Sunday, May 27, 2007

Wanna see my picture of George?

I'm home in the (relatively) freezing north, being rained on (well, not right now at this precise moment because that would mean my roof had a hole in it) and kind of semi-wishing I was still in France. Or at least somewhere warm - California would be quite nice right now.

So, to round off this year's Cannes - the SFC party on Friday was nice, very mellow for me as I just sat at the end of the Majestic Beach pier drinking champagne and dangling my feet over the sea, until I bumped into one of my other flatmates, Rachel, and a lovely Scottish couple from the Scottish Screen party, had a chat then headed home. Saturday was just a souvenir/shopping/goodbye kind of day - the Marche closed at lunchtime and just about the only pavilion still functioning was the American pavilion. Zhara and I promised to swap pictures - a Colin and a Rupert for a Brangelina

though I think actually my picture of George Clooney was my (almost) favourite of the week:

He's in there somewhere, I promise.

I came out of the International Village around 6:45 on Thursday, the premiere of Ocean's 13 was due to start at 7:30 and this is what the place looked like - people hanging out of trees, off balconies, up step-ladders, hoping for a glimpse of glamour and glitz

The crazy thing is, the vast majority of people have absolutely no chance of seeing the real stars in real life - what they're going to see is the replay on a big screen of the stars walking up the red carpet, described by a French commentator as they do it. I just liked the idea of taking pictures of people taking pictures of a picture of a famous person. Bizarre. But then, as Steven said, if fans didn't turn out to see the stars and the films that they star in, we'd be out of business.

Anyway, on the whole, a good Cannes. Very different to last year - I think you either go for the festival, or for the market. I would've liked to see more films, but on the other hand, I worked pretty hard at getting meetings and making contacts, so it was a different approach and one that paid off, I think. I only saw 3 features last week but I saw about 30 shorts, and hopefully the features I missed will be available eventually either on the big screen or on DVD.

It seems to have flown by all too quickly, although while I was out there it felt like I'd been there for ever. Roll on next year - when I'll remember my toothbrush, anti-bug spray, de-bug cream, and painkillers.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Almost over for another year

Yesterday turned into a short film day - watched lots in the Short Film Corner, then went to the Reel Studio student documentary awards in the American Pavilion, which was great. Lots of student crews have made short documentaries while they've been here, so they were all screened then awards given out. As the woman who ran the ceremony said, I'm sure in years to come I'll be able to say "I remember them when ..."

And now - I'm off duty! My final meeting was this morning - went well, something might come of it. I've got an awful lot of emailing and follow-ups to do next week. Then watched a few shorts, including Douglas McFarlane's Hollywood documentary short, which at some point will become a feature with me in it. Then had a rather lovely two hour lunch with a rather lovely person. And that's all I'm saying.

SFC party tonight at the Majestic Beach should be fun. Who knows what I'll do tomorrow - would love to swim but daren't risk going in the water with this bug-bite/blister.

Just got a message - time to go and get changed for a publicity photo.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Respect the trees

Am typing this up back at the flat, because I’m having a slow start today. The flat, though very handy for the centre of Cannes and the market place, is also very noisy, and I was woken at 3:50 by a French couple having a very loud argument outside, then, as usual at 6am by the street cleaners. It seems to be a trade off – if you want peace and quiet you have to stay an inconveniently long way out; if you want convenience you also have to have disturbance. Anyway, my first meeting is at 12, so I’m in no hurry, although I would like to book a slot in the Short Film Corner today.

So, the last couple of days have been a mixed bag. Two days ago I discovered that my poster for “Echoes” had been taken down – on enquiry, I was told it must have touched one of the trees painted on the walls and “you must respect the trees”. Pity they didn’t tell anyone to respect the trees before ripping posters down and throwing away £14-worth of high quality artwork. Also a pity that they don’t apply that rule thoroughly to everyone who disrespects a painted tree. Then went to the Screen Yorkshire shorts screening and was turned away because they said it was full. Saw Rob later and he said “why weren’t you in my screening?” and apparently it wasn’t full at all. Happily the day improved when I got to the Scottish Screen reception on the beach – being greeted with a glass of champagne with a raspberry in it was pretty cool, lots of yummy canapés and wine followed, and there were lots of people there that I knew – excellent party.

Yesterday woke up to discover that I’d been bitten on my leg – showed the bite to the pharmacist across the road - “ooh la la!” she said, pulled a horrified face and gave me a tube of some powerful gunk to put on it. Good thing is, I now know the international hand signal for mosquito. Bad thing is, my leg now looks disgusting (as bad as the Venice bite of two years ago) just as I was finally beginning to get a bit of a tan.

