The Cannes Film Festival is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, but even though it’s one of the oldest events on the cinematic calendar, it is looking to get hip to contemporary culture. Two weeks after partnering with TikTok for a short film contest, Cannes named Khaby Lame as one of the jury members who will judge that competition.
#TikTokShortFilm, as the contest is known, will draw submissions from across TikTok. Interested creators must keep their entries between 30 seconds and three minutes, and they are expected to employ the app’s signature vertical video format. #TikTokShortFilm was announced on March 15, and it opened for submissions that day; the submission period will end on April 8, with submissions announced “at the end of April,” according to TikTok. The 2022 Cannes Film Festival will begin on May 17.
Lame, the Senegal-born, Italy-based funnyman with 135.3 million followers on TikTok, is the only social media star among the #TikTokShortFilm jury. The other people who will judge the competition — Rithy Panh, Basma Khalifa, Camille Ducellier, and Angele Diabang — are traditional filmmakers and screenwriters.
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When brands want to make a connection with the TikTok audience, they often choose Lame as their ambassador. The silent-yet-hilarious star is helping Hugo Boss refresh its image while also advertising Pepsi’s newest soda.
On the #TikTokShortFilm jury, Lame will contribute to Cannes’ efforts to make itself less stuffy and, well, French. The festival banned red carpet selfies in 2018, calling them “grotesque,” but it is has found other ways to appeal to those youngsters who spend all day on their phones. The Three Days In Cannes program reserves about 2,000 festival accreditations for attendees between the ages of 18 and 28.
According to Variety, Éric Garandeau played a large role in brokering the partnership between Cannes and TikTok, and he also took the lead on the assembly of the #TikTokShortFilm jury. Garandeau is the former president of France’s National Film Board, and he now works for TikTok as the head of public affairs in France. As part of the deal between the two entities, TikTok will also provide financial support for the Cannes Film Festival.