Cannes: How TikTok Creators Anna Sitar and Sara Echeagaray Navigated Festival Debuts
Influencers Anna Sitar and Sara Echeagaray followed each other on TikTok, but hadn’t met in person until arriving in Cannes just a few days ago. They can thank TikTok for the festival rendezvous as the global phenomenon invited more than 20 top creators to attend the Cannes Film Festival as part of an official (and inaugural) partnership.
“We wanted to give TikTok users a range of perspectives on what’s happening in Cannes, so we decided to bring people from different countries so that there would be some language coverage and creators with slightly different styles and perspectives,” says Rich Waterworth, TikTok general manager for the U.K. and EU. “We have creators like Anna who have a background in film, other creators who specialize in interviews and others to let you experience the festival in their own unique way.”
That’s exactly what Sitar and Echeagaray did this week during their respective Cannes appearances. The Hollywood Reporter caught up with both creators to talk about their massive platforms — Sitar, who just graduated with a masters degree in film production, has 11.8 million followers while Echeagaray counts 7.2 million, their respective content strategies and what celebrities they most wanted to meet.
With your massive platform, I’m sure you get a lot of offers and invites. Why did you say yes to Cannes?
Sitar: I have known of Cannes for the longest time after seeing stories about it featuring all the biggest creatives and celebrities coming here. Especially coming from a film background with my master’s degree, the second I saw that TikTok had become a partner, I said, “If anything happens, I want to be there.” This is such an incredible opportunity, and to get to experience it firsthand is once in a lifetime. To even be staying on the same floors as some of the incredible creators and developers that are here is a dream come true.
With a degree in film production, what do you want to do?
Sitar: Directing and writing. Those are my two favorites. My focus [in school] was directing, but I’ve taken a lot of writing courses because I enjoyed the creation aspect of it. TikTok gives such incredible access, because I get to play every role, whether it’s cinematographer, director, actor, writer.
Before arriving, what did you know about Cannes or the festival?
Echeagaray: Ever since I was little, I’ve always wanted to be in the acting industry, so I knew a little about Cannes and that the festival premieres different films every night for a week and at the end of it all they vote for the best film I believe. I also knew that the fashion was just as impeccable as the films they screened.
What is your schedule like here?
Echeagaray: Very tight. In hindsight, there is so much that goes into preparing for the festival that no one sees behind closed doors. It has made this experience so much more real to me, and I appreciate it even more.
What content have you created and will you create here?
Echeagaray: I was taking my followers behind the scenes of the festival and taking them through my point of view! It also just inspires me to keep doing acting content on the TikTok platform, because without them, I wouldn’t have been here.
Sitar: My goal on a daily basis, normally, is about one to three videos. But since I came here by myself, I’m lucky in that I don’t have many distractions. So, I’m around four to six videos a day right now. I did have a chance to sit down and unwind this morning while I was eating breakfast, and I opened up a little emotionally about how excited and nervous I was to be here. It still feels surreal. I just feel so normal, and TikTok came from out of nowhere for me in the same way it has for so many creators. It’s wild to think that I’m so blessed that I get to have the opportunity to be sitting here and even meeting you today.
Have you ever been to a film festival?
Echeagaray: No, this is my first one, and what a great first film festival to have attended.
Sitar: Once, for school actually, funny enough. It was an assignment to go to a film festival, so I went to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. I went with a group of girlfriends to a movie, and that was before I was really on TikTok. It was a little bit of an escape for a day.
What is your favorite film?
Sitar: I’m such a genre person. I love anything about love. It’s so cheesy, but I love any good love story, especially heartbreak films like The Notebook or The Light Between Oceans. It’s a beautiful story about love, longing and loss.
Echeagaray: I simply cannot answer that. I have too many! My favorites consist of the Marvel franchise, of course, Star Wars franchise and the Harry Potter franchise. There’s a lot more, but those are the top.
When you travel, how often do you get recognized by TikTok followers? Favorite interaction?
Echeagaray: I’m actually very surprised when I travel internationally, and people recognize me. It makes me feel happy and warm to see that my content has reached a vast audience around the globe. Nothing will top my very first interaction at a Target in Las Vegas, where I used to live. I was wearing sweatpants, a baggy t-shirt, and no makeup, but the fact that this was the start of many interactions always puts a smile to my face.
Sitar: Yeah. It’s so surprising to me, every time. It feels like I’m running into a friend whenever somebody stops me. Even coming here, during a layover in Paris, I met the two sweetest girls. They were coming to the film festival, too. They were students from Georgia and just excited to experience it the same as me. We got to visit for a little bit and talk about school and their plans. I’ve had a lot of incredible experiences. I even met somebody at dinner last night.
Of all the movie stars here in Cannes this year, who do you most want to meet?
Echeagaray: I heard Julianne Moore is [here] and I’m not sure who else. I grew up watching her and to be able to see her in person is an absolute dream.
Anna, if you could fantasy cast a movie that you directed, who would you like to work with?
Sitar: Jennifer Anderson is fantastic. She’s such an icon and such a classic. I’m a ‘90s baby, and there’s something about her style and energy that I just love. I’ve also always loved Zendaya. She’s so talented. I got to meet her once. My mom said hello to her in the airport, and I was like, “Mom, don’t say anything. We can’t be those people who stop somebody in the airport.” But she couldn’t help it, and The Greatest Showman had just come out. My mom said, “I just watched your movie, and I’m so proud of you.” I would cast her instantly if I could do my own film.
What about fellow TikTok creators?
Sitar: The creators who are here right now are amazing. I knew Sara before. We’ve been mutuals on TikTok for a while now. Meeting her was like seeing a friend, and that’s such a beautiful thing. I saw her, and I was like, “Oh my gosh, you’re here. I’m so glad.” It’s great because you have a sense of comfort.
Echeagaray: I finally got to meet Anna Sitar, and we’ve been following each other for a while now. I’m so happy that I got to meet her, she’s a ray of sunshine.