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Category Archives: Festival Diaries

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.

GIMME MORE PASTA, DAD!

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


Saturday May 20th was another “get up early with baby and then go down for a nap with him as soon as possible” start to the day. While I napped, Colin went to the Frontières proof of concept panel, and I joined him afterwards for a lunch also hosted by the Frontières market folks. They’ve been very good to us over the years, from the very first time we went there with The Void in 2013, through two other projects over the years – both with filmmaker/super-nanny Tim Reis!

Back at the Plage des Palmes for Frontières!

At the Frontières lunch we got to see some old pals and colleagues, got to hang with a few folks who we normally only see at Fantasia, and got to  recommend our fave pizza place (Papa Nino’s, obvs) to Void producer Casey Walker who’s in Cannes for his first time and presenting at the aforementioned proof of concept panel.

Best of all we got to sit down and catch up with Louis Tisné, who produced one of the fan-faves that Colin had in Midnight Madness back in 2014: the Belgian horror film Cub. Louis is a knowledgeable and insightful guy – and also a dad – so we got to chat about movies and about kids’ school plays in equal measure.

After lunch we raced off to say hi to another Midnight Madness alum and pal of Colin’s, French director Xavier Gens (his film Frontier(s) was at TIFF in ’07), who is completing a new film at the moment, Cold Skin. We got to see the promo, and I’ll say this much: if it delivers on its own promises, it’s gonna be one of my faves of the year.

Xavier Gens was the third in a run of awesome European directors – my version of ‘celebrity spotting’, maybe. I’ll tell you the other two as well, not to name drop (is it still name dropping if they’re not household names?) but to encourage you to see their films, which are so, so good:  A.J. Annila, whose super-creepy and beautiful Sauna is easy to seek out because it’s on Shudder; and Koen Mortier, whose mind-fuck Ex Drummer is 100% worth whatever efforts you need to put into seeing it.

Later in the afternoon we decided to be adventurous with bébé so we strapped him to Colin’s chest and brought him to the terrace of the Grand for a meeting. He made friends with people all over the terrace and was delightfully well behaved throughout.

Sasha pitches his big ideas at the Grand.

Afterwards, we strolled around in the direction of a meeting that was cancelled at the last minute and then got some Papa Nino’s pizza to go and settled into a nice dinner at home. Turns out that the guy who runs Papa Nino’s is named Alex. That technically makes him Sasha’s namesake, since Sasha is short for Alexander! He was delighted.

Sasha and his namesake, Alex of Papa Nino’s!

And, oh yeah, I picked up two tickets that I acquired through the far-less-complicated-than-it-used-to-be ticketing system. This system  doesn’t require paragraphs of explanation. You just log in, make your requests, and then get an email later telling you if you got ’em. Easy!

two hotly anticipated (by me!) titles

Movie count: 0
Rosé count: ∞
Pizza count: 3


Friday May 19th was a day of naps and also of productivity. Colin had a ticket to OKJA, the Netflix-funded Bong Joon-ho film that is part of the current hullabaloo between Netflix and the French film industry (I’m simplifying but you can find out more here or here – and I have to add that I’m with Will Smith on this one). 

While he and Tim enjoyed the film, I slept with booboo, then woke up with him, fed him and played for a while, then napped with him for another two hours for which I was immensely grateful. 

Then a producer friend came over with a wide variety of delightful pastries and we hung out in the garden for a while talking while Sasha played and munched on bits of croissant. Perfect day so far!

Tip #1: if you’re going to a market with a kid, it pays to get a place that’s nice enough to host people. 

I will preface this by saying that it’s often not possible. Apartments in Cannes can be wildly expensive, especially if they’re centrally located. However, just like the ‘arrive early’ tip from day 1, this is one of those targets of opportunity that you try to hit but shouldn’t stress out about if you can’t.

Many meetings in Cannes (or at any market or festival) must, by necessity, take place in the offices or booths of the people you’re meeting with. Sales agents, distributors and the like: they have offices and people come to them. Their schedules are too tight to allow them to zip all over town meeting with people, and besides, they need to have promotional materials handy, TV screens to show trailers and clips, and so on. But! There are also the producer types and the financiers and film festival programmers and buyers who float freely from meeting to meeting, location to location. 

They’re the ones you meet on the terrace of the Grand hotel or at your favourite cafe. If you’re lucky enough to have a centrally located apartment with a decent-sized living room or balcony (or in our case, a glorious garden – a rare thing for Cannes) you can invite them to come over so that you don’t have to cancel a meeting when your baby decides to nap at an inopportune time. If the difference in cost isn’t a deal-breaker and you have the option of getting a place where you can have people over, I highly recommend it. You might miss out on the late-night drinks at the Petit Majestic because of  kiddo, but how nice is  it to tell all your friends to swing by for a glass of rosé en route to all their fabulous parties?

As I warned in an earlier post, this year’s going to include a lot of niche tips for a niche audience.  But really, being able to host a small do – even when you and everyone else you know is  out of town! – is one of those slightly underrated but amazing skills that I advise  to anyone to pick up. It’s showbiz, after all. 

Colin got home from his blitz of post-movie Palais walk-by meetings partway through my garden hangout (I was in the middle of updating our friend on the progress of Birdland) and he whisked sweetpea off to the kids’ amusement area near the Palais to meet up with some pals who brought their older kids along to Cannes. 

