Monday, May 29, 2006

And the award goes to ....

The winner of the Palme D'Or last night was Ken Loach for "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" - yay, a British film maker wins for the first time since Mike Leigh ten years ago. And Andrea Arnold got the Jury award, hoorah for her. Best director was Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for "Babel", and Pedro Almodovar got best screenplay for "Volver", which also won the best actress award for its ensemble of women including Penelope Cruz.

All the awards are here at the offical website:

The site has clips from all the press conferences and photocalls too, it's quite funny watching them now I'm back, and thinking "ooh, I was there for that film!"

I have to say I'm surprised that "Barley" won, not because its not a good film (it's a very good film with stand-out performances from Cillian Murphy and Padraic Delaney) but last week all the buzz was around "Babel" and "Volver".

So, Stacie wanted numbers and Viv wanted my awards, so here's my very personal summary of the festival:

Films seen: 21
Business cards gathered: 29 (a pretty feeble number, but 6 will get "let's do business" follow ups, and I'll do 9 "it was good to meet you, let's keep in touch" emails)
Receptions: 5
Parties: 2
People met: too numerous to even begin to count

Best film in competition: "Babel" (but bear in mind I didn't see them all)
Favourite film: a tie between "Paris Je T'aime" and "Ten Canoes"
Best actor: Daniel Bruhl
Best laugh out loud moment: "Over The Hedge" when the gas cylinder kicks in;
Most tears shed: over Juliette Binoche's performance in "Paris Je T'aime"

Best food: Moule frites at Chez Freddies, and spinach salad at the American pavilion

Things I learned:
- Robert Downey Jr is very funny;
- Keanu Reeves is very tall and very funny;
- it is possible to see three films a day for several consecutive days, and yet remain sane (you may disagree with the sane bit);
- comfortable shoes are the most important thing you can pack;
- always take more business cards out with you than you think you will need;
- you will never understand the ticketing system, so just give up and accept that some parts of the universe are random;
- take whatever tickets you get offered - it might be a dud, it might be the best film you've ever seen, but one way or another it will be a good experience;
- people in Cannes want to talk, that's why they're there - so say "hi" to everyone you meet even if all they did was ask you if they might share your table at lunch;
- almost everyone walks into their pavilion on their first day to find it heaving with people deep in conversation, and thinks "what am I doing here? I'm the only one who knows no-one";
- the faster you learn that in fact most people feel the same, and most people want to get into conversations, the faster you'll start to enjoy yourself;
- say "yes" more than you normally would;
- eat when you get the chance.

High spots:
- sitting on the beach by the UK pavilion at happy hour, having a beer with people who are all film nuts;
- walking up the red carpet for the first time ever;
- hearing those magic words "I'd love to read your script";
- listening to Richard Linklater talk about writing and making films;
- watching almost as many films as I could ever want in a day.

- being too tired to appreciate "Scanner" after looking forward to it for so long;
- burning my shoulder on Saturday, despite sun cream;
- not seeing more films - wish I'd seen "Volver", "Jindabyne", "The Page Turner", and a few British romcoms that were in the market;
- no-one fell in love with me - the only one of my pre-Cannes targets I didn't achieve;
- I have to wait almost a year before I can do it again.

And now all I have to do is go through Darren's emails and finalise the forms for our funding application for "Echoes" so we can hit the Wednesday deadline. At least I know a bit more about being a producer now. And I met a short film distributor in Cannes who told me to get back in touch when we'd made the film - forgot to mention that bit earlier. Now all we need is the money. And I need to unpack. And cut the grass, which is so high I could hide standing up.

Cannes photos will follow shortly.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Eagle Has Landed

I'm now home safe, if not terribly sound - more tired than I can remember being in years, I think the last twelve days are beginning to catch up with me.

