By Summer E. Sinclair
A producer friend (and fellow TNH member, Pina De Rosa) is going for the first time to this year’s International Cannes Film Festival, and she asked me: ”What would you do differently in 2014, knowing what you know now?“ Well, several things actually… But, I wouldn’t trade any of it! I attended the 2010 Cannes Film Festival via my short film Now or Never's acceptance into the Cannes Short Film Corner, and the Cannes Independent Film Festival. My short had an all-female production team (written, directed and produced by women) and we were thrilled for the chance to hob nob and pursue our dreams at the most prestigious film festival in the world!
A few things I would do differently, if I knew then what I know now:
1. Book screening time in advance at the Short Film Corner. The Short Film Corner is (or was then) part of the Court Metrage – film market (non-competition). However, our short film was in competition at the Cannes Independent Film Festival, which was held at a hilltop, poolside mansion. Great for friends and family eager to support! Not so convenient for producers and industry execs we were hoping to network with at our competition screening.
2. Select major Films in advance that I want to see in the International Cannes Film Festival. The Short Film Corner gave us a festival badge with access to screenings, but we had to sign up online in advance to get a seat. Of course the most popular films and most popular screening times fill up quickly!
3. Make sure everyone on the Film Team has a main festival access badge, even if it means spending the money for additional passes. We were only issued two, for myself (writer) and my director, which made it difficult for our co-producers to feel included and motivated. Find out in advance what industry panels are happening each day, what the basic SFC badge grants access to, and if it is worth it to upgrade (plus d’argent) to a more VIP festival badge. For instance, Ryan Gosling sat behind my team on the plane (yep, in Coach), but we never made it to his panel…
4. Arrive on the first weekend of the festival, even if it means paying a little extra airfare to arrive on a Friday or Saturday. By arriving on Monday, I feel like I missed the pizazz of the Opening Weekend festivities, and had to dive right into business without warming up South of France style!
5. Don’t allow hangers-on to tag along with your project to Cannes! Especially yacht-seeking gold diggers… Okay, we all know Cannes is full of wannabes who are just there to party. Unfortunately, my director invited her roommates, a DJ and a new-media host, to do just that. Because these two girls had no creative involvement in our film, they had no desire or inclination to support us on a business trip. The whole group dynamic shifted to meeting boys, getting on a yacht, then partying ‘til dawn at every club, sleeping in the next day- only to repeat the cycle all over again. Two of the girls did somehow end up at Naomi Campbell’s birthday party, drinking Evian with Will I.Am. And, a couple of others definitely made it onto a yacht. So, there is something to manifesting your reality if you want it bad enough, huh? I, on the other hand, was the nerd who stayed in every night apparently eating everyone else’s food, because I was busy producing and editing our FlipCam Contest Short that we somehow wrangled everyone to shoot that week. As well as diligently signing up for screenings, pitch panels and Festival sponsored parties we could actually get into! Six girls sharing a 2-bedroom condo was not the best idea, though cheaper… Now I know why I never joined a sorority!
Okay, so that last point was definitely a vent. I feel much better now… In all honesty, I was disappointed that we didn’t secure an investor for the feature version of our short, which I still feel is a dynamite ensemble script, primarily to be shot in one location, for under a million dollars. We did, however shoot a fun silent short on location with the free FlipCam that the Short Film Corner gave us “Yes We Cannes”: http://vimeo.com/11896001 And, I have the most amazing memories and a fondness for la Cote d’Azur that will live with me forever…until I have a vacation villa there! And, with the help and respect of talented folks we met at other festivals (Oxford Film Festival) and independent film projects we had worked on that year, we connected at Cannes with producers and industry execs we would not have otherwise had access to, which just may ignite future film endeavors. That’s the beauty of Cannes. You never know who you’re going to meet! But, I do believe we have something to do with the opportunities we create. So, my advice to the lucky 2014 Cannes Film Festival attendees would be to surround yourself with like-minded people who have the same passion and drive you do for your project, and be ready for anything the universe may flow your way! Always remember that dreaming is free, so let yourself soar and say “yes” – you Cannes! (Bon Voyage and Bon Chance to TNH Member, and my goal partner, Pina De Rosa attending Cannes this year!)
Summer E. Sinclair is a Writer, Actor and Entrepreneur who lives in Los Angeles with her husband and ten month old son, Sage.
You can view Summer's 2010 Cannes Independent Film Festival Official Selection short (Now or Never) at:
Check out her website: www.summeresinclair.com
Follow her Blog: www.creatoergosummer.wordpress.com
*Please note that not all experiences, beliefs and ideas are shared by each member of the “The New Hollywood.” We are a group of shepherds, not sheep.