Wednesday May 21
This was a no-movies day. Not because I screwed up my schedule but actually by design. Sometimes, you have to prioritize meetings, not to mention catching up on the work that’s piled up at home. Colin and I have the June Royal calendar to put to bed in the next few days and he’s been hard at work contacting distributors about titles we want to show.
Meanwhile, one of the films I’m working on, a noirish murder mystery with Peter Lynch (of Project Grizzly fame, among many other things) is at a polished enough stage to be ready to start hunting for dollars. We’ve already applied to the OMDC and have been prepped to send our stuff to Telefilm for a couple of weeks now, but their nightmarishly Kafkaesque system of signing up for the electronic submission systsem has caused a few delays.
If I’d known, for example, that they would only send me the PIN by registered mail, and that my housesitter would not be able to pick it up from the post office (because he is not me) and that even after convincing them to give me the PIN electronically (after days and days of delays) that it would still not work, because they didn’t correctly inform me about whether to sign up as an “individual” or “company” … well, let’s just say that if I’d known it was approximately 100 times more time consuming than signing up for any other online protal I’ve ever dealt with, I’d have started the process months ago, in anticipation of submitting something in May.
But who’s complaining? I’ve got my application ready, I’ve talked to someone at their office to ensure that it’s not too late to submit, and I’m doing it. From Cannes. At specific and somewhat inconvenient hours, because even though this is all online, it’s still got “hours”. Sigh.
The way Telefilm’s film fund works, for production, anyway, is that they open the doors to submissions at a certain point in the year (March-ish) and then start giving money away until the year’s allotment is depleted. So, it’s in one’s best interest to apply early, as they’re usually tapped out by June (sometimes money frees up in the fall when projects get stalled or postponed but that’s another matter). I was nervous about applying so late, but we weren’t ready before now so it’s kind of moot. And, we’ve been talking to them about our project since last fall, so they’re ready for it and have assured us it’s not too late. Fingers crossed, eh? It should be submitted completely by end of day Friday (today, as I write this).
Other than wrestling with the bureaucratic beast that is our national film agency, I did also manage to have a completely wonderful lunch with a bunch of super cool genre film ladies (three in sales, one in distribution, a couple in festivals, and one other producer), an annual thing that my mogul-in-training friend Ivy Lam has been organizing at every market for the past couple of years. It’s actually wonderful to connect with other women working not only in film but also in the very boys-club-ish niche of genre.
On the topic of “women” and all that, here’s an example of why Colin’s feminist outburst this week was so appreciated by so many. While at the lunch I heard a story from one of the festival programmer ladies about her attempt to politely reject someone’s (offensive) film and being told that he’d like “one of the male programmers” to look at it. That guy can go fuck himself.
In the evening we caught up (at Papa Nino’s yet again, it’s becoming a major habit) with two friends – the always charming Lane Kneedler of AFI Fest and one of my favourite film journalists, Drew McWeeny (a truly wonderful human, too). Movies are, of course, not to be underestimated. But the best part of having a travel-heavy festival schedule is the fact that you get to catch up with friends from far away. Because, let’s face it, I can’t actually go to London, Tallin, L.A., New York, Paris, Munich, Tokyo every year, but there are a lot of people who I love dearly in all of those cities, and it’s nice to at least see them here, in Berlin, and at TIFF (lucky me for living in one of the hubs).
After dinner, we had a drink at the Grand with an agent friend (a French expat living in L.A.) who gave both Colin and I some really inspiring career and life advice. More on that in a future blog post!
Of course, we ended up at the Petit Majestic at the end of the night. I don’t need to tell you how that ended. All I will say is, I did not drink any “Desperados” and that is, in itself, a victory.