Friday July 25, 2014

9:30am meetings are a wonderful way to ensure that you’re either (a) very reasonable about your behaviour the night before, or (b) going to be getting sick very shortly.

Thankfully, I fell into camp (a) on the first full post-pitch day of the market. As I mentioned in my last post, the way the meetings at Frontières are structured is kind of speed-dating-esque. Each project has a table assigned to it, at which the team sits.

the view from our table in the Frontières meeting hall

the view from our table during a quiet moment in the Frontières meeting hall

Every half hour, a bell rings and a new person sits on the other side of that table and you talk. They tell you what they do and you tell them a bit more about the project than you said in the initial presentation. They might be able to help you in the short-term (sales agents, for example, or distributors in a position to pre-buy a film that hasn’t been made yet in order to help you raise some of the cash money you need to actually make it) or they might not (festival programmers who want to track your project but really can’t do anything for you until it’s completed and ready to submit to them).

Either way, it’s very much to your benefit to make these contacts early, so that when your film is done and you set your sights on Sundance, you’re not just one of thousands of unsolicited submissions that they receive but can actually send a personal note to the programmer, who you met at Fantasia. Personal connections make a lot of difference. It’s not like “you have to know someone” but it’s like “it helps to know someone” and actually getting to know someone isn’t difficult at all, and you should probably invest the time and do it.

After the whirlwind day of meetings, another cocktail party on the roof of the Frontières home base, for more tiny snack foods and schmoozing with old and new pals. Sometimes, I feel exhausted and want to skip the social stuff, but I never do. I know that making connections in that setting can be just as important as the meetings, and it’s a huge part of the reason we’re all here. So, I soldier on, drinking free wine and chatting with the best of ’em. Life is so tough.

highlight of Friday's cocktail hour: two pals compare Cutty Sarks

highlight of Friday’s cocktail hour: two pals compare Cutty Sarks

Well, I guess it can be a chore if you get sick with one of the dreaded festival viruses that often hang around like ominous thunderclouds, as poor James did after an overly raucous thursday night. Can’t blame him too much, though. It was his birthday!

Next up, dinner at Nouveau Palais, an amazing Mile End old timey diner with a deliciously new timey menu. I had a chilled celery soup and salmon with grits + fava beans because I was still too meated out from the night before. Everyone else had the highly recommended burger.

Rodney and Tim await their "best burgers in Montreal"

Rodney and Tim await their “best burgers in Montreal”

Dinner was followed by – what else? – more drinks at the Irish Embassy. Does it get old? Sure. But it’s also the best place to catch up with everyone at the end of the day and chat about all the movies you haven’t had time to go to. Not even the not-very-good cover band that plays on Fridays and Saturdays can ruin that.