Yesterday ended up being a mixed day - floating around seeing people to say bye, doing a bit of shopping for pressies and souvenirs. I'll send the postcards tomorrow! I walked about a mile looking for the Post Office, then discovered a mile later that if I'd turned left out of the Palais instead of right, I would've only had to walk 100 yards. And besides it was closed. In the evening, I met up with Sue, and we went to Chez Freddie's for moule et frites which was yum, then we wandered past the Palais for one last glimpse of the red carpet glitter and glitz before heading for "Cinema de la Plage" (Anna please correct my grammar if necessary) i.e. massive screen set up on the beach where you just sit on the sand or stand on the prom to watch whatever film is on. Last night it was "Free Jimmy", a very strange animated film about a drugged elephant being chased by various gangs of oddballs before being rescued by a moose. Perhaps if you'd imbibed enough drink or drugs first, it would've been better. As it was, we agreed that it was just downright odd. Then we ambled home, had big hugs and made promises to meet up soon. Sue's great, we have a lot of common territory in our lives, and after all, if it wasn't for her help last year, I would never have been in Cannes in the first place. I owe her more than the cocktail I keep promising her.

I took photos yesterday, so I'll have a look at them and maybe upload some tomorrow. I'm going to check out the news pages now to see who won what, as it was the awards ceremony earlier tonight.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Journey's End

We're out of soap and there's only one bog roll left - it must be time to come home.

It's so quiet here now compared to the mayhem of earlier in the week. It's 9:25, and I'm the only one on the computers, and there's hardly anyone having breakfast (I'm in the Euro pavilion - coffee, croissant and juice, free). The market in the Riviera building is like a ghost town - the shells of film company stands lie empty but for cardboard boxes and the odd abandoned wine glass or torn poster. The UK pavilion closes at noon today, and most Brits I know have gone home. Jenny goes this evening, so I think I'll have dinner with Sue - she flies home tomorrow, same as me. I'm hoping to catch Steven today to have a coffee with him before he goes back to LA tomorrow.

Yesterday was a day of contrasts. In the morning I saw "United 93", Paul Greengrass' film about the flight that crashed into a field on September 11th when the passengers tried to fight back against the terrorists. It's a brilliantly made film, showing here in the Out of Competition strand. The pace is quite slow to begin with, but the tension builds inexorably, partly because you supply your own tension knowing the outcome of the day. I came out shaking, it has such a powerful emotional impact.

In the evening I had what I assume will be my final red carpet experience of this trip. I got a ticket to see "Quand J'etais Chanteur", French entry in Competition, a film about a singer played by Gerard Depardieu. I went with a group of friends of a friend of Jenny's, and it was fun to walk in with a big group, all dressed up. I wore the black dress with the jet effect beads, which looked pretty glam. (However it will be last experience of trying the strapless bra - by the end of the evening it had descended far enough to make the wiring feel like I'd gained extra ribs - most bizarre. Give me decent scaffolding any day). The atmosphere outside the cinema was fantastic, masses of crowds, and really good buzz.

Once we were inside, we got to watch the rest of the arrivals on the big screen, and the reception when Gerard D got out of the car to walk the tapis rouge was enormous - he's the local superstar, that's for sure. The film itself was a sweet romance, very French, lots of great songs, really enjoyable and a nice fun film to end on. It's a hugely different film from everything else I've seen in competition. It got a huge standing ovation at the end, but I think that was for the presence of the stars as much as for the film itself.

Afterwards I met up with Jenny, who had been working hard all day, and we went to the Century Club for one last glass of wine sitting on the sunbeds and listening to the sea. Lovely.

Today is shopping, and trying to find people to say goodbye before we all go our separate ways. I must count up the number of business cards I've collected, and number of films I've seen (didn't crack 30, Viv, but I think I got up to 20, didn't I? And yes, I'll definitely go to Scanner with you in August - I have to wait THAT long? Arg!) Mum's right, I'm ready for home - Jenny had some Very Irresistable yesterday and I smelt it and missed Anna terribly. And I'm afraid I haven't sent any postcards - I've bought them - just not got round to writing them. Maybe I could do that this afternoon on the beach!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Happy Days

Not a great photo - but this shows why I prefer Un Certain Regard to Competition screenings! (despite having to queue for nearly an hour and a half to get in). It's a bit naughty because you're not supposed to have cameras in the screenings, but loads of people do (so don't post the picture anywhere else please!)

