The funniest thing about the Cannes film festival this year (and I shouldn’t laugh) was the shock and awe campaign by the weather on the American Pavilion. Those LA sun loving interns that very (overly) happily serve you, had a serious sense of humour failure when what nearly amounted to a hurricane practically demolished their outside beach space, but the biggest damage was to their expectations and egos. Considering it’s the only pavilion you need to pay membership for, this year it was the worst.
As you’d expect the British Pavilion was far better prepared for crappy weather, but employing french staff meant consistently no English Breakfast Teabags (in the UK pavilion!!) and it was filled to the brim with grumpy Brits abroad, who all leave the confines of soho for a long weekend to meet their foreign counterparts, yet end up just socialising with each other in the warm and cosy confines of their own little tent. Irony that.
However, joyfully, Jeremy Hunt finally hammered (heavily) the nail in his own career’s coffin when he turned up at the Pavilion and had half the UK film industry kicked out into the rain for security reasons (he’s extremely important) cue lots of ‘Jeremy C***’ mutterings. Good bye Jeremy, you’ve not given us much (quite the opposite), but we forgive you, you’re a tory and suffer from lack of foresight, natural corruption and social disabilities on an epic scale. Least you’ve got Dave backing you eh?
As for my experience I generally avoided the Brits sensibly and made some great American friends and contacts (including attacking Bill Murray on a grand piano, long story). Screening my debut feature was a bit daunting without a sales agent in a sales agent dominated market, but with a bit of hard work and persistence it turned out to be a very very good 5 days… we’ll only see the outcome in the coming weeks and months but there was generally very good feedback (I was expecting some evil Brit critic to come in and slaughter me but the MASSIVE storm outside must have kept them away).
So I didn’t pick up a tan but finally made the next step in a bloody tough career. There’s a lot of thanks to go out, to Helen (my producer) for arranging screenings and advertising, and the big bulk of the crew and (one) cast who were out there being supportive. Focus now switches to where the film goes next and financing the next one… sounds simple enough but when you see the films that do sell in Cannes (Piranaconda, Arachnoquake and, wait for it, Aliens Vs Titanic - when the unsinkable meets the unthinkable… yes that’s a real film getting made, set in space) I’m a little out there on my own but it did prove I’ve got a great festival film which is exactly what I set out to make so I can finally breathe a sigh of relief and move on!