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Category Archives: Festival Diaries

Ahh, day two. The most action-packed day of them all.

On Friday we had eight scheduled meetings, and the Directed by Women pitch session, which showcased seven early-stage projects by female writers/directors/producers.

I enjoyed the pitches and am glad that Frontières decided to boost female participation by including this session in the first place, but I wasn’t crazy about the format. The filmmakers had three minutes to pitch, and then got immediate feedback from a panel of experts – filmmakers, producers, sales agents and festival types.

In some ways, this was informative and useful, because the panelists had good feedback about the actual content of the pitches. But in other cases, it turned into a (very kind and gentle) critique of the person’s pitching abilities, which didn’t seem particularly fair, since these were all projects in their early stages and most of the filmmakers had little or no pitching experience. One thing that every shy and nervous person knows very well is just how shy and nervous they are. They probably don’t need it pointed out to them in an already high-stress situation, no matter how kindly.

The anxiety-inducing critiques aside, there were a few good comments and the questions from the panelists gave each person or team a chance to expand and/or explain their project in a bit more detail, which was helpful.

After the pitch sessions I headed to the meeting rooms to dive into an entire afternoon full of meetings.

Meetings are short (20 minutes – barely enough time for everyone on both sides of the table to repeat their well-rehearsed spiel) and they’re back to back. When the time is up, a bell rings and the tough (but very loveable) taskmasters of the Frontières staff make sure everyone gets moving and to their next appointment. Projects are assigned tables and they sit there all day. Everyone else moves from table to table when the bell rings. They run a tight ship, and bless their little hearts for it because everything would descend into instant chaos if they didn’t.

Generally speaking, the meetings went like this:

Us: Hi, this is who we are and what we do!
Film project team: Hi, this is a recap of our project and what we’re looking for!
Us: Thanks! This is what we can and can’t help with.
Film project team: Cool! Can we send you a script or follow-up materials?
Us: Yes!
[exchange of business cards, bell rings, aaaaand switch]

After a long day of meeting with the projects and also with other visiting producers, we took the elevator up to the rooftop and enjoyed the no-longer-muggy weather and beautiful views of Montreal.

On the roof with Shudder Labs 2017 fellow, Danny DelPurgatorio – I’m so glad that we talked him into coming!

One of the best thing about Frontières is the fact that every day of the market concludes with a networking cocktail at which you can reconnect with everyone you just spent all day with. It might sound redundant but it’s actually great.

One of the best ways to figure out whether you really want to work with someone is to combine professional meetings with quality social time. Sit at a table and talk hard numbers. And then have a glass of wine and chat about your favourite movies (or even better, something not movie related).

Making a movie takes a long time. You want to be absolutely sure that the people you’re choosing to work with are people you want to spend a couple of years with.

Our delightful dinner crew at a damn good diner.

We decided to branch out into another part of Montreal for dinner, so we asked Frontières director Lindsay Peters for a vegetarian-friendly recommendation that would accommodate everyone. Her response was “this place has a great burger”. Bless! The place she recommended did indeed have a phenomenal burger, but also enough veggie options to satisfy our whole crew.

So, by way of Lindsay, I now recommend to you: Nouveau Palais. If you’re looking for very high quality comfort food in a no-frills diner and a cool neighbourhood, it can’t be beat. Go for the burger then walk up the street and check out the Drawn & Quarterly bookstore about a half-block away.

I didn’t take this photo, but trust me, the place is incredible.

After dinner, I made our entire (very full) crew walk to one of Montreal’s legendary bagel places (we went to Fairmount, even though I’m kind of a St Viateur girl, don’t judge me) because our crew of American and Mexican dining companions had never tried this baked-good wonder.

This is one of my top tips for visitors who come to Montreal for Fantasia: EAT A BAGEL! THEY ARE VERY GOOD AND UNIQUE AND NOT LIKE OTHER BAGELS! REALLY, DO IT!

Sometimes I wonder if I feel more strongly about this than some Montrealers do?

After our “bagel dessert”, we walked a bit further to one of my favourite Montreal bars, Casa Del Popolo – a place that has remained almost totally unchanged since I used to visit (and occasionally play there with my old band) around 2002-03.

