It’s hard  to explain the kind of “busy” and “tired” that you get at these markets. People who attend academic conferences or trade shows probably get it, because it’s the same kind of travel + frenzied activity concentrated into just a few days. It’s definitely different (for me, anyway) than attending a festival to actually watch movies. That can be tiring too, but it’s not the same as having to talk to people all the time. Of course, it’s still the south of France, and half the meetings take place over glasses of wine and the “work-related socializing” is actually a series of fun parties with open bars. And yet, the exhaustion can seep into your skin and make you feel so much more tired than you’d ever be after working a 15 hour shift at a job at home.

I’m sure that part of it has to do with the fact that you’re away from home, not sleeping in your own bed, eating foods that aren’t what you normally eat, and eating at odd hours (dinner rarely happens before 8 or 9pm here, which seems late by North American standards), and having to be “on” all the time, and often repeating the same pitch or humorous anecdote or whatever at 10 meetings in a row. It takes its toll. By the fifth day, it starts to feel like you’re just hoping to cross the finish line of a race instead of falling on the pavement.

Plus, in my own case, I definitely have some strong only child tendencies that make me prefer solitary activities. I love watching movies in dark theatres. I don’t necessarily love work-related socializing for 10 hours a day. And I definitely, definitely don’t love huge, dense, never-ending crowds. That’s just part of the reality of being here, though. There is no escape, from the crowds especially.

It's always at least this crowded on the Croisette

It’s always at least this crowded on the Croisette

To give you an example of what “busy” means for me while I’m here, I’m going to reprint my Sunday schedule:

  • 7:30 – wake up, shower, answer a few emails (only the ones that are related to today’s meetings and need ot be immediately addressed) and race out of the house to get to the Canadian Pavilion in time for a 9:00am info session.
  • 9:00 – 10:00 – info session co-presented by Telefilm Canada and the OMDC no international coproductions. More on this in tomorrow’s post.
  • 10:00 – 10:30 – sit at the Canadian pavilion and hammer out a blog post, plus answer a few emails (thank god they have wifi!)
  • 10:30 – 11:15 – meet with the OMDC and the German producer of a film I’m working on, which we hope to make a German/Canadian co-production. I also pimp my other project to them, the cool modern noir / murder-mystery thriller I’m working on with Peter Lynch. I leave them with my brochure and card, and suggest we follow up on it all when we’re back in Toronto.
  • 11:15 – 12:00 – meet with Colin, compare schedules, walk across town to our  lunch meeting. Luckily, in Cannes, “across town” is still only a 15-20 minute walk, depending on how dense the pedestrian traffic is.
  • 12:00 – 13:00 – lunch #1, with some producer + sales agent friends who have worked with some people we know. This is mostly to catch up, but also to talk about some projects that are of mutual interest to us all.
  • 13:00 – 14:30 – I race off to lunch #2, with a female producer I know (Swedish, based in L.A.) who wants to meet, hang out with, and support more women in the industry, because she’s sick of only hanging out with dudes all the time. Fair ’nuff, lady. We have a lovely lunch, and this is the only relaxing hour of my day. Meanwhile, Colin is also at lunch #2, something-or-other with the TIFF team.
  • 14:30 – 15:30 – I run to the apartment to get my jacket and answer some emails, then run out again to the Palais, another 15-20-ish minute walk from where we’re staying, along the crowded Croisette.
  • 15:30 – 16:30 – meet up with the lovely folks who bought Manborg for US distribution. We catch up, talk about how the film’s doing, make plans to meet socially in a couple of days when things are slightly less crazy.
  • 16:30 – 17:00 – run across town to meet with another sales agent. He’s delightful and has one green eye and one brown.
  • 17:00 – 18:30 – go back to the International Village and stop at the Estonian pavilion for their cocktail reception, which is being hosted by a dear Estonian friend. It’s important to support your pals. It’s not all about business.
  • 18:30 – 19:30 – wine & cheese at the apartment of yet another sales agent that Colin deals with for TIFF, but with whom we’ve become quite friendly over the years.
  • 19:30 – 20:00 – Colin dashes off to a TIFF-related meeting with his fabulous Midnight Madness publicist. I finish up at the wine & cheese (truthfully, I stuck around longer because I was having a fascinating conversation with a guy who produced Glengarry Glenn Ross).
  • 20:00 – 21:00 – Colin meets with his publicist / I get ready for the evening, put on more layers (it’s stopped raining but it’s still windy and friggin’ cold), answer more emails about tomorrow’s meetings, start slotting more stuff into the schedule.
  • 21:30 – 23:00 – Dinner with Colin and a TIFF staffer pal at our favourite pizza place. A little more down time at last.
  • 23:00 – ??? – Colin dashes off to see the new Johnnie To film at midnight, I go to the Legend of a Rabbit Party that we were invited to by a friend a few days ago. I run into the two guys we’re sharing our apartment with, which is nice because we certainly don’t see each other much at home. We’re all too tired to actually party, so we have a beer, wander around, and come back home.
  • 01:00 – I’m at home, creating the new PDF of tomorrow’s schedule document, which I save on my phone every morning so that I know who I’m meeting, when, and where. And also where Colin is at any given time, because we’re not necessarily spending our days together, if I’ve got Ultra 8 business to attend to while he takes care of his #1 top priority – TIFF.
  • 02:00 – Colin comes back home, we finally get to go to bed. The following morning, I’ll get to sleep in, but Colin has to be up around 6:30 in order to catch the 8:30 premiere of the new Takashi Miike film. Four-ish hours will just have to be enough.

Now, I know that half of that schedule seems like “party, then party, then party”. And it is. But trust me, after a few days, it gets hard to do. I bet that if you came here as a fan just to watch movies and have fun, it would be literally the most amazing thing in the world. But having to get up early for meetings and not look like shit because you’re hung over and didn’t have time to shower? Well, that does reduce the pure fun element just a smidge. And the worst part is: I didn’t get a chance to see a single movie today. There’s always tomorrow.

Who cares about sleep? I was at a party with a giant bunny head balloon!

Who cares about sleep? I was at a party with a giant bunny head balloon!