Red Diamond Films Inc.

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NEWS

CANNES 2008!!!

Posted by reddiamondfilmsinc on June 9, 2008 at 2:31 AM
Forget the Glitz, Glam, and all that Jazz... Here's how it really went down:

Traveling Day 1: May 9th
2:30pm, I'm on time...for once, but the car service is late, and the driver picks up other passengers instead of going straight to the airport.  This costs us an hour.  The highway is deadlocked, my flight is at 5:30, we don?t get to the airport until 5:00 on the dot, and needless to say they wouldn't let me on the plane.  I missed my flight.  I break down into hysterical tears.  The lovely Air France counter attendant sympathizes; he sets me up with a discounted stay at the Wyndam (which was really nice) for the night, and fixes my flight for the next day to an even better flight with no airport change from CDG to ORLY as was my original reservation.  God bless him.  So I enjoy the good night of rest having no idea how badly I would need it.

Traveling Day 2/Cannes Day 1: May 10th-11th
It is now May 10th, I've lost a whole day, 2 days really, because by the time we get to France it will be the 11th because of the time difference, which ruins my plans for hopping over to London to see my Aunt or Italy to see my sister, but Im still on my way to Cannes so all is nowhere near lost.  This time I'm hours early. ?  I'm getting excited again.  The flight was about 7-8 hours of hot, sticky, smelly air, and small seats, and it was about an hour late, but we made it.  The individual movie/video game players at every chair helped. ?  I scrambled to get to the 2nd flight that would take me from Paris CDG airport down to Nice airport, where I would have to take the bus down to Cannes.  Simply happy not to have to change airports, I did not expect the next surprise.  On this small, one hall, no first class having flight, Mr. Sean Penn, President of this years Jury himself is sitting in the very first seat!  I double take and almost lose it, but I keep walking.  I will forever kick myself for not speaking up and telling him how ?I Am Sam? rocked!  I just had this overwhelming sense of ?Don?t be one of those people.  Don?t harass him on this long arduous trip?.  So I didn?t.  Not even when he was standing on the other side of the luggage conveyor belt waiting to get his bags, I just couldn?t do it, and everyone I know has been mad at me for not talking to him ever since.  Sorry guys.  It?s even worse considering that he was also on my return flight, but we?ll get to that in a bit.

A drowsy 45 minute bus ride to Cannes, plus a 10 minute taxi up to the studio where I would be staying, and I'm begging for my bed at this point.  No such luck Nad.  Because the ?gardien? was expecting me the day before on Saturday, he wasn?t there on Sunday to receive me because it is his day off.  I'm locked out of the flat.  It?s about 1 pm in the afternoon and my contact tells me that the only person who can let me in won?t be back until 6:30pm.  She advises me to go see the sites downtown.  Great.  Some nice residents let me in the gate so I can at least stow my luggage in the lobby of the apartment.  Tired and astounded, I wander into the Palais Stephanie hotel, 30 minutes walk downtown, to freshen up and have a cold drink and they were very accommodating.  I tell them my crazy travel story, we all get a good laugh, I feel better.  This was only day 2, but it does get better. 

Cannes Day 2: May 12th
It?s May 12th and I'm in Cannes too early for the festival fun, which starts on the 14th, and too late for the other trips I had planned.  I'm bored.  But as I see the whole city abuzz setting up for the event I know my excitement can reemerge at any moment.  I check out the historic sites like the beautiful church Notre-Dame d'Esperance and I basically mill around getting to know my surroundings.  My flat is a 30 minute walk to the Croisette (the street strip the festival is on) and that?s uphill all the way the back, so I chill.  As I'm walking, a nice French guy falls in love with me and actually pursues me from the main street to the church saying (in French) that he saw me walking and found me so charming that he had to meet me and when I disappeared he drove around until he found me again.  I had a café with him for his trouble.  Ah, the French, ha ha.

Cannes Day 3: May 13th
May 13th and the fun is almost here? I get my accreditation badge, which is like GOLD if you want access to anything festival related, because security is very high.  I take my new found gold and the silver ?Look at me I have Cannes accred? tote bag they give all participants and head off to do touristy things.  I take a trolley tour of the city, then head back to the flat for fest prep.