Here’s another great tip for festival travellers: talk about things other than movies. My conversations on Friday spanned every topic, from childbirth and parenthood, to illness, music, childhood, life and career plans, hobbies and so much more. The best way to make real friends is to actually delve a bit deeper into people’s lives and hearts than just what their favourite Carpenter film is. Although, we did also have a fantastic discussion later at the Irish Embassy about our favourite Carpenter films. Colin’s, for the record, is The Fog. Mine is Prince of Darkness.

As always, our night ended at the Irish Embassy, but we wisely chose to just have one drink, do a quick walkabout to say hi to everyone, and then go to bed. I know that there are plenty of folks my age and much older living it up until 3am every night at the Embassy, but I’m very much ok with my own days of near-all-nighters being over for all but the most special of occasions. I’m still chipping away at a year’s worth of cumulative sleep deprivation. Sleep > partying.

On a muggy Thursday, it begins …

The first day of the Frontières market always starts with the pitch sessions. The presentations take place in the big theatre where Fantasia has many of its screenings. 

I missed last year’s edition due to bébé, which means that I missed the move to the big theatre as well. It was great to see such a large room filled with so many people eager to hear about the projects.

The first time that Colin and I attended Frontières, the pitch sessions were held in one of the small rooms now used for the speed dating-style meetings that the projects will spend the rest of the market participating in. It didn’t seem small at the time, but it didn’t take long for them to move to the J.A. de Sève theatre, which seats about 160 – more than double the people you can squeeze into the original room. While we were away the market made an even bigger jump, to the big (nearly 400 seat) cinema space, which gives the market a few more years’ worth of room to grow! 

Big screen, big theatre!

Because there were 20 projects to get through, the Frontières team held them to a fairly strict eight minute time limit. It’s amazing how much the level of polish of these presentations has increased over the years. In past years, there were always one or two presentations that seemed unrehearsed. Not any more! People are bringing their A-game.

In the past, I’ve recommended that people attending these kinds of markets bring a proof of concept video to show what the film they are hoping to make will look and sound like. In principle, I still think this is a good idea if it’s done well. The massive buzz created after the Frontières presentation of The Void in 2013 was almost entirely thanks to the killer trailer that those filmmakers made. A good proof of concept can work wonders. 

If you don’t have the capacity to shoot original material, it can still be helpful to put together together a “mood reel” out of clips from other films. However, be mindful of whether your source material is in line with what you realistically hope to achieve. Including shots from The Shining in a pitch for a $1-2 million project might not seem realistic to the financiers in your audience. 

“Proof of concept” has become a buzz term in recent years, and many filmmakers are doing the smart thing and making a short film that serves as a proof of concept for a feature that they hope to make, but also stands alone as a short. Several of the presentations at this year’s sessions used clips that were from their own thematically-similar shorts. One of those, The Home (which Screen Anarchy  also singled out as one of the best pitches of the market), is available on Shudder and is really worth checking out.

But, great proofs of concept aside, there’s something else that can be just as important (if not more so) to showcase your talents in a pitch presentation: the good old fashioned director’s reel. Director reels are hardly a new concept, but now that everyone has jumped on the proof of concept train, they’re starting to feel fresh again. 

This is something I also realized when we were evaluating the pitch videos for this year’s edition of Shudder Labs. The ones who made a proof of concept were effective, but the ones who just included a well edited reel of clips from their previous work were also very effective. 

It actually shouldn’t have taken so long to realize the power of the filmmaker reel, because I experienced it myself at Frontières a few years ago when I came with Tim Reis and Matt Swinsky. Matt’s reel included extremely impressive work from a lot of slick, high concept music videos for a number of very notable hip hop stars. Everyone we met with was very impressed. One company (which does film packaging and represents talent) still brings him up every time we meet with them. 

