance decided not to contribute to the costs of the Cannes junket, which we found to be exorbitant,” she said, adding: “We didn’t want to prevent Canadian journalists from having access to the Cannes junkets for these films if they wanted to participate and gain earlier access. It was on this basis that you were provided with the price list. There is absolutely no economic benefit derived by Alliance from this opportunity.”

Flying stars such as Pitt, Stewart and their considerable entourages to festivals across the globe incurs considerable costs. There has been speculation that Alliance, which backed unlikely blockbuster The King’s Speech and awards darling Shame, could simply be trying to keep expenses down ahead of its upcoming sale.

Goldman Sachs announced in January that it was getting rid of its two thirds stake in the company, with a decision on the winning bid expected imminently.