Festival Day 1: May 14th
May 14th finally arrives and it has begun. :D  I go down to the Croisette very early and hang out in the Short Film Corner, which is the section of the festival I was registered for and pretty much the whole reason I got access to anything at all.  Let?s see if I can explain the most wonderful, yet confusing film festival of all time:
    There are 2 main parts to this festival; the glitz and glam of the red carpet premieres, which attracts all the fans and ultimately generates the necessary funds to continue with the meat and potatoes of the festival, which is the 2nd part, the Marché or film market.  This is where the big boys?and gals do the hardcore film industry business of buying and selling all the flicks we will see for the upcoming year or so.  The Palais is the huge building where 99.99% of all the most important stuff happens.  So imagine that underneath the red carpet while Angelina glides up those famed stairs, starting in the basement and ascending up a few other levels of the building is the most buzzing supermarket for films in the world.  Booths for companies that have films to sell to distributors and vise versa are arranged in the most odd mini town-like way.  And every booth gets more elaborate than the next; indulgent couches, café style seating, small offices within booths, you name it they do what ever it takes to make clients and future business partners happy.  Some of the set ups were pretty sweet.  And all the posters and displays of all the movies up for grabs on every corner in every booth was very exciting. 

I got to know my little portion, the short film corner (the SFC) a bit, but the big deal that night was the 1st premiere of the festival, which was the movie Blindness with Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo.  All of the competition films are invite or invite plus badge only, so getting a ticket for a newbie or normal fan is a miracle.  This is why I know God is awesome, I got into 7 premieres, a wonderful homage to legendary filmmaker Manoel De Oliveira in the same room just feet away from all the celebs anyone could want to see, plus the very exclusive Quentin Tarantino Lesson on Cinema.  God is awesome!  And I have all the ticket stubs to prove it, LOL.

So that night I didn?t know how to get in, but I saw various people dressed up and holding signs pleading for tickets.  I was in my day clothes and the premieres are dress attire only, so I said what the heck, I hopped in a cab, raced back to my flat, had the driver wait for me 10 minutes while I did a superman quick change, ran back downstairs where the driver told me to ?please breathe? as he laughed at my feverish determination to rush back to the Palais (it was a pretty funny scene), and it all paid off.  I made a sign that said ?Help me see ?Blindness? Invitation S.V.P.?.  SVP is s?il vous plait ie French for please, and my clever sign got me mocked, laughed at, taken in several pictures, but in the end a nice girl came up to me and handed me a ticket for the 2nd showing.  ?       

Blindness was a brilliantly made movie, but the events that happen to the characters are so horrific I could never recommend the film to anyone.

Festival Day 2: May 15th
The short film corner proved to be a great starting off point for a young filmmaker, and one of the staff guys was really cute and kind (his girlfriend's name is Nadia too, ouch!), so it was a fun place to be.  But, what I really needed to do was talk to buyers and work the market for help and advice on getting my features made.  So by day I was Ms Film business chick and by night I was Madame red carpet; learning all I could from the great forums and people and enjoying the fest for all its worth.  It was exhausting carrying everything I needed with me all day because it was too long a trip to go back home, and changing in bathrooms for evening wear was funny, but tiring after a while.  I stopped gunning for access to premieres by the 20th and selected my agenda very carefully toward business after that.

However, the 15th was one of the best days because I got into 2 great premieres back to back that night; Pablo Trapero's Leonera (The Lion's Den) a great girl power flick, and the movie I wanted to see most of all, Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu?KUNG FU PANDA!, and that movie ROCKED THE BIG ONE!!!!!!  Action every second, funny all the way through and to top it all off I was in the main premiere with all of the stars who were in the movie!  I was in the balcony, but it was great, because when the movie was about to start, Jack Black yells out "Yeah!", and the whole audience breaks out laughing.  It was the best-behaved audience of the event, I assume because of the caliber of stars present.  At some of the other premieres the audiences were rude and kept clapping at every pre-movie company logo for fun, very annoying.  I only got pictures of the stars from the closed circuit tv that night because they had us seated before the main actors walked the red carpet.  But being in the same room with people I admire so much was magical.

And for the record: Leonera star Martina Gusman is the next big thing to look out for, she's very gritty, edgy, and very early Foxfire era Angelina Jolie.

Festival Day 3: May 16th
During the day of the 16th, there was a pretty good round table event on the 7 deadly sins of moving from short to feature.  It was great that the panel members had varying viewpoints so all sides of the issues were addressed.  At this point I was getting a strong handle on the fact that features are where it?s at.  And the discussion gave me a great sense of exactly what types of features do the best internationally, which helped me narrow down my choice for my first feature, which will be ?The Light?, God willing. (See the Movies section for more details)

That night I saw the late night premiere of Nuri Bilge Ceylan's 3 Monkeys.  The imagery was breathtaking and the story was good; emotional and heart-breaking.  But it had all of these very long non-moving, non-speaking takes and at that late at night all I could do was watch the gentleman next to me with his head blobbing in and out of sleep as I tried to pry my own eyes open.

