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Movieguide's Cannes Diary
Wrap Up of the Cannes Film Festival
By Evy Baehr, associate editor of MOVIEGUIDE®
With Natalie Fertig, guest contributor.
The south of France provided a beautiful backdrop for the Cannes Film Festival this May. Movieguide was excited to have the opportunity to view films, do interviews, go to premieres, and meet filmmakers. Though many of the films were not Movieguide approved films, it was interesting to get an international perspective. Watching a film provided in three different languages: spoken in Spanish, with subtitles both in French and English, provided an experience that simply proved the film industry is massive.
One thing longed for during the festival was more faith filed- and family oriented films. Many of the films that were chosen for “Competition,” which were competing for the highest award, would be considered R rated films and not family-friendly. Madagascar 3 proved as the family film for competition, though fun, was not a brilliant animated film. Natalie edit: Madagascar was not in competition. It was an out-of-competition special screening. Fix that fact.
Movieguide had an opportunity to speak to many other press and filmmakers about the standards that we apply to film, the values, worldviews, and morals we mention that are portrayed. This provided many interesting conversations on the meaning of life, on differing worldviews, and on presenting a Christian perspective to those who had not thought of viewing the world in that manner.
We were lucky to discover some smaller films that seemed to have great family values, movies that we may have not seen otherwise. “Me and Me Dad,” “Goddess,” and “Splendid” were three such films, and proved to us that there are still some hidden gems that follow faith and family values yet to be found within the international film industry.
Overall, Cannes was a wonderful experience, with the greatest benefit probably being the opportunity to discuss faith and family values within film in the context of not just the American film industry, but also with international filmmakers. Hopefully the voice of family values in film will grow, and continue to be represented in a greater capacity at international events such as Cannes in the future. The effect of this presence hopefully will push the movie industry, like Jackie Chan said to MOVIEGUIDE in our interview with him early in the week, toward “Action movie[s] without violence. Comedy [that is] clean.” Jackie, we’re all behind you.
Day 7 Cannes Diary
By Natalie Fertig
Day 7 was a really good day. We started out with Evy going and seeing the early showing of Killing Them Softly, which stars Brad Pitt. So – as you can imagine – today was pretty Brad Pitt-obsessed throughout the Palais and even on the Croisette.
After the movie, we went and interviewed the stars of a British movie that’s coming out, called “Goddess.” It’s about a housewife who posts videos of herself singing songs about household chores and turns into a youtube sensation. And it’s a musical. J The movie stars Ronan Keating – a handsome singer from Ireland, and Laura Michelle Kelly – who is best known as a West End star (If you’re not sure what that is, it’s the older, British version of Broadway. It’s JUST as prestigious.)
It’s a movie about family and fame, with a lot of comedy and fun musical numbers! If you want to hear more about it, check out our interview (above) with the stars and the director in the videos section. They were very fun to be around!
I also spent half an hour standing around and about 5 minutes smashed between multiple sweaty journalists in order to get 45 seconds of footage of Brad Pitt. It was the largest crowd I’ve seen yet trying to catch a glimpse of stars as they exit the press conference room. And then Brad Pitt came… and it was crazy. He seemed very genuinely nice, actually. He didn’t have a fake, apathetic smile that many stars use when communicating with press.
Sometimes I wonder what it’s like, on the other side of the camera. I’m sure I’d get bored of saying the exact same things to people over and over again. And I’m very sure I’d be very, very annoyed if I couldn’t even go to the grocery store without being mobbed! I need to remember, as a journalist, that private lives still are possible for celebrities. It comes down to the question of – if you see them in the supermarket, do you say hello? Personally, I don’t think so. I’ll save it for the red carpet and press conferences, and let them buy their Jell-o in peace.
Day 6 Cannes Diary
By Natalie Fertig
I didn’t write anything for Day 5, because it was a really slow day. Sundays, here, apparently don’t have as much going on… at least not that pertained to us. So I edited and Evy went to two small movie screenings. End of story. Haha!
So Monday… Day 6.
Things started to get busier, but in a different way. We have a backlog of video to edit and film notes to turn into reviews… but we’re also much more exhausted than we were at the beginning of the week, and so we seem to want to “take breaks” more often.
I murdered my leather shoes yesterday. I was NOT expected the downpour that we received… more torrential than anything common to Portland (my hometown). Not sprinkles, but genuine storming. Puddles were everywhere in the pothole-ridden streets and sidewalks.
