Cannes Ya Dig It?
My experience at the Cannes film festival
I had a unique adventure in Cannes for a week. I had the luxurious variable of traveling with someone who has gone to the festival over 20 times, a seasoned vet if you will, my step-father Steven Gaydos, VP of Variety magazine. My very best friend in the world, Holly, met me there, and we made a great bunch of friends who were all filmmakers of some sort.
First of all, Cannes is a small French Riviera city, and by way of conversations with the few local born and raised French friends I made, the city is slow and boring all year long until the festival comes to town.
We realized a few key things about the festival after the first few nights of what me and Holly dubbed “Keeping up with Gaydos”; which refers to quite literally following my step-dad quickly from flat to cocktail party, to dinner party, to another party- on cobblestones, in heels. “Keeping up with Gaydos”, for us also referred to keeping up with the amount of movie knowledge (which is impossible) constantly being thrown into every conversation, and names of people we were meeting- who they were and what they did.
One thing about Cannes is, it really is a giant business convention. It is the mecca of movie making networking. If I had been there with a personal project, I would have without a doubt found some people on my wavelength. Even though I didn’t go there with business in mind, I absolutely made some awesome friends with people who, you never know; I could end up doing some writing collab with in the future.
Being engulfed in the energy of Cannes for me was at first both, exciting and intimidating. I do not work in production or finance, I am not an actor (though many asked me if I was), and when I revealed I consider myself a writer, the next question was “What films have you written?” Then the moment of feeling a bit unsuccessful or not-as-cool-as-you, could set in because I would think “I haven’t written a film, I work in a restaurant and you wouldn’t recognize my work anywhere in your world.” But what I would really say is,
“Although I have dabbled in script, I find that form comes more naturally when I have a writing partner. I’m currently working on some personal projects, more along the lines of fiction and travel writing.”
See what I did there?
That’s the ol’ Hollywood spin. But regardless of the level of commercial success, or actual quality of work presented, everyone is there to be the coolest, best version of themselves they can be all year. Of course, the heavy hitters, the vets of the festival, don’t need to talk about themselves. Their conversations revolve around or at least veer off towards movie trivia!
“Anastasia, this is so-and-so he and I worked on (name a film).” Steve would introduce me.
Then So-and-so makes a joke by quoting the film, then maybe the 2 of them finish out the scene and end with a chuckle of the good old days passed. It was awesome to see the industry friendships and multiple personalities that inhabit the southern French city in may every year. Like the old brit in salmon pink shorts and orange suede loafers, acting out a story of his youth where he fell for and accompanied a mob princess on her yacht to the Aeolian Islands with her hot Italian friends and their well dressed security.
What’s inspiring about your first time at Cannes is that you are surrounded by people with success, you are surrounded by creative thinking minds, you are surrounded by people who want to do more work. THAT makes me want to wake my ass up earlier than I want to every morning and write. I am a writer, when all is said and done; this is what I will always be doing with my life.
Time to write something to get optioned for a movie! Seriously though…
It’s fun to be fancy for a week, wearing my nicest dresses and my favorite heels. Fancy cocktail parties that are invite only and star-studded, like the Chopard award party at the Martinez hotel. The fashion, the diamonds, the shoes! I felt like a moth attracted to the flame! This fancy nightlife is perfectly balanced by days spent oiled up and laying in the sun at one of the many beach lounges where you can rent a bed for the day. Of course, when you are there for business, you have meetings and not as much time to luxuriate in the sunshine. But that was the glory of riding the Variety coat tails, Holly and I got invited to fun parties and got to bop around during the day.
It’s a trip to see such famous faces just sitting around you enjoying themselves. It’s also a trip to look up the party you were at the next day and see who was actually there and the hype that was on it. Like the Chopard Gold party. This was a massive space set to look like a Gold mine, complete with minors with headlamps and strong arms, and giant gold nuggets to sit on. Models both hired and guests were adorned in dripping diamonds and gold. Only the next day when looking up photos trying to find my photo taken on the carpet, did I realize how star studded the event was.
The flip side of that is, “Thank god I don’t have to be fancy and shmoozy in everyday life!” After 8 days of heels and cobblestones, I have sworn off heels for at least a few months. As you would probably expect there is some pretentiousness that I try to avoid in my Los Angeles reality. But its film, and its Cannes, so it is what it is.
Being invited to the best parties means making friends. Which is honestly impossible not to do. We absolutely adored the group of young guys we made friends with. The majority of us were first time Canners, the majority of them had a first time film in the competition. They were all intelligent and funny and kind and exactly the kinds of friends I have at home. It was absolutely invigorating to make travel friends that I feel could be real creative collab buddies. You don’t get that everywhere you go.
I went to two red carpet premiers. The one that shook me to the core and left me wanting, needing, crying for more was the documentary AMY, directed by Asif Kapadia. The film has gotten a lot of slack from her father, who doesn’t necessarily come out in the best light in the film. In my opinion the film was unbiased, not trying to point blame on anyone for her demise. It did however, show the truth about the variables that were affecting her life. The fame was too much and too fast for her, and she was so sensitive and vulnerable. The tragedy of Amy Winehouse is a double -edged sword of creative genius and profound difficulty. I am forever inspired and touched and grateful for Amy, the film, the music, the voice, and the woman.
I cannesT wait to go back, and possibly go back with a creative project!
Yay new friends! Yay best friends! Yay adventures!
The view on a overcast day from the Chopard showroom on the top floor of the Martinez Hotel
View from our top floor flat at the street below
Cocktail party at Nikki Beach
Steve and Julianne Moore presented awards to Jack O'connel and Lola Kirke. Lola was an absolute doll when we chatted.
Beach babe @miss_Dillon
The coolest pole pic I have ever taken. I think I will make this a thing whenever I see a carousel while traveling!
A nice fellow saw how much fun we were having and asked to take our picture.
This large open air market, called Forville Market, is there everyday of the week with fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and oils. On mondays it becomes a flee market with lots of cool old vintage books.
Red Carpet for AMY
Polish Film party.