Well, folks, the burnout has finally arrived. This morning, after a brisk sprint to make it to a screening on time, I settled into my seat in the Lumiere and promptly fell asleep for 20 minutes. I almost contemplated just going back to my hotel room and sleeping for the most of the afternoon, but then I remembered the existence of Diet Coke.
Day 5 – Sunday, May 20
I got up early for a screening of Michael Haneke’s “Amour” at 8:30 A.M. However, even though I was ready on time, my bus passed me by because it was already full … yanking my comfortable cushion and leaving me wondering whether or not I would even get to see this movie at all. The next bus came in ten minutes or so, and when it arrived at the stop, I ran off and sprinted to the Lumiere. Surprisingly, even that early in the morning, it was one of the most attentive I had been in a screening … and it was subtitled too!
After that, I had a little bit of down time to write before attending three all-star panels at the American Pavilion. The first was with independent film directors Rodney Ascher of “Room 237″ (a documentary on “The Shining” that I’m planning to see tomorrow evening), Adam Leon of “Gimme the Loot,” and Ben Wheatley of “Sightseers.” The blogger in me enjoyed it, although the conversation was pretty much directed towards aspiring filmmakers, something which I am not.
Then, there was a panel about film marketing and advertising, a field that really fascinates me, and the conversation largely centered around the art of the trailer and satisfying your core audience even if you believe you can hit one of the other “four quadrants” (male, female, old, young). The panel included Doug Wick, the producer of “Gladiator” as well as Cannes competition film “Lawless;” I got to shake his hand and congratulate him on the movie’s success. (That is, I’m assuming it will play well with audiences – snooty critics looking to crown the Palme D’Or will surely not like it much.) Oh, and David Poland of Movie City News was also there to provide a different perspective. I gladly thanked him for what he does for long-form journalism. If you are a real movie fan, then you NEED to be watching his DP/30 interviews on YouTube.
Finally, there was the State of the Industry, a packed panel and a packed crowd. Speakers included Nancy Utley, President of Fox Searchlight, and Tom Bernard, President of Sony Pictures Classics. Mrs. Utley spoked about how Fox Searchlight chooses their slate of releases, which range from widely appealing commercial vehicles like “The Descendants” all the way down to smaller niche films like “Martha Marcy May Marlene.” She said that if one person on their team is a passion advocate for a film and can find a way to convince the rest of the team that it has an audience and a path to success, then they will be willing to take a chance on it. Glad to see what incredible artistic integrity they can maintain while building brand identity. (And further blogger geekdom: got to meet Anne Thompson of IndieWire, who moderated the panel, and thank her for being one of my main sources for forming opinions on Oscar season.)
Other than those four events, it was a gross, disgusting rainy day in Cannes. Definitely didn’t come here for this weather. Yet somehow, in spite of the grossness of the icky day, Cannes still looked remarkably beautiful. Houston makes me depressed in the rain (except now, when I rejoice for rain in our drought-riddled state). But Cannes, on the other hand … just wow. It made me think of a certain scene in the rain, and then I remembered that sometimes magic can happen no matter what the weather.