The pitch sessions were interesting this year because of the variety and diversity of the projects. For me, there were a few stand-outs (I loved Black Bats, The Cleaner, The Home, The Saviours and Zoo – with honourable mentions going to Nameless and The Restoration at Grayson Manor), and a couple that surprised me because I enjoyed them more than I thought I would. I’m not normally a huge fan of straight-up fantasy (of the Excalibur / Ladyhawke type), but The Stolen Child (a medieval fairies & knights type of tale) totally won me over with a great pitch and a great video edited together from a trilogy of shorts the filmmaker had already made about the magical world in which the feature takes place.

lunch with Shudder Labs alum Mike Olenick and Labs-daddy Sam Zimmerman

After the pitch sessions, we went for lunch (at the always delicious Fantasia/Frontières fave, Kafein) for a healthy salad to counterbalance last night’s rib-fest, and then took it easy. Most of our weekend is packed with meetings, but Thursday was totally clear, so we got to have a little bit of downtime before the opening night BBQ and the inevitable late night at the Irish Embassy (though we kept it to a reasonable two drinks and then went to bed – gotta be sharp for all those meetings).

My priority for this Frontières market is to catch up with friends and colleagues from all over the world, make some new connections with people who are attending and who I think I’d like to one day work with, meet with the projects that I think we might be able to help by introducing them to the right partners, and figure out whether there’s a project here that we might want to get involved with on a deeper level. Let’s see how I do on all those goals by the end of the weekend.

The Calm Before the Storm

Colin and I have been attending the Frontières market since it began in 2012. Collectively, we’ve presented three projects. He, along with Peter Kuplowsky, brought The Void in 2013, and I brought projects by James Sizemore (The Demon’s Rook) and Matt Swinsky (check out some of his music videos here) in subsequent years.

Hot tip about Frontières: the word is French, and it’s pronounced “frontier” – the S is silent. I say it wrong all the time. I can’t help myself! Learn from my mistakes. At least I pronounce “Cannes” correctly!

I think we’ve only missed one edition of the market in Montreal (they also have Frontières events in Cannes and elsewhere), in 2016, and it was because we had a very fresh baby on our hands.

This year, we decided to come to Frontières and sit on the other side of the table – as producers who are looking for projects, not ones who are pitching them. We aren’t necessarily looking to pick up a film to produce ourselves, but we have many friends and clients who have approached us over the past few months and asked for our help in scouting for all sorts of stuff – projects, completed films, talented filmmakers and writers, and more. So, we’re here to see some pitches, meet with a lot of people and hopefully do a bit of productive matchmaking.

We’re also in Fantasia for another reason – I’m on the festival’s New Flesh jury (the aptly-named first feature jury), watching and judging a dozen films from all genres and all parts of the world. Obviously I can’t say anything specific until after I’ve seen them all and the jury has deliberated and made its decisions, but so far, the films have been quite varied and quite good. Job well done, Fantasia programmers!

We arrived in Montreal on the evening of Wednesday July 19th, and headed straight to Bar-B-Barn with a group of friends, an annual tradition that we started a few years ago with our Shudder colleague Sam Zimmerman. It’s a very old-school chicken & ribs restaurant that really has to be seen to be believed.

When we mention the Bar-B-Barn to most of our Montrealer friends, they give us the quizzical looks of people who remember being taken there as children, many decades ago, but who can’t fathom why anyone would still go there in the present day. Because it’s still great, guys! Trust!

After the enormous plates of ribs were reduced to a few Flintstones-sized bone piles, we hopped over to the Irish Embassy (the pub where every single night of Fantasia seems to end, and a very handy place to congregate and meet up with pals). We said hi to everyone and then decided to be reasonable and go to our hotel early because the pitch sessions started at 9:30am on Thursday. If there’s one thing you don’t want to be when facing four hours of presentations in a darkened theatre, it’s sleepy and hung over!

friends (including one brave vegan who isn’t visible here) at Bar-B-Barn

Our hotel is a 10-15 minute walk from the Concordia campus buildings where the market takes place. It’s not the most interesting part of Monreal by any means, but it is very convenient to be walking distance from home while you’re at a festival or market. You never know when you might need a change of clothes, or a 30 minute power-nap, or an hour of uninterrupted time with your laptop to catch up on something. Being able to zip back to your home base without it being a half hour commute is crucial.

Note: I wasn’t originally thinking of doing a Frontières diary, but then our lovely friend Abraham (programmer at the very awesome Morbido film fest) told me he was looking forward to it, so … here we are! 

By Wednesday May 24th we were almost totally done with work – although work wasn’t 100% done with us yet, so we did our very best to make every meeting as fun and relaxing as possible.

