New York press agent/party thrower/Oscar publicist Peggy Siegal flew into Cannes this May on “Mud” producer Lisa Marie Falcone’s private jet; they barely squeezed in all their luggage and designer frocks.
That opener sets the tone for Siegal’s hugely entertaining, name-dropping, exhausting tour of Cannes by way of movie stars, branded fashion designers, yacht parties and and bling. She earned her press badge and then some with this Huffington Post tome (is she setting up a deal to write her memoirs?). While she points out that none of the five American competition films earned a prize (only sidebar entry Benh Zeitlin’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild” took home a win, for first-time director), she has nothing bad to say about any of them. That’s because these films’ distributors will soon be employing her to hawk their wares.
There once was a time (when I was covering for Premiere, EW or the The New York Times), when I cared about rushing around to score tickets to these soirees–when I could–religiously attending Harvey Weinstein’s annual AmfAR bash, waltzing into the MTV party with the likes of Madonna and Chrissie Hynde, and hanging out at the Eden Roc with the studio brass.
Now in Indiewire mode I’m happier seeing the films and talking to filmmakers. Was I envious when folks got up from the Col Needham’s IMDb dinner to head off to Paul Allen’s yacht party? (A classic line from an embarrassed cinephile–“I want to see the art.”) Sure. If I didn’t have to do anything to get invited, I’d gladly go. It’s the hustling that takes too much time.
Here’s my favorite bit from Siegal’s story:
David Geffen sends the “Rising Sun’s” tender, which is larger than my New York Park Avenue apartment to pick me up for lunch. At 453-feet, I board the sixth largest yacht in the world built by Larry Ellison for over $200 million and redesigned by Geffen. From sea level, I climb four flights to greet David. I have three words for him, “Not big enough.”