Sunday, June 03, 2007

Cannes - Day 1.


I leave the plane and whilst waiting for baggage reclaim I find my first victim - a blonde woman with a very tall blonde friend (who was in airport security just ahead of me) Whilst I'm waiting for my bag I hear her talking, an American accent means she speaks English, or at least some approximation of it.

"Hey, you here for the film festival?"
"Yeah" she replies.
"Cool, well, you look like you're going to some cool VIP parties, if I see you on the streets I'm gonna grab you and follow you in."
"Yeah" she laughs.


I exit the security, a barrage of press awaits - one cameraman spots me, I can see his brain ticking, am I celeb worth filming? Gucci Shades, blonde hair...
He pauses, raises his camera, and then, must have spotted by beat up Nike Air Max. He lowers his camera and ignores me.


I am smoking my first cigarettes, I have started to chatting to some English dude, a director, he's been here before and speaks French - fabulous - he gets me tickets for the bus to Cannes and does all my translating and everything.


Whilst waiting this rabble of cameras and people starts heading towards me being lured by Billy Zane and a fabulous looking Kelly Brook stroll out of the airport they. They walk past me, one of the papperazzi walks backwards and trips on my bag. I get an urge to cuss him, but he's way too focuses on Kelly Brook's small head. She's tiny - and flawless.


On the bus to Cannes I talk to that English director, he's been here five times, he gives me some pointers. I talk about my projects, he talks about his. We exchange cards, and organise a little meet-up. He then tells me that Frank Miller and Victoria Silvestri (or whatever her name) was on the same British Airways flight as us.

"You mean that really tall, skinny blonde?"
"Yeah. With the jeans"
"And the big sunglasses?"

Realisation hits me.

"You mean the girl I was standing next to, who's friend I said I would follow into a club?"
"Oh shit."
"She's picked up a stalker."

le sigh.

15:30 I get to the apartment. I unpack my stuff, change my clothes and leave - heading to the festival itself.


What else can I say? This place is totally insane - and I mean totally bloody insane, on a level you could never imagine.

I stroll around the 'market' and see hundreds of films being marketted, this is the nuts and bolts of the festival - the part which nobody really hears about. My mission here is simple: to learn about sales/distribution for the two feature films I have in the pipeline.

Like that fear I used to have of talking to a beautiful women I walk around unwilling to approach anybody - too scared to walk up to the men and women in suits all shouting into mobile phones or keying into blackberries - I don't really know how to start this conversation I need to be having. Basically, all the important people have all their meetings pre-arranged and to find time with them is very difficult.

At the stand for company "x" a blonde american woman catches my eye.
"Hey, you seem like friendly face, can I pick your brains for two minutes?"
I explain my situation, that I'm new there and about my projects and I want to learn. She tells me that she wants to help, but not just give me made up answers - so she walks into the office and brings out her colleague. A very stunning looking Arabic looking lady appears, also a New-Yorker. We break the ice about talking about how honest and straight to the point New Yorkers are compared to people from LA.

As a British first-time writer director I am a waste of time when IN Britain. The film industry just does not exist for people like me - I'm not gonna bother explain why. but just trust me, it doesn't. Out here she listens to what I have to say, she is friendly, she says she LIKES my attitude, and that even though I am newbie, she says her job is to find new directors and forge new relationships.
(there is another reason for this but I won't bother explain it here) Those New Yorkers LOVE the whole British thing. I turn on the charm just a little. We talk about what I'd need to get pre-sales. She gives me her card, I pledge to email her when I return to London. This is my best hope for the festival. To meet and greet Sales Agents and Film Financiers. To get contact details and to start communications.

After my first contact the next one is easy, another woman catches my eye,
"Hey, how you doing, where you from?" I ask.
"Oh, you know what I mean, where your parents from?"
"My mum is from Iran, my dad from...."
I grin to myself. I've got her, "(Kho-bee" I greet her in Farsi."

I tell her that persian woman are trouble, and then I ask to sit down at her table.
I have made a friend here, she says I should come back and say hello any time I want.


It's late and market is closing for the day so I leave. Tomorrow I won't be arrive at 5 in the afternoon. I'll get there at 11am and have a full day of this. I'm glad I made this effort on the first day.