First up, while baby took an epic nap I met on the now-dead-quiet lawn of the Grand with a filmmaker I hit it off with at one of the genre-film mixers at the Plage des Palmes. She had a cool project idea and we talked about whether I might be able to help (and we talked about The Neverending Story for a while, always a good sign). One of those “who knows if anything will come of it but I might really enjoy working with this person” type meetings. We’re going to stay in touch and we’ll see what happens.

From there, I raced back home to bundle the babe into his stroller so that we could hit the beach. One of the people we met with earlier in the week (one of our best meetings, in fact) offered to take us out on a beach day, and we jumped at the chance to relax in style.

Private beach baby.

Cannes is a coastal town, so it’s all beaches and marinas. Some of the beaches are public, but the ones immediately to the east of the “international pavilions” and Palais zone are private. Some are restaurants, some are run by nearby hotels for their guests, and some are just private beaches that you can pay to access – a recliner in the sand and a big umbrella might set you back  €20-30 (probably more during peak summer season) and you can order drinks and snacks right to your lounge chair. Our new friend and potential future colleague sprang for a couple of chairs and kept ordering wine for the duration of our stay on the lovely private beach where she was camped out for the day.

Tip #1: when you’re in the south of France, take a moment to appreciate that. 

It’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of work and work-related-socializing when you’re at a market. But you’re also on the French riviera, so take a half-day and dip a toe into the sea! I’m always astonished by the number of people I meet who have been coming to Cannes for years and have never even waded into the water.

Little bean-o dipped his toes in the water and crawled around in the sand for his very first time. He made little sand-mounds with dad and even tried to put a fistful into his mouth  (as one does). He ate french fries and had the best day. And we drank cold, refreshing white wine (sometimes even I need a break from rosé), ate shrimp and avocado salads and went for a swim. All in all, a perfect afternoon that we only cut short because Bobo was way overdue for his second nap.

Fistfuls of sand!

Tip #2: you think you can make a baby conform to your schedule because you’re a cool, bohemian world traveller, but you are wrong.

Give up and give in to the rigid nap schedule. It’s the only way to survive.  We strolled past the Grand to a little Italian wine bar tucked into a corner behind the hotel where Colin met with a good friend and fellow programmer / producer / bon vivant, while I went back home to put  buddy down to sleep. Colin got some great life and career advice as well as a dizzying breakdown of ‘passive income streams’ – a phrase I’d never once thought about before that day.

Our evening schedule was packed with at-home activities. First, a great meeting over rosé (duh) with a friend who has also recently made a big move in his career – leaving a big job as a major distributor and settling into a great development gig at a different company.

Tip #3: kick your impostor syndrome to the curb. 

We talked about the trepidation we all feel jumping into a new career path full of work that we’ve “never done before”. When you’re new to something, it’s natural to feel a bit shy and modest about calling yourself a pro before you’ve really mastered it. But that’s the thing: people in the film business are not shy or modest, as a rule. People who have never produced a thing call themselves producers all the time, and everyone just believes them. Years of experience count for a lot, even if you’re technically doing a different piece of the work than you used to.

Earlier in the week, I hesitated to call myself a writer (even though I’ve contributed writing to several books, journals, online publications, and websites for years) – but the 20-something actress I was talking to had absolutely no trouble describing herself as one, because she’s “working on two scripts”. I’m working on two scripts too, but they’re not done and I haven’t had one produced so I didn’t want to overstate my experience.  Turns out, I don’t need more experience, just the confidence to state my goals  out loud.

The pal who came over for drinks + deep talks is also a new dad, so he had some garden play time with S to give him a bit of a baby fix. We encouraged him to bring his family next year. It’s so worth it.

The day ended with some takeout pizzas from Papa Ninos and chats with good friends: Peter K, Colin’s successor on the Midnight Madness throne; Chad E, U8P’s acquisitions and project tracking whiz; the world’s best nanny, Tim; Graham Skipper (two-time Midnight Madness alum as an actor in The Mind’s Eye and Almost Human, and recent first-time director) and  Paul from FrightFest. A perfect bunch to share drinks and pizza and our final ‘big night’ in Cannes with.

