Le Ballon Rouge – Where kids are the new VIPs

The Festival de Cannes and the Marché du Film, in collaboration with the newly-formed collective Parenting at Film Festivals, is launching an unprecedented and ground-breaking family-friendly festival journey, Le Ballon Rouge, where Children are the New VIPs.

Work-life balance is a constant challenge for parents in modern society. In the film industry it is a daily battle. A vast majority of film professionals must travel regularly to film festivals and markets, sometimes with their babies and young children, and may have have a tough time combining their family and professional priorities. So often, it is just easier to leave the children at home, or more drastically, they may feel  forced to make a decision between their career and the prospect of starting a family.


Festival de Cannes General Delegate Thierry Frémaux and Marché du Film Executive Director Jérôme Paillard said of the initiative:

“Although the ever-present issue of work-life balance affects everyone, regardless of gender, we know the impact on women is much greater. There is much work to be done by major festivals to make their infrastructure and services family-friendly, to more effectively enable participation of women in the industry, who will benefit from a better balance and thus more success.  We are excited to lead the way among major festivals and hope other festivals will follow.”


The core team from Parenting at Film Festivals said:

“We’re heartened and amazed that the Festival de Cannes and the Marché du Film have listened so intently to our concerns. They embraced the vast majority of our proposals and are seriously considering the rest for 2020 once the demands for these services have been evaluated. We believe this will pave the way for an unprecedented new children-friendly journey that other festivals can take inspiration from.”


Aurélie Godet from Parenting at Film Festivals added:

“Even though my son was only one month old when I first took him to a film festival, it was as difficult  – and expensive – as I was warned it would be. Parent-friendly services at festivals are rare and I went head-on into problems other mums stumbled over before me… until I made a few phone calls to work friends and asked for tips. Making things change was always going to be about joining forces, taking these calls for help to a larger scale than the individual conversations I had with Sarah, Michelle and others.”


Sarah Calderón:

“As a single mother in the film industry, the challenges are twice as difficult. What actually makes a difference is creating a tribe around yourself, a team that helps you, an industry that boosts your profession and understands your work-life balance.”


Michelle Carey:

Having a child has not diminished my ardour for my work and for film. I want to do both but travelling to film festivals without family or nanny is a major challenge. But it can be done. I’m thankful to and energised by my colleagues around me who are facing similar issues and to festivals such as Cannes for enabling us to do our work.

Named after the popular children’s film by Albert Lamorisse, Le Ballon Rouge offers a concrete package of 5 key services for families:

  • Family-Friendly Accreditation Process: Film professionals travelling with babies and young children will have a special accreditation in order to access the dedicated services the Marché is providing, including the Pantiero’s Kids Pavilion and the Palais’ Change & Feeding Corner, as well as two additional badges for nanny + baby (free of charge). Cinando will host on its site the newly-created group Parenting at Film Festivals to better identify the community and its needs.
  • Le Ballon Rouge Kids Pavilion: located at the Village International Pantiero, this 25m2 tent with terrace will welcome families from 10:00-18:00 daily from May 14 to 21. There, parents can choose to either spend time with their children, have family-friendly meetings in dedicated areas, or leave their children for up to 6 hours in the care of professional nannies provided by a specialised company. This special service will be offered by a cluster of partners – full list of partners below in How was this set up?. A small compensation will be asked to parents wishing to benefit from this service.
  • Baby Lounge Express-Changing & Feeding Corner: a dedicated room for parents and carers for breastfeeding, feeding or nappy-changing, will be open from 9:00-18:30 daily from May 14 to 24 in the Palais des Festivals.
  • Easy Access: priority access to the Marché will be given to parents entering with children at the Palais’ main entrance, Riviera entrance and Pantiero entrance. As the stroller approaches with its dedicated Ballon Rouge flag, staff will help them through security.
  • Le Ballon Rouge Baby VIP Kit: in collaboration with Parenting at Film Festivals and Cinando, a dedicated bag for children will be offered, with family-friendly map and services in Cannes, Marché access flag, list of certified nannies for after-hours care, and other helpful items.


How was this set up?

The Marché du Film has invested in the necessary infrastructure for this project and Parenting at Film Festivals raised the budget of the Kids Pavilion childcare service through an express crowdfunding campaign. More than 12 companies and institutions immediately contributed to this endeavour with financial support: Unifrance, Cinando, EAVE, Wolf Kino, The Film Agency, Pyramide, Madman Entertainment, ADEF, Europa International, Film Constellation, Charades and Pathé Films. Further, Raising Films and 5050X2020 have provided support and advice to Parenting at Film Festivals to make this important initiative a reality.


About Parenting at Film Festivals

Born out of the struggle of a group of 3 young festival-travelling mothers, the group Parenting at Film Festivals was created in January 2019 to share babysitting tips and costs, create a tribe to support each other around the globe, arrange playdates and advocate for family-friendly services at festivals and markets. It was co-founded by film programmers Aurélie Godet and Michelle Carey, and Sarah Calderón, director of The Film Agency.


To join the group of Parenting at Film Festivals on Facebook please click on this link :  https://bit.ly/2I3Y3Bj