The buzz for "A Scanner Darkly" was building all day, and by the time we walked past the cinema at 8 on the way to dinner, a few people were already in line (for a 10:45pm screening). We joined the queue at 9:15. Once we got in, the vibe was really good, meanwhile outside apparently it was mayhem with people jamming the place trying to get in or get a good spot for pictures. The traffic was so bad that it kicked off ten minutes late, with Robert Downey Jr coming on stage with Richard Linklater and Keanu, and announcing "could the owner of the black Peugot please move your car?" Then he talked for a while, called Richard a genius and said Keanu is "a national treasure". Then Richard made a little speech in French, got the giggles at something Keanu said, and replied "but I've been practising that all afternoon."

Then they took their seats, and the film began.

I'm going to have to see it again - one thing was that I was so tired I think a lot of it went by me. The animation is amazing, wierdly lifelike, the technique has developed hugely since "Waking Life". It looks brilliant. The story meanders a bit, and it's fairly spaced out at times, but it kind of draws you into the strange world they inhabit. I can't say it's my favourite film of the festival, but if I'm honest, I wasn't in top form for seeing a film - not after the giddy afternoon we'd had, and given my zonked out state. But anyway, I got my Keanu moment, and I'm happy.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Onwards and Upwards

There's a very different vibe here now. People have left, and everywhere has gone quiet. I walked into the UK pavilion and got on a machine straight away, for the first time ever. Wasn't much use because the computers in there are so sloooowwwwwww - hamster powered computers. But so many people have gone, or are leaving today.

And there's this kind of "end of the week" chilled feel to the place where if people are still around, it's easier to get conversations. And this afternoon, we had a meeting (about my "other" script, i.e. not MWG) with someone who loved my pitch, loved what we were saying, wants to see the script once it's ready, is from a big financing company ... I came out feeling stunned, then got the giggles. How big is this deal? Well, let's just say we're thinking of buying champagne tonight.

I think I'm getting my second wind now. Apparently, yesterday was flip-out day - I'm not the only one who had a foot-stamping moment last night. Steven, one of the producers from the American company interested in MWG, also apparently had his "I need food NOW" moment last night. I feel like I've been here for ever, and it's exhausting and relentless, but good in a wierd way. All the people I've been hanging out with are all walking round looking slightly spaced out. It's strange, but good - Cannes is a different planet.

And hopefully here is the first photo I took (last night).

It's the sign above the road leading into the festival.


It was inevitable after things being so good for so long that there would be some slippage. Last night was it. I got so tired and so hungry I gave up on going out to dinner with some people Jenny knows, and went home to crash out. I was on my bed by 10pm, eating tomato and mozzarella salad I'd bought earlier, and having a glass of the local rose (can't find the accent on this 'puter), and was so soundly asleep by 11 that I have no idea what time Jenny came back. I still feel a bit sluggish - I think I'm going to have jet lag when I get back.

Before that, the day had been kind of OK, if a little directionless. While blogging, I saw Elana, the American woman interested in MWG, and she bought me lunch (yay!), then I lined up in the sun for ages to see "Suburban Mayhem", an Australian film in Un Certain Regard. It was interesting, but I can't see it doing well. It was about a girl who is essentially a total psycho, and manipulates everyone around her. She's horribly fascinating but you don't really feel sympathy for her, just curiosity about how she's getting away with everything.

Then went to the UK pavilion and met up with Roland, who I know from Edinburgh, and his partner Zoe. Not really talked to her before, but we went over to the Euro pavilion together for a Spanish reception (really nice sherry but too late for the canapes) and it turns out she also is mad keen to see "Scanner", so we've agreed to meet up tonight to queue together. She also hasn't done the red carpet yet, partly because Roland hasn't got a posh suit and she didn't want to go alone, so we've agreed to try to get tickets to tomorrow night's gala screening (a French film) and go together.

