Cannes is a small but fairly rich town of south of France. It is part of the famous French Riviera located between Saint Tropez and Monaco. I am from Nice, 26 kilometers away from Cannes, so I’m not really into the Cannes madness. I’ve been there so many times and to be honest I’m a bit bored of it. However, as a filmmaker like me it’s important to play this game and show my face.
This year my British producer Steve Piper and I attended Cannes from day one through mid festival (May 11-15). We stayed with my parents in Nice eating the good food my mother cooks. My family is italian from origin, so food is very important to us.
The Cannes film festival is also a film market and one of the most important in the world. This is why I was there. With my accreditation I had access to the “Palais des Festivals” but before more about the business side, let me explain to you why I’ve been talking about the Cannes madness.
As one of the major cinema events in the world you’ll find attending major stars and industry producers. Each evening “la montée des marches” begins around 7PM with crew and actors of the selected film premiering walking and posing on the red carpet. Dozens of official photographers, TV cameras, and hundreds of hysterical celebrity hags try to get a glimpse of the actors they don’t even know most of the time. “Ah! it’s the girl who played in what’s the title again?”. Besides crew and actors there are dozens of unknown people. For example, friends, lucky dudes and gorgeous girls who got the most wanted golden ticket ever, the one that can get you onto the most famous stairs of the world. Most people don’t know that the majority of the rented tuxedo’d, push-up boobed, expensive gown wearing wannabe fans won’t see the film, but go directly to the rear entrance. They don’t give a damn about the film that is premiering, all they want is to pose and hopefully be seen on TV or in tabloids. Twenty to thirty even crazier people come every morning at 4 a.m. and lock their own ladders to palm trees in front of the Palais, just to be there every evening at 7PM trying to take pictures of famous actors…!
Around the Palais des Festival you’ll find luxurious fashion shops and expensive hotels you can’t access unless you’re wearing gucci sunglasses and a rolex, or an official badge like me. In theses hotel lobbies you can have the most expensive coffee ever and have a chat with industry people while trying to see Brad Pitt or Sharon Stone, which I did not. Instead I only saw french crap actors. All around in Cannes there are pretty big boobed girls begging for attention, with a clear “I’ll do whatever you want to be an actress/model/singer” look on their faces. There are also fake directors and producers giving them the attention they want and much more. Besides the hunt for the golden ticket of every premiere, there is the hunt for the private party ticket every night. Same shit as the premieres but the people are drunk or high and are not interesting unless you want to see a famous french TV presenter doing cocaine in the restroom.
But, let’s get back to the original story. I was in Cannes to develop contacts and finance for my thriller film Lucid. I also decided to pitch our collaborative feature film project to sales agents. I spent my days at the film market, inside the Palais des Festival and around, meeting people, showing teasers and pitching projects. The film market is fascinating for a young filmmaker like me. Industry people unfortunately seem to be more interested in marketing than in film itself. The most frequently asked question is “who’s attached” and “what’s the package”. From a financial point of view it seems as though casting is the most important thing in a film, even before the script
I heard scary conversations between buyers and producers, where buyers were ok to give hundreds/thousands of dollars to a film without reading the script just because a famous actor said “yes”. If you have no cast you must provide a B (Z) movie if you want to get a penny out of the market. A few fun titles I saw where: Too Much Pussy, The Pregnant Man, Juan of the Dead, and Pool Boy: Drowning out the Fury.
Our collaborative feature film project seemed to raise interest with the agents I met. They were from various parts of the world and very enthusiastic about it! Our project is unique and with the completion of our final steps underway we’ll hopefully come back next year for our premiere in Cannes!