Monday, June 22, 2009

CANNES 09: THE RUNDOWN

I havent written about this because it was all such a blur but                                                       heres the run down.

York took Zombeak to the Cannes Film Market to sell to all the various buyers around the globe.

My in-laws said I should go so they paid for Steph and me to come along with them to Spain. My step father in law is from Valencia and was going to visit his mother anyway that weekend. Synchronicity!  SO we flew into Barcelona, then spent the fist night in this old monastery on top of this freaky mountain. At three in the morning some woman started singing Ave Maria, and it echoed around the dark medieval architecture. Surreal.

Then we drove to Cannes (9 hour drive), and as we got into the city, the streets exploded with throngs of people. It was like a huge party!  The main theater was surrounded by gates that had tons of onlookers pushed up against them, people hoping to see a celebrity.

We found the hotel and I grabbed my duffel bag of t-shirts and ran into the crowd. The market was closing in an hour so I didnt have time to        check in and get settled. I was in Cannes, the main walk by the Mediterranean, the beautiful people, sunshine, shops, and gigantic posters on the buildings for up coming movies. It was like Dragon Con for social minded mainstream types.

I ran to the registration building, but the security guards blocking the door only spoke French so I had to tap dance and act maniacal to get in, but the south of France is VERY laid back and human, they just go with the flow and are used to dealing with nut jobs like myself so they let me through.

Into the bowls of the registration dungeon I lurched. If I could get a badge, then it would all be cool and I could get into the market, the backrooms, the screenings and what not. No badge, Id be peddling my chicken on the sidewalk (hey wait a minute!) SO I talked to the people at the desk like I knew what I was talking about (fake it!) and somehow they gave me a free badge that would get me anywhere in the festival I wanted to go! This was all providence and luck because York had not reserved me the badges they said they would. No match for my sweaty desperation.

Then Bang! Into the film market where all these booths are set up and posters to the various coming soon flicks are hung up. I was at the tail end of this so when I got to the York booth it was abandoned but I did find some sale sheets that had Zombeak on them as one of the films theyre out pimping, so that was awesome!

There was an open bar for peeps with films in the short film program, so I had to get in the middle of that, and talked to scrungie people from all over, Portugal, Australia, Turkey, Belgium, and such. You go to a film mixer/weenie roast in Georgia and you may meet someone from Macon, someone who used to live in LA (yeah thats right, L A, maybe youve heard of it- land of dreams, yeah thats right), and people who work for Ted Turner. Cannes is filled with people from EVERYWHERE, many surprisingly speak better English then I do. T-shirts where given out and this couple of writers from Belgium where really excited for me to get a screener out to them for review.

SO after that I go looking for Steph, we were supposed to meet up at the registration desk but for this first night we kept missing each other so I ran back into the blob. I was only able to get one badge so I knew time was limited if I was to to get these shirts out while I still felt networky (theres a limit).

Into the International Village I ran.The USA Tent is on the beach sothese little gaggles of boho arty types are sitting in the sand andsoaking in the fabulous of it all. The Mediterranean is right there and choked with yachts and cruise liners. They had a cheep bar. Met this guy from England who had made a short (most people I met were there with short films screening or scripts to sell, who couldnt fathom my low brow chicken movie was in the market HA! I cant fathom it either really). And from him I learned that it in this age people brag about how many hits you get on the internet. as in, Yeah, my film got 25 hits in the first three days, how did yours do? That kind of thing. But he was a nice guy and I met a dude from Ohio who made a doc about his family home and a crazy Frenchman who passed me blah blah.

Now the best part, I met a cameraman talent agent from Sydney who used to work in acquisitions for a big video distributor and she gave me all sorts of awesome advice on how I should deal with York and how to get paid and what not. Its just about support and persistence really.  Show them love and they show you love back. Love love love.

So one goal I visualized for this trip was to get a t-shirt in the hands of Sam Raimi. As it so happens, there was to be a special screening of Drag Me to Hell that night. I peed. This was a screening in the back theater, not a big premiere or anything, but you had to have a badge, and I did, so I walked up some steps and got into this line for what maybe one giant fan gushing over a huge influence on just about everyone who want to make this sort of thing. He, Romero, and Carpenter are like the Holy Trinity of American Horror films.  Hooper is like the crazy Pope. Cronenburg is from Canada. Anyway.

The line filed in and we went into this huge pre fab theater with red cushioned seats and nice nice nice. So I sat and waited to see if Raimi would appear, no one knew if he was there or not, and planned on how to rush the stage and get a shirt in his hands even if it meant getting tasered by security.

Alas, no Raimi. The movie began and I watched the first ten minutes, it was great, and then took off. I would rather watch this one with a group of friends and not when the south of France is right outside.  But it was still cool. Had he been there I would have had a total screaming orgasm.

It was about midnight now and I tracked down Steph, who thought I had been kidnapped by sex traffickers, and we went out and walked down the crossest (the sidewalk by the beach) and bought ice cream and I yammered about the last freaky six hours. She was pissed that she missed it but was really happy that I got some shit done. Her time would come the next night.

The following day was Saturday and Steph and I wandered the streets and soaked in the beauty and ambiance of it all. We drank strong coffee, drank warmish beer, saw some nude beaches (none I saw really should have gone there) ate seafood by the beach, I bought a t-shirt that was ridiculously too small, a large there is not a large here, and we decided to crash a premiere.

