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Martin Scorsese Masterclass in Cannes

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More thoughts on Cannes +


SATURDAY, MAY 23, 2009


More thoughts on Cannes

The experience in Cannes was a crash course in European travel and learning how to navigate a high profile film festival with a lot of restricted access.  I feel that in a lot of respects I got to do a lot and had access to more than most first time Cannes Festival goers. For this I am grateful. Currently I am in Rome reflecting on my experiences, the festival, and the people I have met. I will be adding to the blog as ideas, memories, and thoughts come to me. The festival was a bit of a blur. I do wish someone would have written a bit of a survival/How to Guide for newbies.  
Luckily, I am not shy and I am not afraid to go up and speak with people.  Mike is the same way.  Many of the experiences we had would not have happened if we did not take the time to go up to people and network.  This is the number one lesson that I learned. I will be putting together my Cannes Film Festival Newbie Guide together over the next couple of weeks.  
I will say that now after spending 2 days in Rome, that going to Cannes was like an international creative business convention, a meeting of international minds. Visiting Rome has made me feel like a tourist!  Fellow tourists are less open to talk to you here in Rome versus in Cannes for the festival. Of course there were a couple people who flaunted their assumed superiority because of their more "High-Profile" Hollywood success. One actress referred to people in the Carlton drinking 25 dollar drinks in the bar as "Riff Raff" lol!!!  Overall, people of different levels in the business were pretty friendly and helpful.
One cool thing is that by week two, we were able to help give advice to people about how the Palais and screenings work for instance.  As a short film corner filmmaker we receive only so many points per day with a maximum accrued number.  Some "Premium" screenings such as the premieres like "Up" would take all of our points and some like "Inglorious Bastards" we could never have enough.  If you have a feature in the festival you get more points and can reserve a seat in advance before the short film corner folks. Of course studio people and other market or press badges have their systems as well.  You must have a tux or a black suit with bow-tie for men to attend the Lumiere screenings. This is where the big premieres are shown. There are several very nice theatres with multiple screenings.
We stood in line to see two movies.  "Agora" was in the 400+ theatre Salle Soixante and "Dog Tooth" was in Debussy with over 1000 seats.  Agora was like a female Gladiator movie. It was beautifully shot and I would guess controversial for American audiences due to the religious aspects showing Christians in a very negative light. It's a good story and moves perhaps a little slowly at times but worth seeing.  It's a Spanish film production starring Rachel Weiss. Her performance was real and poignant.  "Dog Tooth" is a Greek film that is wildly perverse and provocative but good.  It received a standing ovation at our showing.  This is definitely art house and fringe. Indie audiences will love it. The film with the most buzz seemed to be "Antichrist". I don't have the stomach to see this one.
I wish I had more time to experience more films but by the time I figured out the system I was too busy networking to take time to enjoy all that the actual festival itself has to offer. Another cool point to add is that the movies are free with the badge! So if you can get in, all you need is your badge! No extra charges!
Our last day in Cannes we said goodbye to some folks who had booths in the Palais, watched a couple shorts and made a few more contacts. One is Vincenzo, a talented filmmaker from Sicily. He has a short "Being Handy" that will be in Dances with Films in LA soon. If you are in LA you should make sure that you see it.  It is brilliant and hilarious!  The second half of the day we decided to venture to Nice and Cimiez to visit the Chagall and Matisse museums. It will be interesting to compare the religious subject matter in Chagall's and Matisse's paintings to works in Roman Cathedrals. I can't wait to see the Sistine Chapel in person!
Yesterday we flew into Rome and we met a Greek Producer. She asked for a copy of Naked Sushi. I hope that will turn into a good contact as well. Once we arrived in Rome we started right away near the Vatican. We pretty much walked our way through so many places over the course of 8 hours. Highlights were the Trevi Fountain, window shopping, Pantheon, Piazza Nirvano, and the Spanish Steps. But I loved absolutely everything I have seen. We also peaked into every church possible. I started getting sick so today we took it easy. I could not communicate my symptoms properly yesterday at the pharmacies and all they recommended was to go to an emergency room for a cold!  But today I managed to get Actifed but I would pay $100 for some Dayquil right now or equivalent!  Today we walked from near the Vatican all the way to the Colosseum.  Dinner across from the Colosseum was pretty cool as well. 

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