Festival Day 4: May 17th
The 17th started with a great talk on film finance and ended with one of the greatest, saddest, and at times funniest South Korean action thriller I've ever seen; Na Hong-Jin's The Chaser.  I was in the premiere with the cast present.  And it was kind of scary looking right at the guy who played the villain after seeing the movie, because he was SO convincing; just a little creepy moment there. 
   
Festival Day 5: May 18th
Today was beg for Indiana Jones tickets time, which I did not get into, no chance Charlie.  But I did get to see Shia LaBeouf's cute lil bad boy self walk the red carpet with all those French girls screaming after him.  They almost made me deaf; fun stuff.  But, I've been a supporter of his since Even Stevens so those fair weather fans can back off, LOL.  And of course Harrison Ford and Calista, and George Lucas, and Spielberg were all there looking brilliant as well.

That night I saw 2 premieres, both equally and oppositely graphic; Brillante Mendoza's Serbis with it?s graphic to the point of shocking sexual content, and Matteo Garrone's Gomorra with its jarring violence.  I guess we?re so used to everything being censored in the states we forget that the international guys let it all fly.  Don?t worry guys, I?ve successfully blocked out most of the bad images from my kind little mind, ha ha.  Serbis was a very real story and I understood where it was coming from even without all the graphics.  Gomorra was based on true circumstances if not events and it too was very real, and full of pain.

Before I forget, I'm leaving out a very important part of Cannes; Happy Hour!  All the business types keep a pretty 9-5, but still stressful, day during Cannes with the exception of the news boys who have to crank out a new 20 or so page magazine every day of the fest and get no sleep at all.  So at around 5:30pm everyday the alcohol comes out and just keeps flowing!  All along the beach is what is called the International Village, consisting of a long series of tent house booths called Pavilions set up for each country participating in Cannes.  And just about every country has cocktails at happy hour with free drinks and fancy hors d'oeuvres, not to mention the huge happy hour fetes every day in the SFC.  This one time, at the Cannes film festival, (hee hee hee hee), I got pretty much kidnapped by the Polish pavilion people who forced me (wink wink) to enjoy all the free drinks and rather tasty hors d'oeuvres.  At this point I was meeting great new people everyday, and I met some great Polish Pav people that day too.  All I know is the Polish can kidnap me anytime, ha ha.

This was also the night I got into my first real Cannes party (these can be harder to get into than the premieres).  Some great filmmakers I met from Germany brought me in on their invite to the IFQ (Independent Film Quarterly) magazine party.  The view from the penthouse was amazing; I could see the whole Croisette strip.  For the first time, I felt a little of that behind the scenes life that no regular person sees during Cannes, and made some great contacts.

Festival Day 6: May 19th
Now this whole time I had been blessed by random tickets and a few tickets I got by the badge points system that allows accredited people to get into certain screenings, but none like this; The Homage to Manoel de Oliveira.  I regret my ignorance of this honored man's works, but I'm not so up on my Portuguese filmmakers.  A security guard actually gave me this ticket while I was looking lost and put out about not getting into any premieres so far that day.  So even though I wasn't completely sure of what he was giving me a ticket for, because there were so many films going on that day, I was overjoyed to received the kindness.  The ticket was for a balcony seat, but for some reason they were filling the orchestra (star level) seats with single people, not with a group.  So I was placed about 30 ft away from Sean Penn, Natalie Portman, and Clint Eastwood!  I couldn't believe that I was there, and all I could think was, "How did I get in here"?  This is great!? and that ?Someday I?ll get to tell them this story in person.?  Because of course there was no way to get to them past all the attendants.

Festival Day 7 & 8: May 20th ? 21st
For the next two days it was all business all the time and I loved it.  I screened Cuidado for a few people because I found out that the buyers, who I invited, don't have time to go to the screenings.  I would meet them all later at the SFC breakfast so it was no big deal.  I tried to take in as much film knowledge & fun as I could; a future of film distribution lecture in the Canada Pav, an SFC roundtable on digital film, an American Pav & South African Pav party, panel discussions on marketing, distribution, finance, a great and extremely valuable pitch training workshop.  It truly was like concentrating 4 years of film school into two weeks in France.  I also walked as much of the Marché as I could and met with as many sales agents, distributors and film industry professionals as I could to learn more about the biz.  Again I made some really great contacts who are interested in helping me get The Light made.

