I have been to the Cannes Film Festival twice. Once in 2017 representing a
Greek Film “Swing Away” for a Brazilian American Company called Tele Up and in 2018 for a Short Film I Co – Produced with a Bangladeshi / American production called “Made in China” Director Sarwar Habib at the Marche Du Film Short Film Corner. Then the pandemic happened. I’m pining for the day that I will come back to Cannes. I would always play the Journey song ” Don’t Stop Believin’ ” on youtube to encourage me. I even posted it on my social media.
Fast forward to 2023. I am back at the March Du Film (Film Market) of the Cannes Film Festival in the Short Film Corner with a whole program for my International Film Festival Manhattan Industry Screening at the Palais G held at 5 PM last May 24, 2023. I featured short films from Norway, Philippines, Portugal and the USA. Each film were represented by filmmakers including Director Sander Lid Fiskaa from Norway for the film ” The Next Door, ” Actor Writer Luis Pedron from Philippines / USA for the short ” Waiting Room. ”
Actress Anna Carvalho from Portugal/USA for the film ” Flower, ” Director Dinarte De Freitas and Producer Eric Newnham from Portugal for the short ” Garden Gnome,” Actress / Producer Lia Fietz from Portugal / Germany for the film ” Kidding ?, ” Actress Ana-Maria Bandean from Romania / USA and Producer Richard Drutman for the two short films ” Curbside Pickup ” and ” Why Don’t You Google Me. ” Filmmakers from France and different countries attended our event notable guest were: Author/Photographer/Director Sam Samore (USA), Producer/Director Arvin Belarmino (Philippines), Writer Kyla Romero (Philippines), Actress/Director Daria Pisareva (France) and Caprice Crawford, CEO of Crawford Talents, International Actors Management Agency based in Berlin Germany.
We did a full Q&A of the filmmakers in attendance. The common topic of the short films were Mental Illness, Depression and How people cope with these problems. The abovementioned short film program will also eventually do a tour of the New York City area to continue the conversation of this topic on Depression that a lot of us experienced during the lockdown and the pandemic.The set of filmmakers that participated in our program learned a lot and successfully networked and found future collaborators. All are inspired to come back with a new film next year. I am grateful to this first batch. They have now created an alliance amongst themselves and vow to create collaborative projects together.
I was blessed enough to get Film Industry Accreditation at the Cannes Film Festival this year. FYI, I was denied the same accreditation in 2021 and 2022. I was able to watch a few film screenings including Premiere Red Carpet Nights at the Grand Theatre Lumiere for the films: “L’Abbe Pierre – A Century of Devotion” Director: Frederic Tellier (France) and “Cobweb” Director: Kim Jee-Won (Korea), Closing Night Film “Elemental” Director: Peter Sohn (USA). I also got to watched “Kennedy” Director: Anurag Kashyap (India) at the Cineum Theatre Cannes. All of my experiences and feedback about these films were documented in my film reviews published on CinemaDailyUS.com
A weekend at a film festival will not be complete without a funny anecdote. Being blessed to be at the “Cobweb” afterparty at the 3.41 Rooftop Venue Space at 5 Rue Francois Eindesy at Cannes on May 25, 2023. At about 2AM when the party was about to end, I decided to do my TikTok Dance of Jisoo Flower (Korean), low and behold the “Cobweb,” “Parasite” lead actor Song Kang-Ho passed by. It’s all featured in a reel that I have on my Instagram. I am embarrassed that it happened to him passing by when I was dancing but I’m happy I have the video to prove I was there.LOL ! I’m hoping that video goes viral.
I have a few suggestions and lessons learned from this Cannes Film Festival trip of mine in 2023.
1) If you have decided to attend the festival, book your flight and hotel far in advance about 4 months. For flights Hopper.com is the best to predict when you should buy a ticket or wait. For Hotels the best is Booking.com be sure to look for hotels that you can Cancel just in case for some reason you can not push through with your plans. Your Flight to Nice Airport should arrive before 830PM the last Zou Bus #81 to Gare De Cannes (Cannes Bus / Train Station) is 10PM. The price is 19 Euros each way (you can pay in cash on the bus}. If not, be prepared to pay as much as 100 Euros each way for a taxi ride to Cannes.
2) For those who get to Cannes and you do not have any accreditation or pass, you can watch films at the Quinzaine Directors’ Fortnight located at the Theatre Croisette, J.W. Marriott. This is the only program where you can buy tickets without a pass. All programs at the Cannes Film Festival are free but you need to get a Cannes Film Festival or Marche Du Film Pass to enter any venue or building. Quinzaine is the one that featured a Talk Back Event of Quentin Tarantino.
3) You can watch films at the Cannes Classic and Cinema de Plage at the Croisette on the Open Air screening happening by the Mediterranean Sea. This event is for free every night.
4) To get around Cannes to go to and fro screening rooms and venues, you can avail of the free shuttle buses called the Palm Bus. Be sure to get the QR code to get in for free.
5) If you were to attend any film premiere at the Main Theater which is the Grand Theatre Lumiere you need to be in a Black Tux and Bowtie and Gowns for women. For men and women you need to be in your fine leather shoes and heels at the events but please bring your comfortable shoes, sneakers or sandals to change on your way back to your hotel. I did not bring comfortable shoes and walked with my new leather shoes everywhere so I ended up with bloodied blisters the last two days of my trip. If you get a blister please bandage it with a Hydrocolloid Plaster (Elastoplast in Europe) to avoid it getting worse.
4 Days at Cannes was not enough to do an event, watch films, party and network. I will probably go for 7 days days next time. Meanwhile I know it’s still a year from the Cannes Film Festival 2024, but I’m already planning my next trip to the biggest film festival in the world. I’m very excited !