Saturday, 3 October 2009

Cannes Day 6

So a few people I know are going to MIPCOM next week in Cannes, which reminded me how long it's been since I updated my Cannes diary. Also, last night I was up until 4am finishing off a script for a project I've been working on since the end of last year. I'm not sure it's going to go anywhere, but I co-wrote it with Brother Pete who put a lot of work in and I kept putting it on my to-do lists so I wanted to get it finished. And that put me in the mood to finish off some other stuff.

Just a couple of days to go so I'm going to try to finish posting the diary over the next few days, despite the fact that it was now months ago. If you want to read the previous entries click the Cannes label. Also, part of the reason I put off writing this one up is that it went a bit dark at the end, but that's kind of the point of keeping a diary.

20/05/09 - 10:45AM

Yesterday was a bit up and down. The meeting we went in early for was a bit of a waste of time from my perspective, although it couldn't really have been helped (I didn't write it in the diary at the time but this was me sneaking into Jean-Claude Van Damme's office with a friend who was actually supposed to be meeting him about acquiring his latest film. He wasn't there.)

Had another walk around the Marche speaking to companies but generally got one of two responses - either a) we're not developing any new projects right now or b) you need to talk to our development team but they're not here. Or occasionally c) we have our own people who do that. I did pass my samples and CV onto a few people though so you never know. And I met Hong Kong cinema legend Godfrey Ho who was one of the most approachable and nicest people I've met so far.

Then we caught a screening of Black Dynamite, a very funny blaxploitation spoof:

After that we tried to get into the screening of District 13: Ultimatum but the cinema has its power cut by random protesters (something to do with the electricity suppliers in France) so the screening was cancelled. Left at a bit of a loose end we ending up seeing The Legend is Alive, an interesting if overlong martial arts drama. It was very similar to Chocolate but not as good.

A couple of us then rushed over to another screening room to see I Sell the Dead an innnovative and really effective black comedy.

Stayed out much later in the evening than planned but met some interesting people. This goes against what anyone with any money had been telling me all week, but I found the nicest people to meet were the short film makers. Generally all the people I met who had a film in short film corner were great and had an enthusiasm that seemed to to be missing from most of those higher up in the business. An enthusiasm for creativity at least, unlike the majority of other people I met who only really seemed to be enthusiastic about money.

Warning - I went on a bit of a rant here...

At one point I was involved in a discussion about private investment being the way forward, and the main point of the argument seemed to be suggesting that the next batch of new films across the board will be really interesting because they'll be made outside studio control. But thinking about it I'm not sure I entirely agree. I think at some point it comes down to experience. The studios have been doing this a lot longer than some bloke who just won the lottery and wants to make a film so he can walk down the red carpet. Yes, a lot of the big studio films are flawed but they at least know how to make films and usually how to tell a story (this is obviously before I'd seen Transformers 2). I'm dubious about relying on rich film fans without the same level of experience to produce the next batch of great films (I know more about private investment now, I realise that it funds more films than you would think (i.e. all of Uwe Boll's films are funded privately), and I realise that I too am relying heavily on money coming through from pirvate investors. But I wanted to leave this part in as I still think it's a valid concern).

I wish films didn't cost so much to make. I don't think the creative people should have to be involved with the money people. To me it's so obviously two separate worlds that don't mix. I get that films are expensive and talking to the money-driven people has made me question why I'm bothering. At the same time, speaking to the creative people, the short film makers in particular, reminds me exactly why I want to write films.

I did kind of lose my patience with the late night networking thing in the end. There's an element of Cannes that's a kind of work night out for the whole of the film industry. And I mean work night out in the binge-drinking, straight down the pub after work on a Friday, doing things you'd rather not remember the next day kind of thing. Most of the plans being made here seem to be dinner plans, drinking plans, party plans - I've not heard anyone make any plans about moving a project forward. I realise now that Cannes isn't really about films, it's about making money so you can come along next year and spend another week getting pissed with the other investors.

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