The first special screening I saw hits closer to home because it is about the BP oil drilling fiasco that occurred only last year. The Big Fix is a film by director Josh and Rebecca Tickell that documented the problems brought about by the largest oil spill in history. The film did not only center on the actual disaster but what went on behind the scenes. By exposing the root causes of the spill, the filmmakers uncover a vast network of corruption and provided a damning indictment of a system of government led by a powerful and secretive oligarchy that puts the pursuit of profit over all other human and environmental needs (Festival de Cannes 2011). The film is awake up call not only for those directly affected by it but the rest of the world too especially if corporate greed is not tempered.
The French film Michel Petrucciani by director Michael Radford is a poignant story about a man affected with Brittle Bone Disease from birth. Michel managed to dominate his handicap, and became a gifted musician of international renown. The director draws forth a portrait of this great jazz pianist using interviews, archive films and photos, seeking to understand the nature of creativity. (Festival de Cannes 2011)
There is one important lesson learnt from the two films and that is the importance of facing up to the challenges and overcoming them. The BP story mankind's frailties but the areas affected recovered gradually while Michel's was a personal battle with a physical ability but saw him achieving his dreams in life.
Day Seven Journal
Today was spent running around from one lecture or presentation to another. I made sure I get into as many talks as possible because they were being presented by powerhouses of the film industry. I first went to the presentation of Lorraine Carrady Quinn, co-head with Billy Goldberg of Caribbean Cinemas. In her talk, Ms. Quinn told her audience "about the business of creating a unique, engaging and attractive theater experience that is differentiated from watching the same movies at home. She also talked about subtitling films in multiple languages (for the many diverse nations in the Caribbean), marketing different genres of films to different markets and what has been successful from her business experience and how this extends to broader scenarios. (Rosler 2011)" Her lecture provided important information on how to maintain a balance between the business and artistic side of the film industry thus providing a win-win scenario for both investors/financiers and the viewing public.
Billy Goldberg's lecture was quite inspiring because it relates to an important topic in each aspiring filmmaker's mind especially those that are still training to become one. He spoke about what jobs are available in the film industry and how to go about getting these wonderful and challenging opportunities. He also talked "about the Tribeca distribution company that he works for (a new manifestation of the popular film festival) and how, since they are much smaller and don't have resources to get movies in theaters and do massive ad campaigns, many smaller movies are more frequently being released as video-on-demand via cable services. (Rosler 2011)" Attending these two presentations enabled me to have a clearer picture of the kind of work I really want to do in the film industry.
Day Eight Journal
More lectures were available on day eight of the festival. For today though, I chose only the one given by Jeff Berg, Chairman and CEO of International Creative Management (ICM). Mr. Berg explained the difference between agencies and management firms in Hollywood as well as the process he goes through when he is given screenplays to read, and communicating appropriate roles to the actors and filmmakers he represents (Rosler 2011). This presentation provided a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes before a film actually starts shooting. It showed how important screenplays are since they serve as the lifeblood of the film and without them; there can never be any finished product to speak of. While Mr. Berg was talking, he also explained that screenplays are not "cast in stone" but are living documents since changes thereto occur all throughout the life cycle of producing a film.
Following Mr. Berg's lecture, I viewed a French film under the Un Certain Regard category entitled Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro (The Snows of Kilimanjaro) by director Robert Guediguian. The movie was inspired from Victor Hugo's poem How Good are the Poor and tells of the story of a man and woman in love and building a happy and loving family. The love and happiness was "shattered by two armed and masked men who attacked them violently, tie them up, and snatch the money they had received to go for a trip to Kilimanjaro (Festival de Cannes 2011)." The story is not only of love but a different kind of betrayal as well, a betrayal originating from an expected source that saw devastating effects on the characters of the film.
Day Nine Journal
I consider today more of a fun and relax day similar to day five when I did a tour of the city of Cannes. I stayed within the confines of the festival though where I tagged along with seasoned film journalists and critics interviewing various stars and film celebrities as well as movers and shakers of the industry. A more interesting interview though occurred with veteran film star Peter Fonda. Mr. Fonda did not talk much about his life and the film industry but delve more into the political milieu. He was talking about his problems with the current American president and the administration especially in how problems of the United States are being dealt with. He said that his annoyance with the U.S. government went so far as him sending an email to President Barack Obama, "You're a traitor, you allowed foreign boots on our soil telling our military -- in this case the coastguard -- what they can and could not do, and telling us, the citizens of the United States, what we could or could not do. (ABC News 2011)"
I do not know if Mr. Fonda's retort on the current U.S. administration was inspiring or apropos to the venue on hand but one thing I am sure of is that his outbursts provided a variety in the usually film-centric world of Cannes Film Festival. It was sort of a welcome change because Mr. Fonda used the event as a platform to speak of his grievances against the U.S. government and how "pissed' he was with the situation. Compared to the other interviews I tagged along with, I think this one is one of the most memorable experiences I have had at the Cannes Film Festival.
Day Ten Journal
This day is what I call a whirlwind day and has put me on a rollercoaster ride of emotions because of the numerous things that need to be done. If yesterday was a relax day, the operational tempo of today is at an all time high. With two days left before the end of the festival, I had to make sure that things that needed to be done will be done if I expect to enjoy the closing ceremony on Sunday. For starters, I have to finish the compilation of reports and analysis of the films I viewed so far and will be viewing in the next few days. Then there is the collation of interviews conducted and their relevance based on various aspects of the film industry. Fortunately, I was able to fulfill these initial tasks during the morning and was able to view additional films later in the day.
In the afternoon, I watched two more short films, the Canadian film Ce n'est rien (It Is Nothing) by director Nicolas Roy and the Norwegian film Kjottsar (Cold) with Lisa Marie Gamlem as director. The Canadian film is about a loving father who takes care of his daughter by himself until a tragedy struck them. Cold is a short film about 13-year-old Jon, about winter, about being in love and losing your love and the nausea of a party the day after. (Festival de Cannes 2011) Thereafter, it was time to continue preparing or the conclusion of the festival especially in last minute interview requests and deciding on what films to view for the next two days.
ABC News. Cannes Film Festival 2011. 2011. 22 Jun. 2011. .
BST News. Cannes Film Festival 2011. 25 May 2011. 22 Jun. 2011. .
Festival de Cannes. Cannes Film Festival 2011. 2011. 22 Jun. 2011. .
Fleming, Michael. CAA Evolves Into Capital Agency Partners with Former Merrill Lynch Bankers. Variety. 18 May 2009. 22 Jun. 2011. .
Jones, Emma. 'Cannes Film Festival 2011: Glamour and controversy.' BBC News. 23 May 2011. 22 Jun. 2011. .