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A British Cannes deluge?

There is an impressive, if dauntingly large, crop of British films that will be considered for the Croisette.

The Berlinale only selected two British films for its 2013 edition – Ken Loach’s documentary The Spirit of ’45 in Berlinale Special and Jadoo in Culinary Cinema.

If you think that signals some sort of UK production drought, think again. If anything it signals a huge UK crop that will now be fighting for slots in Cannes.

Edouard Waintrop from Directors’ Fortnight was in London two weeks ago to screen British contenders. His Cannes compatriots will be following in the next few weeks, and they’ve got a lot of watching to do – it could be the biggest potential Cannes crop from the UK ever.

It’s mostly down to timing. A lot of films happen to be ready for this time of year, but you could also argue that fewer and fewer UK filmmakers want to use Berlin as a launchpad and will wait for a more competitive Cannes slot instead.

The film that seems like a shoo-in (if ready in time) is Jonathan Glazer’s long-gestating Under The Skin, which feels right for a Competition slot.

After that, there’s a wide-open field including Joanna Hogg’s new London-set film (as yet untitled); Richard Ayoade’s second directorial effort The Double; Clio Barnard’s The Arbor follow-up, The Selfish Giant; John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary (Ireland-UK); and A Field In England from Ben Wheatley (who landed a surprising Directors’ Fortnight slot with Sightseers last year).

Mark Cousins (The Story of Film) is said to be working on a children-in-film project that would seem a perfect fit for Cannes Classics if it’s finished in time.

Films from newcomers Destiny Ekaragha (Gone Too Far) and Paul Wright (For Those In Peril) are attracting good buzz already, as are Uberto Pasolini’s Still Life, Hong Khaou’s Lilting, and Mister John (a UK-Ireland-Singapore co-production) by Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor.

If those selections aren’t ready or miss out on too few slots in Cannes they could be especially strong premieres at summer festivals such as Edinburgh, Karlovy Vary or Locarno.

The big crop for Cannes is even assuming a slew of big titles wait for the autumn festivals: Ralph Fiennes’ The Invisible Woman; Jonathan Teplitzky’s The Railway Man; Roger Michell’s Le Weekend; Stephen Frears’ Philomena; Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank (UK-Ireland); Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man; Kevin Macdonald’s How I Live Now; Ron Howard’s Rush; Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Diana; Amma Asante’s Belle; Pascal Chaumeil’s The Long Way Down; Ruairi Robinson’s The Last Days On Mars (UK-Ireland); Dexter Fletcher’s Sunshine On Leith; Stuart Murdoch’s God Help The Girl; Hossein Amini’s The Two Faces of January; and Richard Raymond’s Desert Dancer.

All of this is the sign of an extremely strong year for British films. Let’s hope the Cannes programmers are feeling Anglophile in 2013.

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