We still had one more day, but we spent it packing, strolling, beach-ing and buying little gifts to take home to our families.  We topped it off with one of the best pasta dinners I’ve had in years at a place  we always look at and say “bet they have really great pasta”. Turns out, they do.


Cannes 2017 was a huge success, professionally and personally. It provided a much-needed mental break from our workaday world in Toronto, it was massively productive and it was fun as hell. Watching Sweetpea take his first dip in the Mediterranean and eat his first taste of Papa Nino’s melted my heart a dozen times over.

The MVP award of the fest surely goes to Tim, who was the best helper we could have hoped for and remains truly one of our favourite humans. Next up, we’re going to have to figure out how to get baby to Atlanta to visit him!

Hey Cannes … I’ll be back.

Tuesday May 23 arrived full of promise on the morning tide, washed up to our garden oasis announcing itself. “Here I am”, Tuesday said, “I am better than yesterday for you have slept for a few hours and are no longer ready to walk into the sea out of despair!”

Ok, let’s not get carried away. Sasha slept a bit better, but he still woke up every two hours. Then again,  waking up every two hours and going back to sleep after 10 minutes of quiet nursing is approximately  110% better than waking up once, and not going to sleep again  for the rest of the night.

Before I dedicate another post to how tired I am, let me just clarify that I think bébé is actually doing SO GREAT on this trip.

He’s been so cheerful and happy and awesome during the days, and he’s clearly having such a fun time, that I am hardly surprised that his sleep schedule has been turned upside down. He took his first-ever flight, he’s six time zones away from home in a new and unfamiliar place, he’s doing and seeing new things every day – it’s a wild adventure! He’s holding up incredibly well and I’m so proud of his fabulous resilience and openness to new foods and people and activities and sights and sounds. He’s the greatest baby.

We started the day by meeting with a producer and sales agent who reps a really  fun genre film catalogue and is producing a film and wants us to potentially be the Canadian partners on it. It’s by a director Colin has long supported and been a fan of (can’t reveal who it is yet but I’ll give you a hint: it’s a Midnight Madness alum). We got the first draft of the script at the meeting – actual printed copies to read on the flight back, if Sasha lets us (ha ha – as if he will let us).

From there, Colin went to meet with a father and son filmmaking team from the UK (the son writes and directs, the father produces). They’ve already made one film, are close to finishing the second, and want Colin’s help to figure out the path they should take going forward. They’re kind of adorable, and the promo they showed Colin for their second feature looked better than we expected, so we’re excited to see what else they have up their sleeves.

Lunch with the delightful Joyce!

Next up, lunch with Joyce Nashawati, the director of Blind Sun, which Colin had in Vanguard at TIFF last year. She’s such a delightful person and it was so nice to meet with her and find out about the projects she’s working on next. Not really a business meeting, just a great catch-up.

After lunch we went for a drink and some people-watching with a good friend. Sometimes you gotta decompress over Suze!

An aside about Suze.

About ten years ago, Colin and I watched a screener of a French dark-comedy called Ugly Melanie. In it, a girl who is ‘too nice’ but is treated badly by others, decides to stop being nice and start being evil. It’s kinda funny, but one of the gags in it involved her taking out all the beer kegs in the bar where she works, and stocking only Suze. The joke (to us non-French viewers who’d never heard of Suze), seemed to be that Suze was an old fashioned drink that nobody likes or wants to order. But what the hell was it?!

still from Ugly Melanie

So, of course, we became endlessly curious about Suze and got a bottle the second we arrived  in Cannes  the following spring.

Turns out, Suze is a pleasantly bitter aperitif – think of a bright greenish-yellow version of Campari but with more sweetness.

I wouldn’t drink it by the pint instead of beer, but it’s actually pretty good.

Anyway, back to our day. After drinks we went home to pick up sweet bébé and strap him onto Colin in the carrier, for a possible yacht adventure! We’d been invited for “yacht drinks” (a not totally uncommon Cannes occurrence – we’d actually already turned down two yacht invitations by this point because they didn’t work  with the baby schedule).

We were told to look for one of the only two wooden boats on the pier, and when we found it we realized that unlike most of the triple-decker-mini-cruiseships around Cannes, this one was an actual yacht. Like, a wooden boat with many very tall sails and no guardrails to prevent us from toppling over with a babe in arms. There was also no plank or walkway to get us onto the boat – just a two foot expanse of empty space to leap over – not so easy when you’re wearing a 25lb baby on your chest.