At night I got into more parties due to some great friends and I really felt that I was making the most of both the fun and serious sides of Cannes.

Festival Day 9: May 22nd
Then came a day I had waited for since before it was posted on the official Cannes Film Fest site; A lesson in cinema by Quentin Tarantino.  I knew this would be a wealth of knowledge just up for grabs and of course it was invite only, so I had no idea how to get in.  Standing in the very back of the very very very long line, I thought to myself, "This is ridiculous.  There is no way I'm getting in just standing here in the back.  2 thirds of this line won't get in so I have nothing to lose, I have to try asking around for a ticket."  So I ditched the back of the line and went up to the entrance to beg anyone passing by if they had an extra ticket.  It was chaotic, loads of people were pushing and it was a very long shot, but lo and behold a man in a nice suit looking very lost had 2 tickets in his hand.  I asked him and as if it was no big deal he said sure I have an extra, and I was in!  One of the biggest lessons I learned in Cannes was to never be afraid to try, just ask for what you need and you never know what can happen, ie speak up!  I helped the man find his way to the front to get in and it was great to be able to help him for what he had just done for me.

Again, I couldn't believe the blessing.  That nice man had great seats in the reserved section of all places, and I was front and center for the whole interview/lesson.  I took notes vigorously.  It was cool, great, awesome, everything to hear Quentin's influences and advice in person.  He advocated:
?    Taking acting lessons first to become a good director because you learn to take responsibility for the outcome of a scene when you act in one, and that's the tool you need to know as a director
?    Not stressing yourself to go to film school because learning while you make a film is the best way to really learn film
?    Rehearse until it's second nature because if the scenes are well rehearsed, by the time you are ready to shoot, you save time and money by not having so many mistakes.
He also gave great anecdotes about how hard his life was before breaking into film and how he learned that some people will love your work while others hate it completely so you can't aim to please, just to do your thing.  The lesson showed some of the best clips of his movies and he explained each one, which gave me a whole new understanding of his work.  Of his films that I've loved, many I've stayed away from due to the violence and he explained the aim for realism in the pain of violence and death that he was trying to convey not just random violence with no purpose.  It made sense and I really learned a lot. 

After the lecture, I was on such a high of hope for my own film future by the similarities between his past and my present that I had a newfound determination to try harder for Red Diamond Films Inc.  But, I was tired at this point and needed coffee to really take charge of the rest of the day.  On my way out of the free espresso booth the beautiful Faye Dunaway walked right past me on the way in to get some coffee herself.   This was a crazy great day.  That morning I had attended the short film buyer breakfast and got to meet all the buyers looking to acquire shorts.  So by the end of this day I was on cloud 9.

Festival Day 10: May 23nd
There are 2 days left to the festival, but the Marché is a ghost town.  All the big-time film buyers and sellers had efficiently made their schedules of meetings and connections, so they were done; packed up shop swiftly and were all gone.  The SFC had ended the day before as well with a series of awards ceremonies and happy hour events that I missed in order to see the Tarantino lesson and make some last minute business connections.

I finally slept in this day after having gotten not very much sleep this whole trip, but with no regrets on any sleep lost.  I attended the Reel Ideas awards ceremony for up and coming filmmakers from film schools around the world.  The students produced documentary projects during the festival for prizes and recognition.  Their documentaries were great and I knew I was looking at some of the best new talent in film that will be coming out of the gate soon.  I was invited by one of the competing groups after having been in a one-minute pitch short they made, which was fun;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEgfVQji0bQ
   
Festival Day 11: May 24th
Winding down, today was a day to chill, watch screenings, and party with my new friends on the cold beach, which was the running joke at Cannes that the weather was less than cooperative. 

I'm not sure what day it was, but I also saw the Mike Tyson documentary, which was very insightful into whom he really is.  It was nice to hear the story from the horse's mouth.
 
Festival Day 12: May 25nd  Last Day of the Festival
The last day of the festival and I moved from my flat into a tiny hotel less than 5 minutes walk from the Palais.  My goals for the last day were to see the re-screenings of in-competition movies I had missed, and to get into the closing ceremony.  I didn't get to see everything I missed because I stayed in from the rain for a bit.  The last minute access line to the ceremony was useless as it had been the last few times I tried to get into a screening that way.  But fortunately I was able to watch the whole ceremony from the closed circuit tv inside the Palais.  As soon as "The Class" was announced as the winner of the Palme D'Or, the biggest prize of the festival, I checked the schedule and the film was conveniently (nudge nudge) playing in about an hour after the ceremony.  I rushed over to the theater to beat the crowd, who would no doubt form once they heard the news.  It was a great movie realistically depicting the failure of the current school system to educated new millennium kids and to truly meet the needs of the teachers and the students.  It was also a great telling on how detrimental it is for a teacher to have low expectations of his students because they will never maximize their potential if not challenged.  However, I couldn't say that this was the best film of all of Cannes hands down just because it got the Palme because there were many great films.  And thinking about why this film got the Palme, it was interesting that the contributors to this film were all of the main French TV and film production companies participating in the festival.  