Yesterday we had two interviews: one with director John Boorman and his daughter, Katrine, and the other with the director, writer, and one actress from the Argentinean film Infancia Clandestine, or “Clandestine Childhood.” Both were really interesting interviews. I loved hearing the thought process behind the direction and the writing of these movies, hearing stories about filming, about the relationships between cast members, about the friendship of the crew and cast, about locations and schedules and philosophies… I could just keep on going and going for forever!
It was a wonderful experience.
John Boorman is a legend – he directed Excalibur and many other classics of cinema. He’s been nominated for Academy Awards, 4 of his films have been in competition at Cannes, and he has an Emmy for his TV miniseries The Odyssey. His daughter, Katrine, decided to make a documentary on him, and it is both humorous and endearing. I loved seeing their relationship, and the way they banter with each other. No matter if you’re a fan of his movies or not, it’s a documentary worth seeing. And it’s not too long, either. J But anyway, we got to talk to them and the video of their interview will be up on the website in the coming days.
We also went to a masterclass taught by the great Andrei Konchaklovsky – a Russian filmmaker who’s been in the business an insanely long time. Like many of the older actors and/or filmmakers I’ve met here, he had some pretty wonderful old stories, and the hour went by way too fast. I could have sat and listened much longer.
BUT we were off to another interview – this time with the director of Infancia Clandestine, a movie based loosely on experiences from the director’s childhood in Argentina in the late 1970s. Evy saw the movie, and her review will eventually be up on the website. It was interesting to hear him talk about how the movie related to his experiences, and to ask some of the other actors and screenwriters involved what it was like to make the film. We have a video of that interview as well, which will, as usual, be up soon. J
Well that was the majority of our day! Interviews, interviews, interviews. Evy and I had dinner at this quirky restaurant down the street, called the Havana something-or-other, to end the night. Only 2 days left! Crazy!
Day 4 Cannes Diary
By Natalie Fertig
Evy went and saw the first press screening of Lawless — which meant leaving our apartment at 7am so she could get in line by 7:30/7:45. The screening was at 8:30. That early may not have been necessary, especially since Evy has a blue press pass, but we’re trying to be on the safe side with all these things.
At 10:30 I headed over to the Palais des Festivales to get in the A/V line for the Press Conference. I was about 3/4 of the way back in the line, but that didn’t prove to be too bad of a thing. When they let us in my shot was only at about a 45 degree angle to the stars… the videographers on the end had it a bit worse.
Also yesterday we had a round table with Jackie Chan. A round table, I’ve discovered, is a very very very small press conference. It’s 5 or 6 journalists around a round table with the star/director. So it was 4 people, Evy, me, and Jackie Chan. Around a round table. 🙂 Haha! It was a really cool time… albeit a very short time. 20 minutes, I think. And they definitely time you.
Jackie Chan was incredibly interesting, though. You can tell he LOVES telling stories… and I’m sure that the few we heard were only scratching the surface of the amazing repertoire of personal life stories he has! At one point he was standing on a chair to illustrate how high some stunt was that he ended up falling from way back in the day! Ahh! He was incredible, though. He told us how he had been wild at first, when he first became famous, but how now he feels the responsibility of his fame and tries to make movies that instill good, honorable characteristics in the kids he know watches them. I recorded the entire interview on my phone (audio, not video), and so I’ll be transcribing it and it will end up on the website eventually.
And that was day four!
Day 3 Cannes Diary
By Natalie Fertig
Today is Madagascar 3 day for Evy and Natalie. Evy went to the press conference this morning, and I stood along the hallway that the stars would walk through in order to get footage of them. There’s nothing really that can prepare you for that… one moment you’re just standing there in quiet anticipation, your tripod pushed as close to the barrier as it can go and your hands tapping on it in nervousness… then there’s that almost electric moment when you see body guards and entourages scurrying in, and you know that any second the stars will walk around the corner and you will have minutes – maybe even just SECONDS – to get a few good moments of them on film. And then… its mayhem. No one is deliberately mean or rude, but everyone has a job to do, and there just isn’t enough room ON the barrier to accommodate every member of the press who needs photo/video of these actors.
So there are arms reaching everywhere (luckily i’m short so they’re all over my head!), people leaning, names being yelled from beside and behind… and you’re trying to position your camera perfectly so that you can get a clean shot of the starlet’s winning smile, or the comedian signing photographs.