Then went up to the Grand, and found a big group of people Jenny knows - got talking to Joe, a writer, and agreed to meet him this morning to try to get into the "morning after" screening of "Marie Antoinette" - start queueing at 7:30am for an 8:30 screening. We got in, but the system is chaotic - it's luck and patience that gets you into films here. The film has been boo'd here, and reviewed very badly - I don't think it's so bad but it's too long, and a bit too odd. One of the problems is having a protagonist who does nothing, everything happens to her, or at a distance from her. The sets and cinematography are luscious, but overall I was left unmoved. And Joe also wants to come to "Scanner"! We're turning into quite a little gathering.

It was really nice to have company for a film, I've been going on my own for the last week, so I'm looking forward to being a little group tonight. I hope we all get in.

And in other news, I just heard from Jenny that we have a meeting this afternoon with the money bloke we met at the party the other night.

One of the things about Cannes is that you're supposed to be able to bump into stars left right and centre - everyone but me seemed to see Faye Dunaway and Bruce Willis last week! I haven't really seen anyone, certainly not casually. The famous faces arrive for their films, then get whisked off to parties - either that or they're all hiding from me.

Time to crash out again with some coffee and croissants, I think.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

LA Story

One of the things people do here is get frantic about getting meetings, and spend their time rushing from one to another, and not seeing films. I have an advantage in that I came out here to have a good time, meet people if possible, see films, have conversations. The thing with taking meeting after meeting is that all you ever get told is "send me the script" - and so far, yesterday and just now, I've managed to have two conversations that ended with "send me the script" - and all without getting frantic! Yesterday I met up with some Americans I'd bumped into over lunch last week, and we'd set aside a time to have a proper conversation, which was yesterday afternoon. They have a company based in LA, and want to read "Modern Woman's Guide". This morning I've had a great conversation with a British producer based in LA, and he wants to see "MWG" too. So, I've more than achieved what I wanted to achieve out of this trip.

Anyway, back to films, and yesterday. Saw "A Guide to Recognising Your Saints", a hard hitting autobiographical film starring Robert Downey Jr. It's good, but could be tighter - there are some odd choices in terms of camerawork and sudden voice-overs from characters who haven't spoken yet, which is a bit confusing. But it's a good story, and will find an audience, I'm sure. Went straight from that to the Scottish Screen party on the beach, which was good - more wine and canapes, including crudities - yay!! Vitamins! Get them while they're sitting there waiting to be eaten! Irvine Welch was at the party, he's about to direct his first feature apparently. I had a good chat with the bloke who was the lead man in "Red Road", everyone from that film seems to be in great demand and having a fine time here, which is ace - a British film with a female director doing well is a good thing.

Then went to queue to get into "Salvador", Spanish entry in Un Certain Regard. The deal with Certain Regard is that you don't get tickets in advance, you just line up behind the sign that matches your accreditation badge, and hope. Luckily for me, my queue is the one that has second priority, so I queued for about 40 minutes and got in. And because it's not officially red carpet, despite the films being premieres, you don't dress up. But the cinema is smaller, you get a better view, and if you sit in the right place, you might get the star of the film sitting behind you. So last night I had the odd experience of watching Daniel Bruehl on screen, knowing he was right behind me. He's very cute in real life! And a great actor. The film itself was pretty harrowing, a powerful, old-fashioned political film about anti-fascists in Spain towards the end of the Franco regime. Not an easy film to watch, very moving and hard hitting.

Not sure what I'm doing with the rest of today - no chance of getting tickets for "Marie Antoinette", Sophia Coppola's film, but it will probably get a theatrical release at home anyway. So, I might just chat and chill, and maybe catch a couple of films. And perhaps begin the search for Babybel. I think I'm going to need sun cream, it's a hot one and the wind's dropped.

