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Canadian Journalists Asked to Pay Thousands to Interview Celebs at Cannes

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Coming soon: In a world dominated by junketeering, one distribution company takes on the forces of tradition, sending shock waves that reverberate through the corridors of power as it uncovers a massive conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels.

Now playing itself out at the Cannes Film Festival is a bit of drama involving Canadian distribution and production company Alliance Films and Canadian journalists on the scene.

Alliance has decided to pass along its costs for attending the festival to the group least able to absorb those costs: the on-the-spot reporters. And the costs aren't cheap.'s Brian Johnson provides the price list, which starts at 750 euros per interview for a roundtable session that includes Kristen Stewart of the Twilight franchise, and goes as high as 3,000 euros for a TV interview with Brad Pitt. Alliance is distributing Stewart's On the Road and Pitt's Killing Me Softly in Canada later in the year.

For entertainment journalists who are in many cases used to the reverse -- expenses paid for upscale accommodations and all-around swag -- the list came as a shocker.

Carmite Cohen, vice president of publicity and promotions for Alliance, explained the company's rationale to thusly:

“Alliance decided not to contribute to the costs of the Cannes junket, which we found to be exorbitant. We decided, instead, to participate in the upcoming North American junket, which will happen later this year. It will be more cost effective and more relevant to Alliance given that it will happen in proximity to the film’s release date in Canada. That being said, we didn’t want to prevent Canadian journalists from having access to the Cannes junkets for these films if they wanted to participate and gain earlier access. It was on this basis that you were provided with the price list. There is absolutely no economic benefit derived by Alliance from this opportunity.”

Too bad. A bit of economic benefit might have come in handy for Alliance. Last year, the distribution company bought Maple Pictures from Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) for $38.5 million dollars. Lions Gate went on to produce the blockbuster The Hunger Games, which Alliance Films distributed -- in Canada. It's also one of many small distributors of What to Expect When You're Expecting, which Lions Gate also produced and is distributing in the US.

Alliance insists it's not "selling" interviews, merely "offering the opportunity" for journalists to pay if it's really worth it to them. Canadians weren't the only ones getting the "offer.” German journalists who wanted to interview Nicole Kidman or Matthew McConaughey of The Paperboy also got a bill of fare, Spiegel Online reports.
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