Sunday May 18
Forgot to tell my fave story of Saturday in my Saturday blog post. While in a meeting with a sales agent who was showing Colin a bunch of really rapey trailers for possible Midnight Madness submissions, Colin cut him off and was like “Here’s the thing. Nobody wants to see that. There’s been a lot of discussion lately in the world and on social media about rape culture…” He went on to talk about how it’s lazy to never have other ways of threatening female characters in horror films except by victimizing them sexually, and how it’s not the kind of thing that he wants to show. If I had swooned any harder I might have hit my head and passed out. Husband/Programmer/Man of the Year.
Anywhoo, Sunday started with a meeting on a really great terrace, which is the best way to start any sunny day in Cannes.
It continued with a lovely lunch with one of our favourite sales guys, Michael Favelle of Odin’s Eye (Australia). Great chat about the realities of the market, and the extent to which prices for certain films are plummeting. It’s a bit demoralizing to talk to people who are on the front lines of film sales about how things are going. The market seems to be constantly shrinking, prices seem to be endlessly going down, and everything is getting harder and harder. Why are any of us in this business again? I guess in spite of all that, some pretty inspiring films are getting made, and that process is getting easier and easier to accomplish with fewer resources, so there is a positive flip-side.
In the afternoon we had an incredibly eye-opening meeting with a financier from the UK who laid out his theories for us on how to make a low budget film that will make money in the marketplace. According to him (and most of the sales agents we speak to tend to agree), the key is marquee value. Make your film for a million bucks, but get someone (like this guy) to give you another two mill on top of that so that you can pay Bruce Willis (or whoever) to pop in for three days. Make sure he’s in at least 30 minutes of your film, and then sell that film for the price that you’d otherwise not be able to command unless your budget was literally ten times larger.
Interesting theory, probably quite spot-on in a lot of ways, but also depends on knowing a dude like him who can bankroll your Bruce Willis cameo. And let’s face it, most indie filmmakers don’t have those connections and can’t afford to just pop over to Cannes in order to make them.
In other news: Bruce Willis is going to star in every film I ever make.
A hilarious thing happened on the way to one of our next engagements. We’re walking down the boardwalk where all the ridiculous yachts are docked, and I’m making jokes about which one I would buy, and I point to one that looks by far the most crazy – it’s all grey metal and wood and looks like a cross between an old army boat and some sort of Asian fusion restaurant. And I say “this one is definitely it”. And seconds later, someone from the deck of that very boat yells Colin’s name. Turns out to be an agent he knows. Lord knows why he was there, but we got to climb on board and hang out for a while and see their crazy hot tub and the table built from a 100 year old tree.
The agent told us that it was the boat from The Life Aquatic, which I found hard to believe because it looked so different, but I googled it and sure enough. Read “From minesweeper to superyacht, the story of Mojo“, in Super Yacht Times. The boat has a pretty interesting history.
Also: a publication called Super Yacht Times exists. Doesn’t that make you LOL till you throw up in your mouth, a little?
In the later afternoon, pulled Chad away from screenings for a few minutes in order to take him to a couple of cocktail parties. First, the annual Shoreline Entertainment wine & cheese, where the snacks are great and the company is lovely. Shoreline is a sales company that Colin deals with for TIFF, but they’re also a really fun bunch, and their team is run by a major food lover, so we’ve been lucky enough to get invited to a few really top notch dinners by them over the years. Second, a “fantastic” mixer at the same beautiful terrace where Friday’s TIFF party was held (oh god, Friday feels like it was three months ago) where festival types mingled with producers, sales agents and distributors who all work in genre film.
For dinner, we went to a place called Le Jade, which serves mind-blowingly delicious French Vietnamese food. Not a fusion of French and Vietnamese, mind you. Just “French-Vietnamese”, as in “the one good thing that came out of French colonial rule in Vietnam”. A first for me: discovering a cuisine (an amazing one) that we legitimately do not have in Toronto. Our dinner companion was Jennifer Dana, the producer of It Follows and another gem that I really liked last year, the strange doppelgänger film Coherence. I love meeting the super cool lady-producers. They inspire me.
It’s felt so good to not stay out too late or get too drunk for the past few nights that we decided to do it again! Home to bed at a reasonable-ish hour! Woo!