Yes, by the way, there is a mini kids play area right by the Palais. There’s an adorable double decker carousel which I can’t wait to take bébé on, a little ride where kids can ride different cars along a track-loop, a mini-pool in which you can race remote control boats, and a playground nearby. It’s adorable. 

the ol’ Cannes carousel

The fun-zone is next to an outdoor restaurant where we decided to stop for lunch. Unfortunately service was so slow that Sasha fell asleep on Colin’s shoulder and he ended up walking him all the way home, fast asleep, and gently sliding him into his crib for a nap. 

the boat-race fountain and the mini amusement park rides in the distance

Tip #2: try not to feel too much crushing mom-guilt over the amazing experiences you’re giving your kid (that they won’t remember anyway).

I can’t tell you how bad I felt that Sasha fell asleep before eating lunch and before getting home to his cozy bed. I felt like I was starving and exhausting my poor perfect little baby, because I’m an awful, selfish mom. But really, he was fine. He was sleepy, so he fell asleep. Later, woke up cheerful and had a good dinner. He is 100% the best. It was as if I’d temporarily forgotten that he is not a shy baby and always makes his voice heard if he has real complaints. Take a chill pill, mom! You’re in the south of France. 

After Colin left to put Sasha down for his nap, I got his  lunch to go, finished up with our pals and then headed home to get ready for the next thing. We left lovebug with Tim, who’d spent the afternoon watching a film in the market, and we headed off to the TIFF cocktail.

The TIFF cocktail is held at the La Plage des Palmes, a patio / restaurant / party space overlooking the sea on the end of a long row of beachside international pavilions that surround the Palais. It’s a great opportunity to meet up with a lot of Canadians and also a lot of the international film festival  community. Plus, since Colin has only been out of TIFF for a few months, everyone was still expecting to catch up with him there. And so we went, and a lovely time was had by all. I reconnected with a woman I hadn’t seen since we spent a delightful afternoon in an Absinthe bar in Paris five-ish years ago with a small group of mutual friends.  As one does, in Cannes. 

Tip #3: have good answers for questions you’re likely to be asked.

After TIFF we raced over to the Grand for a cocktail hour meeting with our friends at EPIC, the company that is selling Jason Bognacki’s Mark of the Witch. We’ve dealt with a lot of sales, distribution & production companies over the years and they remain at the top of our list for being really good, honest  guys who do great work.  We talked to them about our future plans and were slightly stumped by their question of what we  really want to do next. Gotta work on that one. 

After such a packed day I was pretty happy to settle in with the bean and some takeout kebabs from a place across the street while Tim went out to meet friends and Colin went to a screening for Shudder. 

Early nights. My new favourite thing about Cannes.

Movie count: 0
Meeting and/or work-related-reception count: 3
Baby playdate count: 1


Ahhh, day two. Thursday May 18th, that is. Already, time is speeding up. The first day felt endless, and now, time is  starting to pass swiftly. By next Monday it’ll be whizzing by at breakneck speeds and then before I know it we’ll be home.

After a so-so night of sleep, Sasha ended up taking the world’s longest nap on Thursday late-morning, so we decided to  split up for the day – Colin attended the meetings we had booked and I stayed home and relaxed / napped / ate 1,000 croissants / caught up on emails while booboo snoozed.

post-nap Sasha catches up on the festival dailies

The biggest benefit of working with your partner is that you can take turns working and taking care of kiddo. But of course, since most of the people we’re meeting here are Colin’s business contacts, if one of us has to stay at home, it’s likely to be me (which, in this case, was completely fine because I needed the downtime).

By late afternoon we were able to leave the sweet, napped out little guy in Tim’s care and head out to a meeting with a Canadian producer who had great insights to share about where the industry is headed. Asking people what they think is working in the current market can be very illuminating.

Tip #1: when you meet with people, make sure you aren’t doing all the talking.

Yes, it’s important to talk if you’re pitching a project. But sales agents, distributors, financiers and other producers  can all be very insightful and helpful, if you ask questions and then shut up for a while.

We scheduled a lot of our meetings this year on the terrace of the Grand Hotel, a good see-and-be-seen place where everyone congregates. Our motivation wasn’t so much that we need to ‘be seen’, but that we weren’t 100% organized about our meeting-requests and pre-market emails to reach out to various friends and associates, so being somewhere that’s a central hub helps, because we’re likely to run into everyone we  need or want to see.

I’m in a teardrop-shaped pod. The terrace of the Grand is at my feet.

Tip #2: don’t be cranky with security, they’re just doing their damn jobs. 

This is kind of an aside, but an important one. Security has been beefed up this year. Big time. There are way more army types with big scary machine guns roaming the streets, and it takes a lot longer to get into the Palais because the badge-scanning and bag-checking system is a bit more thorough than it used to be.

I’ve only gone through security a few times but a note to huffy Americans (they’re almost always Americans): you don’t have to harrumph your way through the lineup or tell  the guy who’s just trying to process a thousand irate people a day that you’re “in a hurry” as if he’s trying to delay you on purpose. We’re all in a hurry! Just calm down and be patient. Accept the fact that you might sometimes be five minutes late because of security. Everyone will understand, because they’re going through the same security checkpoints as you. The guy who probably spends ten hours a day looking through handbags does not deserve your attitude.

Anyway.

After some walk-by meetings at the Grand and a fun catch-up with one of our Shudder colleagues, we went back to the apartment to snuggle our BB and get ready for the Shudder team dinner, which was at a fun but way-too-loud restaurant in the centre of town. Am I getting old? Yes. Was it also impossible to hear anyone more than one foot away from my face in there? Yes. The food was very good, though.

Tip #3: go to bed early sometimes. 

After dinner, we swung by the Petit Majestic to have a single beer and introduce our Shudder colleague and pal Sam Z to the late night watering hole for his  first time. And then we took our plastic cups of beer to go and headed home to bed. Sometimes, it feels just phenomenal to have an early (ish) night.

Movie count: 0
Meeting count: 2 (+ 2 that Colin did alone)
Social fun-gatherings count: 2