What most yachts in Cannes look like (photo credit: the inimitable Tim Reis).

So, we decided not to board the yacht, and instead went for drinks at a nearby restaurant with the friend who invited us. Wise decision.

After drinks and snacks, we headed back to the office of a sales agent we’d visited the day before, where they were hosting office drinks. We ate a few party snacks  (bobo loved the Spanish tortilla  on offer), introduced our adorable muffin to some pals, and then strolled back home to put him down to bed and have a couple of friends over for rosé in the back yard.

We hosted a couple of producer pals who we’d had dinner with a few weeks back in Toronto when he was briefly in town from LA. This time around we got to relax over baguette, fancy meats and cheeses and much rosé, and instead of talking just about work, we got to hear everyone’s absolutely hilarious ‘origin stories’ for getting into the business. One of them was so good that we swore we’d produce a Spalding Gray-esque monologue performance piece out of it.

One of our guests, from a previous day’s cocktail party.

There are a few minor cons about this year’s Airbnb apartment. The second bedroom is smaller than we thought, it’s on a high traffic street and the  noise of delivery trucks, mopeds and assholes in rented sports cars is quite loud late into the night. But the pro of having this garden that we could invite friends to was worth it all!

Tuesday was a good, productive, full and happy day. There have been way more of those than the doomy sleep-deprived kind on this trip, and I am very grateful for that.

Movie count: 0
Meetings count: 6
Good times count: 100


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Sometimes  the best and worst times are the same times. Is that what Dickens meant? I’ve never read A Tale of Two Cities.

Kidding, guys. Not about the book. It’s true that I haven’t read it, but I do know what he meant and it’s exactly what I’m talkin’ about. No tips on surviving the market today, just some real talk about surviving early parenthood, especially if you’re a working person. Or  just a person who likes feeling like a real living human and not a poorly rendered facsimile.

I had a ticket to the 8:30am Monday May 22nd screening of Yorgos Lanthimos’ Killing of a Sacred Deer (my most hotly anticipated title of the fest) and I was feeling pretty confident about my ability to manage it, after Sunday’s  success with the Baumbach.

But then Sasha woke up around 3:30am and decided not to go back to sleep until about half an hour before my alarm clock was going to ring.

I did not make it to the film.

The little jerk is up all night and then he’s somehow even cuter than the day before!

Tip #1: do what you have to do to survive, because “this too shall pass”. 

I don’t know how long-term, cumulative sleep deprivation affects you but it makes me feel like a corpse that’s been tasered a few times in a lame attempt to reanimate it.

Not getting enough sleep  makes me feel a crushing combo  of misery, doom and rage. I used to wake up cheerful every morning (I am a naturally peppy person in the mornings, in spite of not being a ‘morning person’). After over a year of never getting more than four uninterrupted  hours of sleep, I wake up grumpy every morning, with the same thought in my head: please, for the love of all that is good in the universe, let me get one goddamn full night of sleep before I die. 

Hasn’t happened yet, but I’m also still alive, so I guess it’s ok.

Anyway.  C’est la vie, and I know it won’t last forever. I mean, he’s gonna move out to go to college, right?!

In spite of our rocky start, and in spite of the fact that Sasha seemed to have caught a one way ticket to Crankytown, it ended up being one of our best days in Cannes, because the few meetings that we did make it to were so promising.

We had a few rapid-fire meetings while Sasha napped in Tim’s care – first with a company that might want us to work for them, then a new sales company run by old friends of Colin’s, where we watched a terrific promo with potential interest for  one of our clients, then lunch with our new friend Pablo, the founder of the extremely cool Morbido festival in Mexico.

Tip #2: don’t get defeated by rough days – sometimes just getting out into the sunshine can make a big difference, and actually accomplishing a task or two can feel like moving mountains. 

Then I raced back home to put The Beebs down for a second nap before jetting off to meet Colin at our last big meeting of the day, with a producer and a sales company about an intriguing project that they want our help with. I was sleepy and worried that Sasha would take a while to settle down for his nap and considered skipping this one but I’m so glad I didn’t. The ideas thrown around in the room were exciting, and I felt genuinely invigorated by it.

