So, getting wi-fi is almost impossible in Europe. I actually made it on the 2:30 flight to Nice, but that flight was also delayed. We were an hour late getting into Nice, but it didn’t matter because when I met up with my fellow American Pavilion interns at baggage claim we had to wait for the last of the flights before we could take a shuttle to our hotel. I immediately met a Delta Gamma from UC Boulder, which is fantastic! Once we got to the hotel, at around 9:00pm, we checked in, got our room assignments, and received a backpack with a hat and a few t-shirts inside. I went up to my room, which is on the top floor of the hotel, and barged into the room. Two of my roommates were asleep and the other was in the shower. The room is actually two floors and since I was the last, I ended up on the top floor. Thank god I didn’t get the top bunk though. Here is a photo of my room. Pretty tiny, right? We do have a decent sized balcony though and a beautiful view.
Dana, the DG from UC Boulder, and I went to get some pizza from across the street. It was delicious! What was even better was the cashier: a very gorgeous French man. I ended the night by taking a shower and going right to sleep. We had to wake up early for breakfast, but I can’t complain when I’m eating free chocolate croissants. I needed to turn in my final paper, but the wi-fi is crazy at the hotel. You have to buy it at the front desk, which has limited hours. Those limited hours are when we are gone for the internship. I couldn’t get it this morning, so I decided I was going to wait until we finished, turn it in late, and hope my professor understands.
We were put into small groups of about 14 people with a mentor as aleader. Our mentor is named Malinda Hee. She is actually a story producer for reality TV, which is pretty cool. She was also in the film program when she was in college as well. We took a walking tour throughout town, which consisted of her showing us where the bar is and stopping for alcohol. She did give us some great advice for networking at the festival since she’s done it before. One piece of advice she gave us was to be very passionate… and to also know off-hand your three favorite films. She said they don’t actually have to be your favorites, just make sure you know a lot about them. One can be artsy, she said, but also pick out films that have a clear-story structure. The Godfather, Casablanca, and Citizen Kane are a few examples. She said not to go cheesy, which means Titanic is out for me. She also said that if you’re girl and you like Star Wars, it is a plus for any man in the industry in which you are speaking. I guess I’m set! We went to the International College next to spend the rest of our day. It was about a fifteen minute walk along the beach and this place is GORGEOUS! I’m already obsessed. We were all walking there together, so I couldn’t really stop to take pictures, but I did manage to take some on the way back. There were so many families on the beach and so many little children. I wanted to stop and play with them all. There are also so many small dogs here. I love it so much. I already saw Kip’s twin, except with a poodlecut. She was the same size and same color as Kip, exactly. Anyways, the pathway along the beach is the same path that we can take to work, so hopefully I’ll have time to walk to work a few days these next two weeks instead of taking the bus. The college was also beautiful. Walter, our hilarious program director, gave us an introduction to the program. It is almost ridiculous how much the program encourages drinking. At first, I thought they were kidding, but they really made a point to tell us how important it is to go to parties in Cannes and also in general in the industry. At first, it made me think that I should start going out to parties, but I don’t think that Denison dorm room parties will prepare me in the least bit. He did make me very excited to go to premieres and parties though these next two weeks. An experimental filmmaker named Pip works for the Pavilion and is in charge of getting the students tickets for the red carpet screenings. There is a sign-up sheet all week long so that every student can go to at least one and hopefully it’s the one they want to attend the most. Otherwise, we can get our tickets from networking at the Marche du Film, which is the Cannes Film Market. It’s where the companies come to buy, sell, and do business. Apparently, the Pavilion encourages us to spend our non-American Pavilion hours finding jobs and working for other production/distribution companies at the festival. We had a panel with the mentors next who are all people who have made it in the industry. They told us their backgrounds and gave us their best advice before we got to ask them questions. It was definitely helpful and I learned a lot. They specified it to the festival, but also for finding a job and networking outside of the festival as well. One of the things they talked about was something in which I definitely agreed. Coming here, I was very nervous that a lot of the other students in the program would be very cocky and have a huge ego about their own work. While there are definitely students here like that, I have managed to meet and associate, so far, with those who are not. I am not going to be a director and I know that no one is going to buy one of my screenplays, but there are some students who come here and have done those things for student productions… They introduce themselves as a writer or as a director. While I think it’s great to have confidence, I find it very hard to introduce myself in that way because I don’t think I’m there yet. I still have one more year of undergrad and I am well aware that my first job after college will be a script reader or an assistant at most. Those students who come into the industry thinking they are a director or they are a writer already are probably going to have a serious problem with getting their boss a cup of coffee. I think it was great that the panel reminded us of that.
Afterward, we had Danielle Birge, the woman who is in charge of the Marche du Film, speak to us and answer our questions. The presentation was very interesting and she was absolutely adorable. One of the Festival programmers, Van Papadopoulos, who specifically controls the Classics part of the festival spoke to us next. I was very tired throughout this entire program, but it was all so interesting and I loved every minute of it. We heard a little bit about the programming for this year, but A Clockwork Orange is the big classic film that has a showing. These films only screen once and you don’t have to have a ticket for it. This means that you stand in a line for at least an hour in order to get a seat… which means I probably won’t be able to see the film. However, he made a very great point. The classics are great films to see at the festival because you don’t know when you’ll be able to see these films again in this type of atmosphere. The films in and out of competition are films that are going to come out in theaters eventually and we can just see them then. That doesn’t change the fact that I’m dying to see Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. It’s the opening film, so I won’t be able to go to the red carpet, but they show all of the red carpet films the day after so I am willing to wait for that one.
I have to say, I feel like I’ve learned more in this one day about the business of film than I have in the past three years being a Cinema major at Denison. Although I do enjoy it, I don’t think spending 50 minutes every other day discussing why films are good or bad, or why filmmakers make the decisions they do has been very beneficial thus far. I’ve gotten a MUCH better understanding for the way the business works and what I have to do to get a job and what not. It has already made me so grateful for this experience. I just can’t wait for the film festival to begin.
After the panels, a few of us walked back together and went into town for dinner. A girl in my group and I stopped at one of the restaurants that offered more than just sandwiches, since that was what we had for lunch. The waiter didn’t really speak English, so we felt really bad and just pointed at things on the menu. I ordered some wine… maybe too much. Whoops? I also ordered something I had never heard of, expecting it to be very French. It was some type of steak with onions and it was delicious. It came with fries and a salad on the side. It also came with this tomato. I don’t know what they did to it, but it was delicious and I don’t even like tomatoes! Two other girls in the program joined us and after we were finished, we walked back to the hotel so I could finally turn in my paper (after I borrowed someone else’s internet because I still haven’t been able to set mine up yet). The American Pavilion planned a party for us by the pool. I went down with two of my roommates and met a few people. We came back up to a few of the boys’ room and hung out on the balcony. There were a lot of wine bottles, but I did not have any. The thought of having a hangover tomorrow stopped me. If I’m EVER going to have one on this trip, I might as well make the night before worth it. The group I was with ended up going to the beach to hang out, but I was way too tired and wanted a good night’s sleep. We’re actually going into Cannes tomorrow to see the Festival grounds and find out what our work placement job will be. I am ecstatic, but also very nervous. As long as I meet people, I’ll be happy!