Elle Fanning Jury of the 72 Cannes Film Festival attending the opening night premiere The Dead Don't Die © Joe Alvarez
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Elle Fanning Jury of the 72 Cannes Film Festival attending the opening night premiere The Dead Don't Die © Joe Alvarez
Elle Fanning – the youngest Cannes Jury – fainted during the festival © Joe Alvarez

It was widely reported that Elle Fanning – the youngest Cannes jury ever –  fainted at the Chopard Trophy award earlier this week. She explained the health scare by the tight PRADA dress she wore on the night – not the best publicity for PRADA.

But, alas, health scares at the Cannes Film Festival are far more common than you might think.

“I ended up in an ambulance due to exhaustion during 2015 Cannes Film Festival”

The festival is a marathon for only the fit ones

‘Any film festival is a huge undertaking,’ says Ikon London Magazine Editor in Chief and celebrity photographer Joe Alvarez. ‘And the Cannes Film Festival is not an exclusion. During such big events as Film Festivals – Venice, TIFF, Cannes – which usually last 12 days, it is not uncommon to do several months’ worth of work in just under two weeks.

‘The day usually starts early with photo calls and press conferences in the morning (up to 5 can be scheduled back to back). The morning marathon is followed by the red carpet premieres staring from early afternoon and finishing at 10 pm each day. Then there are interviews celebrity talks, workshops, galas, parties, private commissions and film after parties that often last well into the early hours of the following day. The long queues that define the festival for working journalists mean you spend most of the day standing and walking around.

“There is nothing healthy in the lifestyle we live during Film Festivals”

How does one day in Cannes look like?

According to Joe Alvarez, ‘in just one day you can shoot Brad Pitt, Leonardo Di Caprio and Quentin Tarantino in the morning and then be off to lunch with a mayor of Cannes in the presence of the Cannes Film Festival Jury followed by a commissioned full-blown fashion photo shoot at the Croisette.

‘A few years ago, after overcommitting and overworking, I nearly collapsed right in the middle of the festival. I was rushed to the hospital by the ambulance and doctors told me I was absolutely fine apart from the exhaustion. I was ordered to go home and sleep. As if… I had a diamond company photo shoot scheduled the following day with the models flying in from London. I just about managed and worked all the way through the end of the festival despite the fatigue. So I understand how Elle Fanning must feel.

Alcohol eases the tiredness but it’s a vicious circle

According to the fashion and lifestyle editor of Ikon London Magazine Tamara A Orlova, ‘with only several hours dedicated to sleep, the exhaustion can easily accumulate in no time. Conveniently, at the journalists’ terrace at the Palais des Festivals, you can help yourself to the complimentary alcoholic drinks. The same goes for all the official and non-official parties and galas. The drinks do numb the pain and by 7 pm your exhaustion has seemingly left you.’

The model, filmmaker, and journalist continued: ‘The only thing that seems to be rather an afterthought is food – you grab a bite here or there. With often only one dedicated meal in the morning. There is nothing healthy about the lifestyle we live during the Cannes Film Festival. You always end up depleting your body reserves and energy. We all know that and we do it again and again. It’s addictive to be in the midst of a festival – we do have the best fun.

Add a few commissioned photo shoots and filming for our own channel and it’s not hard to imagine how one would collapse.

Elle Fanning has previously attended Cannes on numerous occasions but, of course, the workload and the pressure is different when you are on official duty as a jury compared to promoting one or two films.

Elle Fanning 72 Cannes Film Festival premiere of Once Upon A Time in Hollywood © Joe Alvarez
Elle Fanning © Joe Alvarez

The fashion editor concluded: ‘The dress, most likely, didn’t help but I think it’s unfair to just blame the tight dress. There is much more going on that needs to be taken into account. Working at the Cannes Film Festival in any official capacity is simply very physically and emotionally demanding. But if you don’t like it, no one puts a gun to your head and forces you to do that. There is always a choice.’

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Editor in Chief of Ikon London Magazine, journalist, film producer and founder of The DAFTA Film Awards (The DAFTAs).