CANNES: Days 5-6

I’m currently at the American Pavilion waiting in line for a TimesTalks panel with Salma Hayek. That sounds way cooler than it currently feels — sleepy, hot, and uncomfortable on the hard ground.

But at least there is wifi.

So I thought I would take this rare downtime and get some thoughts down from the past two days.

Friday was a chill day work-wise. Danielle and I woke up early and went around to some of the international booths as she continued to set up meetings. Our main goal for the day was to get on the list for the Colombia party happening that night. We had been laying the groundwork all week and they had finally told us to come by in the morning for the final word.

Unfortunately, they told us they could only let Danielle in (which kinda makes sense since she’s the main liaison and I was just tagging along BUT STILL). We debated back and forth about what to do. She would have to arrive an hour before the party even started to get in so there was a chance I could go with her and try to do the same. And this is the main thing that sucks about being here — if you’re a newbie every single thing you do is a total stab in the dark and not a single person here will be disposed to help you.

If we had had an idea of the way certain parties and events worked, we would have known that for this particular type of party all we had to do was show up way early and stroll in before any of the bouncers or list people even arrived or noticed. But since we had no idea how things would go, we didn’t want to take the chance of both of us showing up and then one of us getting left out by herself and the other having to go in by herself.

In the end, we decided she would go and check it out and keep me updated. I made plans with Brooke to get back to the hotel early and get ready so we could try to get tickets for the Irrational Man or The Lobster, both of which were premiering that night.

We dressed to the nines and headed back out to the Croisette with signs ready to beg for an invitation. As with everything else this trip, it was a learning experience. We felt very awkward and uncomfortable holding up our signs and kept getting approached by ultra creepy men who clearly had nothing to offer and wanted nothing more than to just stand near us. We probably should have arrived a bit earlier and maybe stood in a prime spot rather than walking around. Or maybe we just chose a bad night. They were pretty highly anticipated films after all.

After a while, it started to get depressing and the premiere had already started and it was unusually windy and we were getting cold so we cut our losses and headed back to the hotel. At the moment I said I wouldn’t do that again but maybe now with the benefit of hindsight I might give it another shot. Maybe. We’ll see. I do hate wasting a nice dress.

Later that night, Danielle texted me. She had arrived to the Colombia party an hour early and told me the place was empty and anyone could have come in. I cursed myself for not taking the chance and going with her but again what can you do.

Brooke and I headed out with a few friends from the program with the intention of hitting up Le Petit Majestique, a small bar known for being a networking spot. Somehow we lost our group on the walk over but luckily ran into my friend Matt who was staying at our hotel with a different program. We found the bar but only stayed for a few minutes. Matt had been told about some yacht party and asked me to go with him. We left and headed to the docks but unfortunately, even with Matt’s fluent French, we couldn’t find the boat or the owner. He decided to take the shuttle back to the hotel and I ran into one of my roommates so we bid adieu and I walked her over to the restaurant where she was meeting some friends.

No one was picking up their phones so I said bye to my roomie and decided to follow the salsa music and found my way to the Colombia party. I had to get in somehow but the crowd hovering around was crazy. Finally I got a hold of Danielle who told me to come around to where the guy we had been talking to all week was checking names off a list.

Poor Juan. He already looked so stressed. As soon as he saw us coming at him from both sides, his eyes widened and he immediately started shaking his head no. We added our begs and pleas to the crowd around us trying to get his attention but no luck.

Then it happened. Almost so quickly I almost missed my chance.

He turned around. For a drink, to talk to someone, to sneeze I don’t know. But as soon as his back was turned I lunged forward and tried to slip past him. I grabbed Danielle’s arm but as soon as I took another step, I felt a powerful arm grab hold of my body and pull me back.

I looked up to see this huge bouncer I hadn’t seen standing there pulling me back and shaking his head repeatedly. Immediately Danielle and I broke out into explanations and excuses and lying. I started talking really fast in Spanish about how I was a really important person and dropping random names but no luck. He pointed at Juan who had turned back around and sensed what happened. We looked at him and he looked at us and finally he just shook his head and waved me forward.

I didn’t hesitate for a second as I pushed through him and the bouncer and ran with Danielle into the party. I was so elated I chugged two drinks in a row (open bar!!) and spent the rest of the night dancing to Latin musica with mi gente. We got back so late with plans to wake up at 7:30am to try and line up for an early screening of The Irrational Man.

I’m sure you can imagine how well that went.

On Saturday we slept in. It was much, much needed. Danielle and I met up around noon to grab a quick bite before heading to the American Pavilion for a panel on the state of the industry. It was super interesting to hear their perspectives on the changing mediums and how it has been influencing their work in different ways.

After the panel, we headed to the Brazilian booth for a networking happy hour. They had quite a large space in the marketplace and it was packed with people. I managed to grab some caipirinhas and we ended up meeting some Venezuelan guys who had a film screening in the Short Films Corner. I hope I get a chance to check it out before we leave.

I left the happy hour early for another quick interview, the first and only one with an American sales agent. The difference between his interview and the others I had attended with non-American agents was surprisingly stark. There was much more passion and drive in the latter whereas the American’s interview was pretty straightforward and took less than ten minutes. That’s not a blanket observation of course but it was still interesting to see the contrast.

I met up with Charlotte, Brooke and our friend Katelin for dinner after the interview and then headed back to the hotel to get ready to go out. We didn’t end up staying too late cause we were pretty exhausted. After trying and failing to get into the Sea of Trees after-party and a few other unsuccessful attempts at other parties, we decided it wasn’t worth spending a fortune on drinks at a bar and headed back for some much needed rest.

That was yesterday. It’s been about ten hours since I started writing this before the Selma Hayek panel at the American Pavilion. I’ve been writing here and there at every spare moment throughout the day and it is now almost 10pm and I am about to head out to the Panama party with Danielle. We also scored invites to the Chile party tomorrow night!

Even though I am sacrificing sleep for this blog, I’ll write again very soon with more updates! Till next time!

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