I also keep coming back to the things Richard Linklater was talking about the other day - he made so much sense when he was talking about the writing process, I just want to get going with following the advice he gave. I think I have a new hero.

And guess what, Gena? He wears Crocs!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Early start again this morning - just been to see "Babel", Mexican (I think) entry in competition, 8:30am screening. There's something about going to the cinema at 8:30 that totally messes my head up - I don't know what time it is for the rest of the day. Anyway, the film is fab - stars Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Gael Garcia Bernal, in a story that has three intertwining threads as events in one story impact on the others. Filmed in Mexico, Morocco and Japan, it's complex, engrossing, and well worth another look. It's probably my favourite of the films in competition, although I didn't get to see "Volver" (Almoldovar's film with Penelope Cruz) which is getting great buzz as a possible winner.

Today might be a three or four film day - yesterday I really slacked off and only saw two. In the afternoon I went to "Starter for Ten", a British film which is an adaptation of a novel that came out a couple of years ago. James McAvoy stars as a student who is obsessed with University Challenge. It's a good solid British film, quite funny and charming. Oh, note for you, Hacky - Ben Willbond is in it!

I was busy elsewhere - a lunchtime reception which was good, some excellent canapes, some even with vitamins. Then another reception at 6, some of the same faces, who began to leave earlier because the wine ran out at 10 to 7! Then we went to the Whisky Galore party, my first proper Cannes party, at the villa that used to be rented by Soho House. The party was amazing - gorgeous food including smoked salmon and seafood flown down from the Hebrides, and a ceilidh band flown in from Orkney. It was great fun, and also possibly good business - we got talking to someone who we need to ring to arrange a meeting to talk money. Then we went to the Century Club but I left around 1 because I had the 8:30 screening to get to.

Anyway, I should go as there's a queue here, I'm in the American pavilion about to get lunch. It's clouded over here today but it's still warm. I think I'm just going to have a films and eating day, with an early night. And I suppose I should start to think about souvenirs and stuff. I haven't had time to do any shopping!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Fast Food Nation

Is it possible to live on canapes? The results of this crucial piece of research will be published later this week. Last night's party on the yacht was definitely an excellent adventure - almost exclusively British film people, drinking and munching while trying to work out how to stay upright on a moving vessel. It's so windy here that all the boats are swaying all the time. I came out of the party with a party invitation for tonight, cards from three people who want to read the film script, a meeting on Wednesday morning, and a card from a woman who wants stage plays by female writers. I think we can count that event a success.

This morning, went to see "El Caiman", Italian entry in competition and so far the only film I've walked out of. It just wasn't engaging enough, and having lots of shouty Italians at 8:30am is just too much. Besides, I had to get into the American pavilion for a talk at 10:30 by Richard Linklater, director of both "Fast Food Nation", and "A Scanner Darkly" which shows here on Thursday in Un Certain Regard and is the film I want to see more than any other this week. It was a great session, he gave loads of insights into making both films, how they got off the ground (Scanner got going because Keanu was involved - according to Richard Linklater, Keanu has two gears, on and off, and when he's on, he's ON - "he eats, sleeps, consumes the work, calls in the middle of the night because he's just translated the German bits of Philip K Dick's work"); the problems with making both films, an insight into his career (he might get sued in his home state of Texas for criticising the food industry - how bizarre is that?). A really fascinating session.

And now I've just been at a lunch party at the Kodak Pavilion, wine and canapes, really nice canapes actually, so thanks for all your concerns but today I am eating food, and yesterday I had a salad AND pasta. Stacie, you're right, coffee is the main fuel here! But I think I'm going to head off to snooze in a cinema - its really hot here today and I don't want to to the English thing of going out in the sun because we never know when we'll see it again - plenty of rather pink brits are in evidence here today and I don't want to add to their number.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

This is how busy Cannes has been this weekend - yesterday, I saw men queueing for the loo. Never seen that before. Ha!! Now they know how we feel.

