Cannes, According to Golden Camera Juror and Director Baloji

Belgian-Congolese rapper and film director Baloji is back on the Croisette for the 2024 Cannes Film Festival.

The director of 2023 Un Certain Regard entry Omen this year is a member of the Caméra d’Or, or Golden Camera, jury.

Before heading to Cannes, he shared with THR some tips and insights into his experience at the festival.

What makes Cannes unique?

You can have specialists in South Korean art house movies, next to people signing film deals, right beside TikTok influencers reporting on red carpet stars and the next bling bling. Bringing all these worlds together is what makes Cannes so special. 

Favorite “only in Cannes” moment?

My favorite moment was, of course, screening Omen at the Debussy Theatre. But the strangest “only in Cannes” moment was doing the red carpet. Because we didn’t have a red carpet for our film, the crew and I got to walk the red carpet for one of the official competition films. But as soon as we went up the stairs and got the photos, they took us down and shuffled us off. 

Any memorable celebrity encounters? 

Sadly, no. I was too busy to meet anyone. But one of my actresses bumped into Quentin Tarantino. I only met him later that year, when I did an American Cinematheque screening [at L.A.’s Los Feliz Theater]. I picked Milos Forman’s Loves of a Blonde, which is a really important film for me. After the screening, Tarantino came up to me and said, “Good speech, good film.” 

A first-time filmmaker in Cannes should never … 

Party before the day of the press junket for your film. Otherwise, you will not survive. The journalists can tell if you are hungover or working on autopilot, and that can derail your film. You have to focus as if you are an athlete on the night of the big game. 

A Cannes first-timer should always …

Get up early one morning to walk the Croisette. That’s when Cannes is at its most gorgeous: When it’s empty and there’s just the sand, the ocean, and the city.


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