Also today I went to a press conference for Jackie Chan’s newest movie, Chinese Zodiac. It’s set to come out in December, and it looks very interesting. I had a great time at the press conference. And apparently Evy and I will be sitting down to talk with him at a round table interview tomorrow, so stay tuned for the transcript of that!
We also did the nighttime red carpet gala event. Tonight it was for Madagascar 3. It was a great experience. We were up high, like in an eagle’s nest, looking down at all the stars, so we were aable to see everything, including all the crowds. It was a beautiful clear night, and we got some great clips of Ben Stiller, Jessica Chastain, and the other stars of Madagascar 3… as well as other celebrities such as Jane Fonda and Robert diNiro who showed up to watch the movie. We have a video review of the movie and the press conference coming up, and we may work some of the red carpet clips into another video as well.
So stay tuned to our Cannes 2012 coverage here on MOVIEGUIDE.ORG!
Day 2 Cannes Diary
By Natalie Fertig
Every day feels like a year here. At the end of day two, I was so completely convinced two days had passed that I was referring to things we had done in the morning as “yesterday” instead of “this morning”. Evy had to correct me. Ahhh! Haha. But I guess that just goes to show HOW much you do and HOW much happens here in just one day. Your day isn’t all about one event, its about several… maybe 2 or 3 movies, and then other meetings, junkets, cocktail parties, grabbing food in between, etc.
This morning, Evy went to the Moonrise Kingdom screening, and a review from that will be on Movieguide. It’s Wes Anderson’s newest film, and it has a LOT of hype, so be sure to check it out! Many of the press I talked to afterwards have said that it’s their favorite of his films to date.
Today we went to find another PR agency – Premiere PR – to see if they could get us into any good screenings, press junkets, etc. We set up an interview for the film Me and My Dad, and that will take place later on in the week – so stay tuned for an interview and a review of that film coming later!
Today I finally made it into a screening, despite my green A/V badge! Granted it was probably the smallest screening possible… and the movie proved to be very lackluster… but I’m still glad I got into one. It’s a new Liam Hemsworth movie, and while his acting was decent in it, the movie itself left much to be desired, both morally and in the script writing. Sad, because I think Hemsworth has a lot of potential as an actor. He’s in some other things later on this year/next year, though, so this movie has little-to-no potential to be career-killing. J I think we’ll have a review on the movie – which screened under the name “Love and Honor” but apparently will be released as “AWOL” once it finds an American distributor – coming up pretty soon, so keep checking back for that, especially if you are or are the part of a teenage girl!
Last, there’s one thing I would like to say as a videographer at Cannes, speaking directly to the Cannes Film Fesitval committee (or whoever makes decisions), and it is to commend them on their fantastic press room. Free espresso to keep us awake during our long hours, many different seating options, outlets at almost every chair, high speed wifi, and even armchairs grouped around large TV screens where reruns of press conferences are played all day long for reference… All these things make a very productive press room, and I enjoy spending time there, getting things done while Evy is in screenings. So thank you!
Day 1 Cannes Diary
By Natalie Fertig
Editor’s Note: This is the first among several reports from our correspondents at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival in France, Associate Editor Evy Baehr and Contributing Writer Natalie Fertig.
We were invited by Paramount Pictures to attend a preview of the upcoming DreamWorks movie RISE OF THE GUARDIANS. The clips we saw were absolutely gorgeous, and the story seems really creative. At the press conference later, actress Isla Fisher described the movie as “an animated Avengers,” which I would not dispute after seeing a good 15-20 minutes of footage. The event was interesting, fun, and informative. I’m very grateful we had the opportunity to attend. MOVIEGUIDE® Associate Editor Evy Baehr wrote up the transcription of the press conference, and you can check it out on the website.
After the RISE OF THE GUARDIANS event, Evy and I had a lot of logistics to get pinned down. We went and talked with a PR agency and are now signed up to interview the stars of a few more movies. We also have our press badges. Evy’s is blue, which means she’s the writer. She can go to press screenings, etc. I am green, which is a technical media badge. In other words, I can be on the videographer platform in press conferences, and I can get us passes to film on the red carpet and/or attend photo calls. It’s good to have these two passes!
The last part of Day One was a cocktail event put on by DDA, the PR company we got connected with earlier in the day. It was a great opportunity to network and meet other press from all over the world. It occurred in a gorgeous setting, on the Carlton Hotel’s beach pavilion. Here’s a photo I took of Evy with the Carlton in the background.
And that’s the end of Day One! Definitely excited to see what Day Two will hold for Movieguide at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival!