I was glad to see the article in today’s Times, entitled “Make a hit festival? Yes, we Cannes”. I’ll sum it up with one quote: “It’s not about hanging out on the beach with a glass of champagne,” [says] Clare Binns, programming director of City Screen, the UK’s largest independent film exhibitor. “It’s like a military operation. You have a meeting at the crack of dawn, you decide what films you’re going to, what lunches, what events, and then you’re off, from 6am till 2am. Without doubt, it’s the hardest I work all year.”
Personally, the parties I have been to are rarely what they look like in the photos. Many of the people wear faces that say, “Drat, I should have accepted the invitation to that other party”. There’s always a rumour that Marty, Clint, Francis or whoever (the major players only need first names) will turn up. They rarely do – or only for 15 minutes of flashing cameras. Personally, I think they use their PAs to ensure they can all meet in the backroom of a restaurant and do some serious networking or a game of bridge without the hassle of the big parties.
I often use the word “slog” or “schlep”, as you’ll do a lot of it at Cannes, running from a flat down the Croisette to a meeting in the Palais to lunch near the station to the hotel to change shirt to a screening (that you rarely manage to see in full) to another meeting somewhere down the Croisette in a bar your correspondent has difficulty describing to you by phone.
So for one of the most accurate accounts of attending Cannes for business, check The Times.