Anyway, to pick up where we left off - reception for Women in Film and TV at the Kodak Pavilion last night which was fun, lots of new business cards gathered and people to cross paths with. Then home to change for the gala screening f "Red Road', UK entry in competition, directed by Andrea Arnold. I wore the short green dress (long one hasn't come out yet) and did the red carpet on my own. Much easier a second time! It's good fun, everyone is smiling and happy and seemed excited to be there. It's such a good vibe. The film itself is powerful stuff, British gritty style, great acting by a small cast of a pretty intense story. Well worth seeing, if it gets a cinema release in the UK. It got a great round of applause at the end. Andrea Arnold is up for the Camera D'Or as well as a Palme D'Or (not bad for a first feature) and I hope she does brilliantly well.

Then home to sleep, but not before I realised I hadn't got round to eating yesterday. So I had a peach. If rule 1 for Cannes is "always wear comfy shoes" then rule 2 is "if you get the opportunity to sit down and eat, then do it, because who knows when the next chance will be".

Up bright and early this morning to see "Akeelah and the Bee", an uplifting story where Morpheus teaches a little girl to become the One, oops, I'm getting muddled, Laurence Fishburne coaches a little girl in that peculiar American institution, the spelling bee. It's good, if a little formulaic. Worth seeing though. Then a race to pick up a ticket and get in to see "Over the Hedge" a Dreamworks picture which was fab - really funny, thoroughly enjoyable family film about a bunch of animals who have to get food from the people who have taken over their forest to turn it into suburbia. Well worth seeing.

And I've just been on my first yacht, which was fun, talking HD cameras with a Sony rep from Derbyshire Yay!! We get everywhere! And I have the coolest party invite to their cocktail party tonight. Tra la! One of my aims acheived - to party on a yacht. So now I have to go home and get changed in order to meet Jenny at the Majestic to go to a different party first.

Phew. it could be exhausting, this life.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

And the rest of today's headlines are...

It's now 5:30pm and I'm in the Euro pavilion, having just seen "Selon Charlie", French entry in competition - it was very French, beautifully filmed and acted but ultimately somewhat confusing. A bunch of men whose lives were supposed to intertwine, but I didn't exactly manage to work out how, entirely. It got a muted round of applause at the end. Earlier this morning, I saw "Paris Je T'aime", which is Un certain regard - and it's my favourite film to date. Absolutely loved it - short films by around 18 directors (including Gurindha Chadha, Gus Van Sant, the Coen brothers amongst others) with fantastic casts, each short filmed in a particular Arrondissement but adding up to a love letter to and from Paris. Absolutely fantastic. Easily the best film I've seen this year.

Later tonight I'm going to a reception at the Kodak pavilion, then home to change for the gala screening of "Red Road", the UK entry in competition, directed by Andrea Arnold.

And I still need to report on yesterday - saw three fims, including "As You Like It", diretced by kenneth Branagh - pretty much what you'd expect for a Shakespeare from Mr Branagh, including many of the usual suspects in his cast - Brian Blessed, Richard Clifford, Adrian Lester, Gerard Horan. Very enjoyable if you like that kind of thing. Ron Howard (director of Da Vinci Code) was in the audience because his daughter is in the cast. Earlier, saw "Ten Canoes", Australian entry in Un Certain Regard, which was fantastic - a traditional story and the first film with an entirely aboriginal cast. Beautifully filmed, totally mesmerising. It was my no. 1 until this morning. Then last night, I met up with Lyn because we both managed to get tickets for the gala screening of "Fast Food Nation", directed by Richard Linklater, American entry in competition. I wore one of the slinky red dresses, and some scary underwear, and shoes that started off feeling great but had made my feet suffer by the end of the evening. The red carpet bit was fun - spotlights, crowds, flashbulbs ... it's just crazy, but in a good way. Climbing the steps flanked by smiling french policemen, everyone in a really upbeat mood - it was great. Then we go in and take our seats, and the rest of the red carpet thing is played on the big screen, so you can watch everyone else coming in - stars and guests. And the film - well, I won't be eating burgers ever again. Not that I eat them anyway, but now, definitely not. It was good, if a little strung out, too many threads that disappeared and then came back again. If you liked "Supersize Me", you'll like this.