May 26th My last Day in Cannes
The morning of the 26th, time to just get on those planes and go home.  This couldn't possibly be an eventful day, right?  Wrong!  The icing on the cake of this whole entire trip happened that day, and it all started with missing my flight, AGAIN.  My flight was at 9:05 am, so I had to catch the bus from Cannes to Nice at 7:00 am, but I was tired and didn't make it to the stop until 7:20 thinking that surely there was a 7:30 bus.  The next bus wasn't until 8:00 and it's a 45-minute ride.  I was really upset with myself and we didn't get to the airport until 8:55.  Everyone was leaving Cannes in mass exodus fashion so every single plane was booked and I was told by the kind Air France attendant that the waiting list for the next flight out was my best bet.  She put me on the list and happily I made it on the 10:10 flight to CDG again avoiding the airport change I would have had to make from ORLY to CDG.  

Waiting in line to board the plane, happy to be going home, I look over to the boarding entrance and there is Sean Penn being let onto the flight especially early.  I laugh to myself that there is no way anyone is going to believe he was on my flights twice, but before I could ponder this further, Quentin Tarantino walks right past me to stand near the back of the line.  After closing my dropped jaw, I try to make my way over to talk to him because I got so much out of his lecture, but before I could, some other people recognized him as well and the fanaticism began; autographs and pictures and one lady who didn't speak English and wouldn't leave until he gave her both an autograph and a picture and I thought, "I'll just wait until they stop harassing him." 

Once they finally stopped, I went up and quietly got his attention and told him how much I appreciated his lecture.  A few people and myself asked him why he didn't get the special treatment like Sean Penn did and board the plane ahead of everyone, and he humbly said he felt stupid doing things like that.  It's funny to see a celeb who shys from special treatment, but pretty cool.  He surprised me by asking what specific things I got out of the lecture, and anyone who knows me knows what happens when I get a chance to talk about film; I'm kind of like the energizer bunny on crack with how excited I get.  So I told him about how it was hopeful for me to see all the crap he went through before making it, and how I went to acting school before directing like he advocated and how I was worried that I should've gone to film school, but not anymore since the lecture etc.  I told him about the vampire flick I'm gearing up to do next and he recommended I see Blood of the Vampire, which still hasn't arrived from my blockbuster online account yet.  I also told him how I didn?t understand the violence of his films until he explained it.  He was glad I really got something out of it and I was talking so much I forgot to introduce myself so I said, ?Oh sorry, I'm Nadia by the way?, and he said ?Well what?s your last name so I can keep up with you?.  It was so funny.  So I managed to give him my full name and my card so he could keep up with my progress and I hope he does.  It was great talking to him, he was cool and normal and encouraging.  I was nervous because I'm a goober, but I was so glad that I had spoken up and talked to him.  I hope someday we'll get to work together, but in the meantime I have to get my first feature under my belt.  So Q.T. If you're reading this, I want to say thanks for everything, and feel free to hit me up with an email or a call because the treatment and script for The Light are all ready to go and I'm ready to blow the doors of Hollywood wide open Kamikaze style!

That's my Cannes 2008 story.  It was crazy, hectic, fun, exciting, and best of all I got to speak the language I love and have spent so many years learning in the actual country it's from.  I got lots of compliments on my French and it got me out of quite a few sticky security situations when trying to get in and out of the Palais and high security screenings.

Any and all suggestions, advice, resource referrals, and well wishes are welcome as I now attempt to get my first feature made.  Thank you all.  Love & God Bless.

- Nadia

See Pics of the trip here!

UPDATE: So I rented Blood of the Vampire, and it was totally not what I expected.  It was a really different twist on the tale and I liked the perspective; an intelligent scientist vampire, searching for the cure, a victim of his own affliction, yet still B.A. in his own right.  It was cool beans, and I am inspired.  My official 2nd draft of The Light is almost ready. :) - Nadia  30-Dec-08

Categories: President/ CEO Nadia Garnier's Blog, Business News

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