However, once again the day was improved by champagne, this time at a lunchtime reception at the French Pavilion for a Producer’s Guild of America Filmlab showcase that Steven invited me to – met some new people, and some that I first met last year, and saw some interesting clips and trailers. Then went to see “Six Shooter”, Martin McDonagh’s Oscar-winning short, at the UK Pavilion with Vanessa – very funny and also quite gory – very Martin McDonagh. This was followed by a Q+A about making the leap into producing a feature, which was interesting – almost all the talk was about finance, how hard it is to get it, and how complicated to manage it. Then some confusion about whether I was supposed to be at a BAFTA LA thing at the Grand, or at the Bar Cristal to say goodbye to Alison, the first of my flatmates to flee Cannes – went to the Grand, saw Phil who I first met last year, then ran to the bus top to see Alison off, so actually achieved both tasks. Then me and my sore leg spent the rest of the evening in a packed American Pavilion watching football with Zhara from Gateshead, and Malcolm McDowell, who has possibly the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen.

And now I should shower, and maybe have more coffee, and then make a crucial decision – long trousers, or skirt today?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bit more catching up

Having a bit of a quieter day today - no formal meetings, just a catch-up with a couple of people later, and the Screen Yorkshire short film screening this afternoon, and a "swing by and watch our movie" type meeting after that, and then the Scottish Screen reception on the beach this evening, which if it's anything like last year's will be good.

So, where were we? Sunday night - v nice dinner at the Cafe Roma, followed by the 11pm screening of "Chacun Son Cinema", a film commissioned to celebrate Cannes being 60. It was 35 short films about cinema made by directors such as the Coen Brothers, Wong Kar Wai, Jane Campion, Nanni Moretti, etc etc. Very mixed bag, some really good, some really odd, some more than a little self-indulgent. Each one got a round of applause, and the biggest went to Walter Salles for his v funny film.

Yesterday morning, had a v important meeting and thought I'd blown it by not being able to find the person I was meeting at the Carlton - however, he rang me and we managed to meet (phew), and he's interested in the romcom - so, that makes 3 meetings, 3 conversations ending with "send me the script" - pretty good hit rate, so I'm thinking my highly targetted pre-Cannes email campaign was the right way to to go. In the evening, I went to the NPA reception, met up with a couple of Sheffield-based film-makers; then went out to the Highlands and Islands party which was fun - champagne, good food, a champion Scottish fiddler and a couple of dances with a Viking!

Wouldn't mind seeing a few films ....

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Just a quickie

Quick update while I'm waiting for my date ...

Started the day with an interview for a film being made about how to make it in the film industry; apparently, I follow Leonardo Di Caprio and Jude Law. It's quite fun being filmed here, everyone looks at you in case you're someone. Then they realise you're not, and move on!

Then went to see "Hallam Foe", a lovely Scottish film with Jamie Bell, very quirky and interesting, with beautiful cinematography in Edinburgh and a soundtrack by Franz Ferdinand.

Had a quick meeting with an American indie producer, who is interested in the spooky romance, and wants to see my scripts - cool.

Then hung out in the American Pavilion, becuase Colin Firth and Rupert Everett were doing an "in conversation with .." - but due to scheduling difficulties (i.e. their flight was 2 hours late), it was cancelled. However, got a few really nice photos, which I'll post when I can.

Later, I'm doing the red carpet thing, to see "Chacun Son Cinema" which I'm really looking forward to. And now I have to go and find my dinner date!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Cannes so far

Day 2, and my first real chance to do a report.

I'm in the UK Pavilion and there's a nice breeze from the sea which is welcome because its been v hot today. However, I've been indoors most of the day, so no prob with sunburn.

Got here early yesterday - 6am flight from Leeds, so was in Cannes by 10:30. Didn't have any major meetings, but bumped into Tim Clague in the UK Pavilion; met a British director in the American Pavilion while listening to Wong Kar Wai and Norah Jones do "an audience with ..."; it was nice after such an early start (up at 3am for the drive to Leeds) to have a fairly mellow afternoon. Then, at 5 went to the Short Film Corner happy hour where I saw Tim again, met his mate Suki, then went to a reception on a boat to meet a potential director for my futuristic thing; then at 7 went to the UK Film Council reception for short filmmakers, where I met Rob from SYFN, Sue Everett, and the guy who directed Rob's film which is also in Short Film Corner. Have acquired lots of cards for films I must see, and given out quite a few "Echoes" cards; so far, have had two viewings (I get emailed with a daily update of who sees it, complete with email addresses). Rounded off the day with a very nice Spaghetti Vongole at a restaurant very close to our flat, and crashed out at 11:30. Think I did quite well to get so far, actually.