So, I think I'm up to date now. I'm really hungry, and I should check my emails and eat before I go to score free alcohol, then go back to the flat to get changed for tonight's fun and games.

Party on!

It's Saturday lunchtime, and I've managed to get online at the American Pavilion, (more computers and a quicker turnover than elsewhere!) but I'm time limited so typing fast.

On Thursday, people were saying Cannes is very quiet this year. That started to change yesterday, and has definitely changed today - it's jammed! It's hot and sunny, busy and crazy.

So, back to Thursday if I can remember that far back. We got in to see "Summer Palace", the Chinese film in competition, and therefore got to walk up the red carpet. However as it was an 11am showing, we didn't have to dress up and there were no photographers. Still, it was fun. Film wasn't though - that's two hours of my life I'll never get back. Overindulgent, dull, just one big disappointment. Then at 3 we saw "The Wind That Shakes The Barley", Ken Loach's entry in the competiton - this was more like it - a good story, well acted and beautifully filmed. Slowed a bit near the end, but powerful stuff. In the evening we met up with some people Jenny knows from Berlin and Rotterdam, and hovered between the UK and Euro pavilions (free beer in one, free wine in the other during happy hour). And somehow much later on we ended up at the Century club which is v exclusive. Sir Ian McKellan was strutting his stuff on the dance floor, and Jenny told Damien Lewis I wanted to dance with him, so we had a dance - think "Jeffrey Archer - The Truth" and you're somewhere near.

Got to bed at 3am - I think.

I'm going to log off and come back later - I just managed to book a ticket for Andrea Arnold's "Red Road", the British entry in competition, so I need to go and collect it. Reports on the three films I saw yesterday, and the one I saw this morning, along with my first Red Carpet experience, will follow.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dazed and Confused

So, I made it to Cannes in one piece, and survived the first day. And now it's the second morning, and I seem to have successfully booked tickets to see some films today.

The flat we're in is tiny, very handy for the centre of Cannes and for the market. On the one hand, this is fab, because we can cross the road to get fantastic fruit, cheese, seafood, everything we need. On the other hand, since deliveries to the market begin by 5am, it means I haven't had more than 5 hours sleep a night for 4 nights now.

Yesterday involved lots of queuing - to get accreditation, to get my bag of paperwork, to get a lanyard for the European pavilion (benefit: free coffee all day), to get my American pavilion pass, to wait for a computer at the web cafe, to collect the ticket I managed to book to see "Summer Palace" at 11am today. I have just about mastered the ticketing system, I think, although I still don't really know how it works - no queuing these, days, its all done online, with an allocation of tickets to different groups depending on your accreditation. So some groups get their tickets at different times to others. Jenny and Beth got their tickets for "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" yesterday - my allocation didn't come up until this morning. But at least I have a ticket waiting for me now. I'm hoping to see "Paris Je T'aime" tonight, which is the opening film in Un Certain Regard - now, getting into that strand is a whole different system!

Jenny got into the Da Vinci Code premiere last night; don't know what it was like because I was half asleep when she got back. I didn't hang around by the red steps because its crazy - people with tickets all dressed up; people without tickets also all dressed up and hopefully holding slips of paper asking for spare tickets. Photographers by the hundred, so it seemed, with step ladders, boxes to stand on. And that was two hours before it began. So, no dressing up done yet, no stars spotted.

I have a feeling I'm going to need a LOT of coffee to get me through the day today.

