First Day in Cannes

We didn’t have to go down for breakfast until about 7:30 today, which was fantastic.  After picking up another croissant, my roommates and I came back up to our room to eat on our balcony.
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After breakfast, we met with our mentor groups and got our work assignments.  My group, along with another, was put in the restaurant.  Although it doesn’t sound like the best job to have at the film festival, it actually is a great deal.  Instead of being stuck inside handing out flyers all day, we get to actually interact with everyone that comes into the pavilion.  It is a great networking opportunity… not to mention we get to keep any tips we make and the restaurant is literally ON THE BEACH, right next to the water.  I’m not even exaggerating. Speaking of the beach, it is absolutely gorgeous and the weather is phenomenal. It’s going to take everything in me not to want to sit out on the beach or by the pool on these warm days without a cloud in the sky.  My first shift tomorrow is kind of awkward.  I work from 11-5.  I am planning waking up at 7:00 and either spending my morning at the hotel, or checking out the festival early tomorrow before work.  It is about a 40 minute walk to work.  The bus ride is short, but they said that it might be longer once the festival starts, so allow about an hour before your shift just to be safe.  I wish I had the internet still so I could research which films I want to see..
We traveled to Cannes as a group and it was our first time in the city.  I am never leaving.  Ever.  This is the most beautiful place in the world.  The water is gorgeous, the beach is fantastic, and the architecture is magnificent.  Once we got off the bus, we were welcomed by a large marina of yachts, but apparently the ones we saw were not the biggest of the bunch… even though these were gigantic.  There was also a cruise ship in port.  Could you imagine docking in Cannes during the festival?!  However, today was a mess.  Everything was still being built and constructed, and it’s amazing to think that it is all going to come together by tomorrow… so I can’t wait to see it.  It feels like magic.  We took a group photo on the steps of the Debussy, the theater that shows the Un Certain Regard category.  Because the photo did not take as long as expected, our group decided to get some ice cream.  Afterward, we had work orientation.  The job seems extremely laid back. We work for 6 hours and our shifts will rotate from 7:30-1:30, 11-5, 2-8, and 4-10. If we want to attend something, we can easily have it switched.  We don’t have any breaks, but if we ever feel like sitting down or attending an hour long roundtable, it is totally acceptable.  We only have to wear our American Pavilion shirts, which are not the most attractive and might as well have American Tourist written across it, as a uniform.  We can wear any shoes, bottoms, etc. we want.  We also are allowed to wear sunglasses.  We only have 5 tables to take care of at a time.  I’m not too worried about it.  I’ll just try to pass out as many business cards as possible.  We finished work orientation an hour early which gave us extra time for lunch. Cannes is very expensive so we opted for a cheap Chinese lunch as a group.  I managed to order the whole thing in French, but it is still very frustrating that I used to know so much and I forgot it all.  I’m doing my best to pick things up and learn again and it’s only been two days.  I’m guessing by the end of this, I’ll be fine. We still had a lot of time, so we went to the beach at the Pavilion and put our feet in the water, walked in the sand, and climbed on the rocks.  I can’t even explain how amazing this place is and how lucky I am to be here.  It is so surreal.
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We met up with our mentor groups once more and got a tour of the Festival grounds.  We got to see where the red carpet will be, all of the theaters, and the Marche du Film.  Speaking of theaters, the Lumiere Theater, where the premieres are held, is the most INCREDIBLE theater I have EVER seen.  I tried to take lots of pictures, but it doesn’t do it justice… so I took a panorama video of it.  It still doesn’t do it justice.  It is the largest theater I have ever seen and every single person in my group was in shock and awe when we walked in.  I can’t believe I’m going to be able to attend a film in there before this experience is over.  It was absolutely amazing.
