Friday, May 29, 2009

Cannes Recap

Now that I have had a minute or two to sleep off Cannes, the jet lag, and the French wine that is required in order to be considered polite, I am considering what the take-aways were for this festival.  I have come up with the following, as a start:

1.  Creativity in funding and distribution are the new games across the land.  The old studio method of thinking and doing are really becoming archaic.  Thinking outside of the box is now a survival requirement.

2.  Violence, and more specifically, violence towards women, just never seems to go out of fashion.  The coveted premieres were blood, guts, and torture.  I suppose that fact that we are a world constantly at war, somewhere, will always make this so.  I am not against all violence in film.  I love a good cutting off of the ear when needed.  If the story warrants it, full-speed ahead.  But lengthy scenes of genital mutilation as torture?  Seems like lazy storytelling and filmmaking to me.

3.  The Asian market is about to take over the industry.  The infusion of huge capital alone will make this so.  Should be interesting to see the effect on "Western" product.

4.  American filmmakers need to organize themselves as a group, in order to take advantage of the European short film market.  In a big way.

5.  Hilary Swank knows how to work a red carpet.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cannes De-Virginization Complete

Last night in Cannes, we were hanging out in the American Pavilion, and I run into a guy hawking his own short film.  Unbeknownst to me, he is a USC grad, knows my entire crew, and even worked on the film I Executive Produced, Kwame.  Sometimes you have to fly half way around the world to meet folks from your own backyard.

Later that night, we made our final pilgrimage to cáfe-land on La Croisette, where I had the distinct pleasure, not, of walking into a basement to use the toilette...only to find a Frenchman in the dark, with only his cigarette lighting the way.  Yeah, didn't stay for that show.

Last day of hustling the Short Film Corner.  We screened The Hands in a private screening room.  Not a big audience, because we were relegated to an early morning slot, but still respectable.  Note to self:  By the time folks are into the Cannes groove, fewer and fewer bodies are there in the morning hours.  It was still amazing to be there, though.  Not one person who had a part in making this film was left out of my brain in those moments. Everybody remembers their first time...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tidbits overheard...

This is some of the best people-watching, and convo eavesdropping I have ever experienced:

1.   "Eli Roth was talking about smoking with  Quentin Tarantino, and dude, I was like, can I hang out with you cuz you are for sure smokin' the good shit."

2.   Guy #1:  Have you met many people yet?
       Guy #2:  Yeah, dude, I went to a party last night, and I woke up on the other side of Cannes with two people in my bed.  I think I met a lot of people last night.

3. While waiting in line for the bathroom:  "I am totally ready to bend over and spread the cheeks to sell this movie, dude."

Dude, I'm just the messenger.

Take the good with the bad...

So, after a night of listening to drunk people racing their scooters and singing drunken French songs just outside my window, I got up to prepare for my Le Pitch filming for ShortsTV.  Very odd.  You know when you think you are prepared, but you don't get the response you thought you'd get?  Yeah, well that pretty much sums it up.  Understandably, because I am in France, the excitement seemed to be saved for French writers and directors.  Whatta ya gonna do?  Well, I went and got a croissant, and started my work for the day.  Funny how the sting of a lukewarm reception can be eased with a lovely pastry.

Today, I will be working to target the foreign sales agents and distributors for short films. In Europe, short films are truly respected as an art form, and they have many outlets to market them and share them with a viewing public.

I saw a couple of well done productions in The Short Film Corner yesterday--The Coup De Grace was my fave.  Today I am going to see one called Le Quota, which poses the question, "Is France racist?"  It is supposed to be a thought-provoking piece.  It is definitely an interesting component of this film market.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cannes Days

So it has taken me a couple of days just to figure out the maze that is the Festival De Cannes. Obviously, there is the jet-lag...7 hours difference between Chicago and Cannes.  That alone has made an 8am wake-up call interesting.  But, even bigger is the absolute vastness of this festival and market.  It is a several football fields long in white-domed tents behind a Coliseum of a building, with every language under the sun being spoken, and the Mediterranean sea as its backdrop.  It can be overwhelming, until you start to break it down into manageable parts.  It felt a bit like freshman year in high school.

The first day was just getting registered, and trying to get the lay of the land.  We had a comical "Where's Waldo" episode going as we were on the hunt for electrical outlet converters that we forgot at home...only to find that the business center at the festival sold them for 20 Euros, right next door to where we had just registered.  Live and learn.  We honed our French a bit on that excursion, along with our sign language that we felt was helping our translation.  There was an invitation-only premiere that night, which caused us to cross paths with Quentin Tarantino, who is a freakin' rock star in these parts.  Seriously, he was just walking down the closed off street with his tux on, waving at people screaming his name like he was one of The Beatles.  A little surreal.

Yesterday, I went to the Short Film Corner inside the Marche Du Film at the Palais.  I found my film, The Hands, and the film I was an Executive Producer on, Kwame, among the screeners. That was a very cool moment.  There was a time, not that long ago, when I was overwhelmed at the thought of how to put together a movie production.  So, sitting here on the French Riviera with a production that I wrote and directed, felt like a tremendous milestone.

We also hit La Pizza for lunch.  Just as promised by a friend who is also a disciple, it was a religious experience.  Who knew that the best pizza a Chicago girl would ever have would be eaten on the French Riviera?

Today I snooze-buttoned my way through my alarm too many times.  I rushed to the shuttle at the apartment we are renting.  Got to my appointment just in time, including stopping off to burn a copy of my official trailer to hand over...and was then told they were running so far behind, would it be possible to come back tomorrow morning?  Of course.  No worries.  I used the downtime to make more movie posters/handouts.  My other Executive Producer, aka Husband, became the Ultimate Street Team today, driving folks to screen my film, and handing out fliers and postcards.  Got my first positive review here today.  It was in French, but from what I could decipher, it was very complimentary.  (Haven't quite finished my Rosetta Stone course).

I will check in tomorrow after my Le Pitch appointment.  It is for Short Film TV, a European entity that buys and distributes short film content.