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Two Thirds The Way Through Cannes

Two Thirds The Way Through Cannes

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First was the Countdown to Cannes and now is the Countdown to the end. There are only 4 more days to complete what we all came here to complete and now is a good time to regroup and evaluate. It was my first time blogging here and it is hard!!! It is hard to write about even a fraction of all I experience in a newsworthy way during this 12 day whirlwind. My views of the business start from one angle and shift rapidly with each new international development. If one extracted all the newsworthy developments and trends which took place during this 12 day period of the Cannes International Film Festival and Marche du Film, it could result in a worthy contemporary film history book.

The first third of the market from May Thursday May 13 to today, Wednesday May 19 proceeded as planned. I wrote of one international sales agent a day who had a festival film about to screen:
Elle Driver• Westend
StudioCanal
Celluloid Dreams
Wild Bunch
Films Distribution
Coproduction Office
Pyramide
• The Match Factory
• Recreation
• UTV

And I covered some small part of the coproduction activity which is what is driving European, Latin American, Asian and African production and should be fueling American production as well.

I covered news of the international film festivals’ shoring up their connection to the business as well as the art side of cinema.

As the first four days passed, I realized I could not keep up with the entire world. I spoke with Patrick Frater and with Liz Shakleton, professional journalists who cover the Asian side of the business in Film Business Asia (www.filmbiz.asia), he from Hong Kong, she recently relocated to Mumbai and parlayed the idea of their sharing with IndieWIRE in some sort of Asian coverage. I spoke with Keith Simanton who is IMDb’s news editor. IndieWIRE’s owner, Snagfilms Rick Allen wrote me a note about keeping an eye the Marche as it generated so many great stories as well as the expected legion of deals.
• What of prices?
• Do they suggest we are coming out of the recession?
• Are American films traveling?
• Where are the great stories originating that will be headed into the US market?

These are to by the wrap up stories….

By the second third of this market I was so exhausted I could barely sleep or operate when awake. That is Cannes!

I expressed distress at not meeting my own expectation to my colleagues, especially to Anne Thompson, and she explained that blogging does not have to cover all the news, blogging is an individually decided, subjective activity. And immediately I felt better. At least I succeeded in my daily profile of at least one international sales agent a day and in the course of that I have discovered that every film has a political back story of such great interest that even if I do not get the chance to see the film or meet with the company itself, there is a fascinating story unfolding in relation to the film or the film company and its relation to the rest of the world. (See my blog on Celluloid Dreams and Jafar Panahi or on StudioCanal and Rachid Bouchareb’s Hors de loi (Outlaw)) – WHAT IS THIS GARBAGE??? – Covering all the news was the job of the journalists like herself, Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks. I could use my blog to elucidate my own perception of this remarkably effective international business.

Occasionally I heard of the volcanic cloud traveling over various countries and closing down their airports, of people not being able to arrive or leave Cannes because of “the cloud”. Once I actually read the front page of the International Herald Tribune and was astounded at all the bad news, from Geithner trying to calm nerves over Europe’s fate, U.S. gains evaporating as Taliban goes on offensive, Class war shaking the foundation of Thailand, Vast underground plumes suggesting oil leak is worse than thought, Brazil’s Lula visiting Tehran and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as U.S. officials watched skeptically from afar. As I read with dismay about the world’s dissolution, Simon Field, former head of Rotterdam Film Festival turned producer commented and with a short conversation we decided our only solution was to keep making movies, and so I once again reevaluated the reality of the world from the film business perspective. For all our troubles, we are the privileged who are able to travel this international creative circuit.

A few more notes regarding the Cannes Market News and film news in general. I heard much praise for IndieWIRE and its good fortune in hiring top people, and I have heard much talk of the paucity of news from Hollywood Reporter and the futility of Variety’s online pay windows in the face of doubling the workloads on the remaining staff. I noticed Cannes Market News quoted IndieWIRE’s Todd McCarthy on Woody Allen’s new film and it reminded me that during its first two years, Sydney’s Buzz had been the exclusive source of news on page one of the Cannes Market Daily and I had been able to give my unique pov to whatever I wanted to write about. The second page was straight press releases. There were ads and the screening schedule for the day and the next day. Each year it became more difficult as the market participants all wanted their news printed. Inundated, I realized I was not a journalist and Film Francais took it over. During this market the publication seems to have found its proper position in the market. It is not reprinting the same news that the trades are all sharing among themselves but is taking some time to look in greater depth at news that is not necessarily covered by everyone else and it is covered by true professionals Liza Foreman and Julian Newby.

And now, with my mind cleared, I will begin the countdown and wrap up on the news that I originally intended to cover every day before the midway meltdown occurred. Thanks for listening to my personal laments!

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