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When we walked through the Marche du Film, someone asked why we were all here.  I told him we were interns.  He asked what we did.  I told him and said it’s a way for students to be able to attend the festival.  He gave me advice: If the movie is bad, walk out, and see a better one.  There are too many films to see to stay through one that’s not good.  Our tour ended in a small theater where we would end our day with some more speakers and welcomes from the Pavilion.  The first was Scott McKinlay who is an independent filmmaker.  He gave the best advice I have ever heard and I feel like I have learned the most from him thus far.  It’s amazing how much I’m learning during this experience, but it also upsets me too.  I feel like Denison has not prepared me in the least bit for the real world in the film industry.  As much as I enjoy discussing films and what not (because that is important too), a lot of the film majors are not going to have any idea how to create an independent film after they graduate.  Today, Scott taught us how to make a business plan, how to get investors, how to budget everything and what to expect.  It also upsets me that Denison focuses so much on the past.  While I do enjoy film industry and think it’s important, I think film students need to understand how the business works today and how companies operate.  Almost everyone here knows about current films that will be coming out or those that have within the last few years, but I, on the other hand, have spent most of my education studying films that were made before 1970.  I don’t have enough free time to go out to the movies or to keep up with the current business, so I wish this was incorporated more into the curriculum.  Instead, my professor schedules a screening the night of the Oscars and brings in a powerpoint discussing why The King’s Speech was not a good film.  Many students here have already written a feature film or completed a short that they are proud of and willing to submit to film festivals, and I don’t think the majority of the cinema majors at Denison are ready for that.  These students might just be very pretentious… or maybe they are actually that talented. Either way, I’m blaming Denison.  I am now appreciating their hard-grading though and the fact that we have the lowest department GPA on campus because it makes me feel very humble about my talent.  Everyone keeps talking about how my generation has a very large ego and no one wants to hire that.  It reminds of the Denison Film Festival when the workshop students stood up to talk about their films.  None of them sounded pleased, excited, or proud of their films.  I guess, I like it that way.  Thanks for the D, Wiskeman!  Oh and one last thing about Scott, he gave us his business card and HIGHLY encourages us to e-mail him or call him with any questions or help we need.  He said if we’re ever in L.A., he’ll take us to lunch.  He said he answers every single e-mail and returns every phone call from an AmPav student and has gone out to lunch with several. He just wants to be as helpful as he can.
After our welcome address from others at the Pavilion, we were welcomed by SAG Indie who also does programming for us at the Pavilion.  I am excited for the professionals that they are coming to the Pavilion for round tables.  They invite actors, directors, entertainment lawyers, producers, etc.  The people that I am really looking forward to are the programmers from the film festivals: AFI, Sundance, and South by Southwest.  Although I am interested in Development, I still have never forgotten about festival programming and I think it will be very beneficial to hear about a career in that field.  I think what makes me different from a lot of the other students here is that I am not a filmmaker, but that doesn’t change the fact that I still love movies and I would like the job I have to be associated with that.  I don’t think this makes me any less creative, but I am more interested in the business side of film.  I would also rather be hired by a company and I’ll do my best not to become a starving artist.  Our next speaker was Lucius Barre.  I don’t have much to say about him because I mostly… slept through it.  He spoke about PR and Marketing though.
After the panels, Erin and I explored a little bit of Cannes before we headed back to La Bocca.  We discovered this building with this amazing movie themed mural painted on it.  I am absolutely obsessed and I couldn’t get away from it.
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We also found this amazing street.  It’s a winding, uphill, narrow, cobblestone street lined with expensive and beautiful restaurants.  Everything is out of my price range, but it was definitely nice to look around.  We did stop for some gelato too.  I had tiramisu flavored gelato and it was absolutely delicious.  I have been wondering why there is so much pizza, pasta, and gelato here.  I have never been anywhere else in Europe so I can’t really say, so maybe it’s the region of France we’re in?  We hopped on the bus back to La Bocca and found a place for dinner.  We ordered the menu for the night which was only 17,50 euros and it was SO MUCH FOOD!  It’s amazing how large the portions are.  Definitely not what I expected.  The menu was also not in English so we had no idea what we were ordered, but it was a salad, calamari, and chocolate mousse.  Now I am in a food coma… in my bed.  I’m definitely going to bed early tonight so I can be fresh for tomorrow.  I’m going to finally get the internet so I can skype my family, research some films and companies, head to the festival, and work.  I’m planning on staying in Cannes after so I can check out the Opening Film, Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen, and maybe even attend a party.  Let’s cross our fingers.
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