Monday, May 15, 2006

List Ticking, part 2

The mistake was mentioning mowing the grass. Ever since I said that, the rain has been coming down in all the various ways rain can descend. Non-Brits wonder why British people are pre-occupied by the weather - I think it's because we can never be sure what it will do to us. Last week I was wandering round in T shirts, thinking about getting my shorts out. Today, I drove home with the headlights on at 2:30 pm because it was so rainy and misty. It can be cracking the flags outside, but a Derbyshire girl will always go out with a jumper to hand, just in case. It must be nice to live in a climate where you can say without fear "let's have a barbecue a week on Saturday". Here, we'd be daring to say "let's have a barbecue tomorrow."

Enough about the weather. Everything has been ticked off the original list, apart from mowing the grass. Oh, and apart from packing. But my train doesn't go til 11:39 tomorrow, why would I have packed already? In fact, I pretty much know what I'm going to pack. And the ironing is nearly done. If it wasn't for the fact that while checking my emails and watching a DVD, my landline rang, and shortly after that so did my mobile (don't you just love modern technology?), I might've got round to turning the iron on again.

One hazard of rain (see, I told you Brits were preoccupied by weather) is that it means water gets on your skin. And if you've had a fake tan at lunchtime, the last thing you want is rivulets down your arms during the afternoon, or splooshes up your trouser leg as you step on a wonky paving stone. Being gently sanded while wearing the paper version of gym knickers is a curious experience, but getting a tan without the risk of turning red and blotchy first is well worth it.

OK, so I have the tan (thanks Timar), the eyebrows (thanks Katie) and the haircut (thanks Jo), all I need to make these posh dresses look OK is the underwear. And believe me, underwear is way more complex than you could imagine. I am now the proud owner of what appears to be a combination of scaffolding and Medieval torture instrument, which, thanks to the ministrations of an enthusiastic Spanish bra fitting lady, is the best fitting underwear I ever had. Talk about lifting them up and holding them in place! OK, this is probably more information than some people might want to know, but if you were thinking about wearing the dresses I'm thinking about wearing, then the question of how to deal with one's boobage would be uppermost in your mind.

And on that note, I think I should either finish the ironing or go to bed.

Oh, before I forget - check out my bro-in law Duncan's ace blog:

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ticking lists

I have Euros and a map of Cannes, so at least I know where the flat is now. And I know where my passport is. In fact, I can see it right at this moment.

Talked to Jenny-my-producer this afternoon, and I now know what I'm supposed to be doing in Cannes - sort of. She has meetings lined up for us, and also has a pass to the Kodak Pavilion for me (this is one of the top places to have a pass for, apparently), as well as some party invitations. And I joined the American Pavilion, which is a good place to hang out, I'm told. They do free ice cream in the afternoon; the UK Pavilion does free sorbet, and free beer at 6pm, but more importantly, cheap coffee in the mornings. The question is, can I exist on a diet of beer and ice cream? I think I'll buy some more vitamin pills.

We agreed that I'm going to produce "Echoes", my short, and she's going to be Executive Producer - i.e. I have someone to turn to and go "???" when I haven't got a clue what I'm doing. Which will be most of the time. But we already have the beginnings of a crew, so all we need now is the money. Anyone fancy becoming an investor in our tiny segment of the UK film industry?

Cannes -96 hours

Hair cut - check
Eyebrow job - check
Several posh frocks - check

I'm almost ready to go. All I have to do between now and my flight to Nice on Tuesday is get some Euros, get a new E1-11 (since apparently the system has changed), find my flight booking details (I "filed" them up in the office somewhere), find out where I'm staying for the duration, get a train ticket, get my ultra-smart "should've cost £450 but I got them for £25" black trousers turned up, buy some new Converse, mow the grass, drop my CRB form off at the agency, find my passport, and write a few more lists.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

And if anyone is even thinking of asking whether I've started packing yet .... don't. Just don't. You should know me better than that by now.

I've just done the sums for the title of this post and all of a sudden I feel kind of sick and nervous. I'll be approaching Cannes in 96 hours. Yikes. How come it got that close that fast?