Back to the hotel, got dressed to the nines, went into the streets looking like glamourati. We didnt know if we could get in to the screening, you had to have a ticket, but I had read if you got dressed up and waited in the last minute access line, there could be a chance.  Went into the American tent and bought two one dollar beers and asked a writer guy what was showing that night. It was something called Maps of the Sounds of Tokyo. Never heard of it but even better because of it.

I brought Steph back a beer and we order a sandwich at a sidewalk stand, called the Americano, ended up being a loaf of bread with a giant hotdog stuffed in it topped with mayo. HA! Give that guy a hotdog! We ate our hotdog and drank our warm beer while waiting in line with other dressed up hopefuls.They all seemed to have badges and tickets, all we had was one badge, but you gotta try. We talked to a couple of filmmakers from Arizona who had a film in the market called Necromentia that I had actually heard of! We yammered about some movies and traded cards, nice guy with a big ten gallon hat and a red headed lady who was the writer.

Then the line started to move. Up ahead an older gentlemen who wore a yellow suit was being turned away wasnt very happy about it. I flashed my badge and Steph clinched up close and ... BANG we were in!  Woah. The next thing I knew we here walking up the red carpet while paparazzi flashed and clicked. Not at us per se but it was nice to live in the fantasy. After making it through the next security gate where they asked to see Stephs badge, we just smiled and acted clueless and in we went. Phew! Now we where sitting in the main theater. Everyone in tuxes and evening gowns. The director and two lead actors came in. People clapped, the movie began. Map of the Sounds of Tokyo was cool, if sad. Lots of hardcore sadness on display.  Subtitles and dialogue spoken in Japanese, Spanish, French, and English. It was exactly the type of film you would like to see in Cannes.

After the move people applaud for an hour. I learned that they time the applause and this helps the judges decide on the films popularity.  I hear some filmmakers have stormed off because their applause was a few seconds less then their competitors. Whatev. The cool thing about Cannes is if they dont like your movie, they will boo that sombitch right in front of you and your momma! I hear that Antichirst got the boo even though that guy Lars Von Trier is like royalty in some circles.

So then we file into the night and it is like a dream, we are starry eyed and someone takes our picture. We go back to the hotel and tell the in-laws all about it at the hotel bar. Then we crash.  At the crack of dawn were up and heading back to Barcelona. Good bye France. The whole thing just swirling in our heads. We stop and eat at a rest stop, these things are NICE, they have full restaurants that sell fresh food, not just bricks and vending machines. The bathrooms are still scary though. That is an international thing.

We get into Barcelona and spent a year looking for the hotel, things are weird over there. There are no billboards telling you where stuff is, and hotels arent groups together. Out hotel was in the middle of an industrial office park! But it was super modern and snazzy! It was late, but the in-laws said they would show us the city if we were game.  Yes.

Barcelona is the real Gotham City. Ancient Gothic cathedrals sandwiched in between modern skyscrapers. The place had a fascist government until the seventies and that aesthetic is everywhere. All the typeface is big and bold and all caps. The art want to squish you like a bug. Factories have the logo and name in enormous red letters that cover the entire front of the building. The sky scrapers are all tented glass, gray concrete and brushed metal. There are hostels everywhere and the main stretch is called the Ramblus where even at 1am there were tons of people waling up and down this stretch. Off the Ramblus is a maze of dark back alley side streets that if you where to venture down in Atlanta you would need to bring your best kung fu, but all good over there, people are just chill, and no one bothered me for change, they will walk up with a warm beer to sell ya, so its not a bad deal to give out change, you get a drink out of it.

We hit tapas bars and ate some awesome seafood (the food is all incredible and not once did I order a number two or open a plastic bag to eat). The sangria was very good and made the evening very agreeable.

As I was walking I thought to myself, There are all these people over here, and not one of them even know me. It was a funny thought. You know there are people and buildings and what not over there, but the school I went to taught that once you leave America you are entering a wasteland of cannibals and mutant inbreeds that fight for scraps and are beaten by secret police as thunderdome glistens on the horizon. As it turns out, just a bunch of people living there who have not had the misfortune of watching a Paulie Shore movie in a theater. Not a bad way of life. People very friendly, I actually felt like the asshole cause if some one says hey to you in Atlanta I usually say buzz off.  There it came off as rude.

And thus back to the hotel and the next day dropped off at the airport and back home. The babies stayed with my folks so there was a big reunion and our youngest Cameron cried and was so pissed when he saw us. Like, What the hell is the matter with you people leaving me like that. You got a lot of nerve! My folks had that 100 yard stare thing going on. Kids are like having deranged midgets strapped to your back all day, and I guess you get used to the calm that follows once you get them out of the house. This was a nice flashback for them I suppose. It was good to be back.

In hindsight, the whole thing plays out like movie fantasy camp but I learned some pretty cool lessons and opened my mind up a bit. I learned that people are actually making money doing this, and some people are actually taking it seriously. It was nice to say hey I want to make horror movies and the response not be, stay away from my kids weirdo. Everyone was there to hustle and get closer to whatever definition of success theyve programmed into their minds, I was. It was all illusion and ego, but know that going in then it can be pretty fun. I winked and put my tongue in my cheek and just snuck in the back door and made it up as I went along. There is no formula. And it is a big big world and all I need is 1000 people giving me ten bucks a year. Killer chicken or obtuse art film, its all the same thing. Room for everyone. Nothing is true,everything is permitted.

SD


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