Plus, they served us dessert!

Zombie woman is grateful for cake.

Tip #3: FOMO is a boogeyman, don’t give it power. Skip social events with impunity and never look back! 

In the evening we decided to skip the big karaoke party that all our genre film friends would undoubtedly be at until the wee hours (an annual tradition that takes place in a divey bar near the train station that really feels more like home than like the south of France). The torch (of the  big job of pulling together  the annual karaoke extravaganza) has been passed on to a new intrepid organizer, our pal and former temporary Torontonian Kier-La Janisse (she’s rad, look her up here & seek out / buy her books). I wanted to go, say hi to pals, high five Kier-La for taking on the job of putting on the much beloved party, but … I was tired AF and in no mood. So I didn’t go and I felt great about it.

Instead, we had two lovely Toronto-based producers over (we used to share offices with their company).  We had snacks, rosé and brainstormed fun ideas for projects we might embark upon in the future. A perfectly relaxed end to the day.

Garden hangs with cool Cannes bébé.

Dark, sleep-deprived thoughts count: 100,000
“I love my baby so much I might explode” thoughts count: 100,000
Good meetings count: 6


Sunday May 21st was kind of a perfect day.

I woke up early (on purpose, and not just because a cute baby woke me) and strolled through the totally empty, sun dappled streets of Cannes to the Palais to attend an 8:30am screening* of the Noah Baumbach film, The Meyerowitz Stories.

rue d’Antibes at 7:00am

* Note to self: don’t go to 8:30am screenings without eating or drinking anything, you will feel nauseous.

The Baumbach film gave me everything I want from a Baumbach film: a quirky, dysfunctional family of charming intellectuals and/or artists. Best Adam Sandler performance since Punch Drunk Love, and a few really touching moments. It wasn’t brilliant, but it hit the spot.

horsin’ around by the carousel

When I walked out of the Palais, Colin and Sasha were waiting for me by the carousel. We strolled around together to the far eastern end of the Croisette, past the Martinez hotel. We  scoped out the public beach and  stopped for ice cream.

Tip #1: eat the soft serve in Cannes. It’s so good and the flavours are better than what we get back home. 

Sasha had his very first taste of ice cream (pistachio soft serve – wonderful) and then we meandered back home to put him down for a nap.

world’s cutest napper

Tip #2: when in the south of France, don’t forget to get wet in the Mediterranean. 

We maximized nap time by racing back down to the beach on our own while Tim watched over sweetie pie, so that we could take a very brief and very refreshing dip in the sea before racing all the way across the boardwalk to the other end of the Croisette to attend a genre-festivals mixer back at the ol’ Plage des Palmes.

It’s sad to come all the way out to the French Riviera and not go to the beach. Even sadder to come home and say “no, I didn’t even dip my toe in”. So, dip it! Dunk fully. It’s 100% worth it.

We ate more ice cream, by the way. It was a two-cone day. Banana caramel swirl soft serve the second time. Why doesn’t every ice cream truck on earth have these flavours?!

After catching up with a few good friends and meeting a filmmaker whose pitch I was really intrigued by, we scooted off to meet Team Shudder for a drink and catch-up talk – mostly about the films everyone had seen so far.

By this point, Sasha had woken up and we wanted to give Tim a break so he bundled the little guy into the stroller and came to meet us, and we proceeded to wander around before a meeting with a friend that ended up being cancelled

With no meetings and no social plans on the agenda, we felt a bit adrift and tried (but failed) to get takeout at a few places, until a Lebanese restaurant called Maroush near our place absolutely saved the day.

Tip #3: step out of the Cannes bubble at least once. 

We didn’t get much work done, but I got to see a movie, and we got to swim  and socialize and connect with pals and y’know what? I really needed this kind of day. Not every day has to be all about meetings. Sometimes you can take a day trip to Nice and visit the Chagall museum, or take a ferry to l’île Sainte-Marguerite and stroll around soaking in the history (it’s the island where the Man in the Iron Mask was held). Or just eat ice cream.

Movie count: 1 (finally!)
Meetings and/or receptions count: 2
Ice cream flavours count: 3