Today has been a top day. Had a meeting this morning with a big-name LA producer which went really well; he laughed at the pitches (which is a good thing) and wants to see scripts. Then saw "Ruby Blue" a good UK film directed by Jan Dunn, starring Bob Hoskins and also featuring my mate Sam Talbot, who was there for the screening which was great, because I haven't seen him for ages. Then met up with some financiers for the futuristic thing, which went well. They have the script, so we'll see.

Quick visit to the SFC, and am now in the UK Pavilion wondering where Sam is and thinking about going to another reception next door in the Kodak.

Just had a couple of emails from people I hit with my pre-Cannes email campaign saying "would love to meet you" - so I need to fix those up for later in the week. And tomorrow I'm being interviewed for someone's film - a bloke I met in the check-in queue at LAX in February, bumped into him yesterday, he's making a documentary about making films and said would I like to be interviewed? So that should be a laugh.

It would be quite nice to see some films - maybe in a day or two!

Sunday, May 13, 2007


My blog is one year old today! Happy birthday, blog.

It's been a fab year of blogging, a world I stumbled into almost by accident - Duncan started his blog while he was in Russia, so people would know what he was doing, and it seemed like a good idea to do the same for Cannes, last year. Since then, I've met some bloggers for real, and had coversations with others, and corresponded with still more, which is fab - I love the idea that there's a whole virtual world out there which alleviates the solitary nature of this writing life.

We ended up not going to Harrogate to see the play on Friday - we were both rather worn at the end of a long and tiring week, and an hour and a half in the car each way seemed rather a massive undertaking. At least it will have been filmed, so I'll get to see it at some point, and find out whether anyone laughed.

Cannes prep proceeds apace - business cards, postcards and poster done, some meetings set up, posh frock won on ebay just in case I get to do the red carpet thing again. Can't eat carbs for a week tho - posh frock is so clinging, never mind VPL you could probably read the label. Still, makes my bum look a bit like JLo's, so its not all bad. Haircut and eyebrows still to sort out. No fake tan this year - am trying Nivea self-tanning moisturiser instead, partly because it's £4.95 to DIY, as opposed to salon prices. Yep, bargain basement beauty is the rule this year.

Never got round to doing reviews last time I was in London. Saw "The Rose Tattoo" and "Landscape with Weapon", both at the National Theatre. I felt a bit lukewarm about "The Rose Tattoo," and wish I didn't, because it was Stephen Pimlott's last work. Zoe Wanamaker as Serafina was fabulous, but it often seemed that there was too much crammed onto the stage to give the feel of a bustling Sicilian community, which distracted from the central core of the play. In contrast, Joe Penhall's "Landscape with Weapon" in the Cottesloe had a tiny cast (four) and an almost empty stage for much of the time. Tom Hollander as Ned, the weapons designer having moral doubts, and Julian Rhind-Tutt as his argumentative brother were both excellent. It's very funny, and very thought-provoking. Joe Penhall writes fantastic dialogue which not only deals with the intellectual arguments but also examines the relationship between the two brothers. Don't sit in the front row, though - there's a food fight, and rice goes an awful long way.

Right, back to work - I have a CV to construct and a script to write, by Thursday. And no, I haven't started packing yet.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Check me out

My new website is now up and running at thanks to A and her amazing webmistress skills.

I'm in the middle of my pre-Cannes email campaign, trying to set up meetings with people who might be interested in the feature scripts, so the website should give them an idea of what I do. I've got a couple of things set up so far, so hopefully the diary will start to fill up over the next few days.

Becuase I've got my accreditation through Short Film Corner, this year I don't get the option of a magic number to log on and try to book competition screenings - so to see any of the Out of Competition or Competition screenings, I have to wait in line at the last minute queue. So, chances of any red carpet action severely limited, sadly. I really want to see Zodiac (in competition) and Ocean's 13 (out of competition) but apart from that, I think I may focus my attention this year on Director's Fortnight and Critics' Week, plus whatever marche screenings I can get to. Will defintely be trying to see "The Future is Unwritten" by Julien Temple. The rest is an adventure.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Got a minute?

Heard earlier today that my latest one minute play has been picked for "Gone in 60 Seconds", and will be performed at Harrogate Theatre, next Friday, at 8pm, along with a whole load of other one minute plays from all over the world. We're going - if you're around, please come, let me know you're coming, and let's say hello and meet up.

Mine's called "Sleeping with Fishes", by the way.