Feb 8, 2013 – DAY 2

I start my second day by grabbing “the dailies”, daily issues of the big industry publications that are covering the market – Screen, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. These magazines contain the most up-to- the-minute info about what deals are going down around the market, as well as ads for the films represented there, so it’s a handy way to keep your finger on the pulse of the market as a whole, as well as finding out about films you might want to see that you missed in the market screening guide, or that didn’t seem as interesting based on the dry descriptions on the EFM website.

For example, in today’s copy of one of the dailies, I saw an ad for a film called The Hot Flashes – a comedy starring Brooke Shields, Darryl Hannah and a few others as a group of sassy menopausal broads that reunite their old high school basketball team in order to win some money to save their community’s mobile breast cancer testing unit. You guessed it, their team is called The Hot Flashes. If not for the ad, I wouldn’t have ended up actually seeing the first half of this film later in the day when I had 45 minutes to kill before my next appointment. Maybe that’s not the best example. My point is only that the dailies are a really helpful resource and even though it’s a drag to carry around a half dozen magazines in your bag all day, every day (and then be left with a mountain of paper in your hotel room at the end of the trip), it’s kind of worth it.

I’m feeling pretty spry on the second day because of my wise decision to go to bed early the previous night, but as commitments and party invitations start piling up I can see that it won’t be long before I’m waking up exhausted and my entire schedule is out of whack. I owe the party invitations largely to Colin, who’s built up enough good will over the years to get invited to events by pretty much every company he deals with. When I was a starry-eyed university student and film fanatic, getting a ticket to an official festival party was like the holy grail of partying. Little did I know that there were dozens of such events happening every night that I was definitely not enough of a VIP to know about, let alone get invited to.

Tonight, we head to Meet the Danes, an annual party that the Danish contingent host at every market. I’d “met the Danes” in Cannes in May, and I wanted to meet them again. They really know how to have a good time, and even though I was totally committed to my plan of getting to bed by midnight, it’s past 2:00am when my head finally hits the pillow, and I can already tell that I’m likely to fail in my ambitious plan to check out Maïna, the new feature by Quebecois director Michel Poulette, at 9:30am.

Feb 9, 2013 – DAY 3

I really feel like I’m inching toward seeing a movie, and any day now, I will actually get to see one from start to finish. Today, after totally sleeping through the beginning of the first feature I was planning to see, I took baby steps by watching several “promo reels”, essentially reels of trailers and full scenes representing a given company’s slate of films. Many of the films I saw promos for today will be ready by May, so anyone who was intrigued by the excerpts can plan to see the finished product in Cannes. Others won’t be done for quite some time, but it’s never too early to make buyers and programmers aware of your product.

On my way out of the theatre, a table full of flyers catches my eye and I check out a slick looking postcard for a new film. At least, I thought it was new until I realized that it starred David Carradine (who died in 2009, in case you didn’t remember just how long ago that was). The film’s obviously about five years old and simply hasn’t been sold to anyone yet. This is an aspect of the film biz that I’m incredibly fascinated by – just how long it can take to get a film out there.

So many films are made and never distributed (or distributed only in certain countries or in a limited way), that it can be a bit depressing to talk to veterans of the markets about films they saw and loved years ago which have never found a home with a distributor. Considering how difficult and expensive it is to make a film – especially a good one – it seems insane that such a high percentage of them never end up being seen by audiences anywhere. I’ve seen it in my own limited experience as well, when titles are screened at TIFF that I watch and enjoy only to be disappointed that they never seem to return to theatres or even DVD so that I can share them with my friends. Realizing just how common this is has been shocking, eye opening, and also a real downer. But I guess some determined sellers never give up, and who knows. There may be a brand new David Carradine title coming to DVD stores near you in the foreseeable future.

Tonight, I am thrilled to attend the Telefilm party at the Canadian Embassy. Not because Telefilm is known for throwing amazing parties, but because I’ve finally made it onto their party invite list in my own right, and not just as someone else’s plus one. For six years while I worked with REEL CANADA, an organization that’s funded by Telefilm and does work they’re proud to support (showing Canadian films to high school students across Canada), I had to make an embarrassing phone call to their communications person every single year in late August to say “hey, can I please get an invitation to your TIFF party, I’ll be representing REEL CANADA there and want to say hello to some of our supporters, blah blah blah”. I mean, I love parties, but I don’t want to be that idiot who’s always chasing people down for tickets, so I was extremely pleased when the invite arrived in my inbox unprompted.

They really went all out with the Canadian theme, even erecting a maple candy stand on the sidewalk outside. You know the kind – where maple syrup is poured on shaved ice and swirled onto a stick? It was a smash hit with the party guests.