Immense and immediate describe the enormity and the pace of the Cannes Film Festival. My first Cannes was a last minute decision in 2007 and I found a spot on a boat, Habibi docked in the Port de Cannes marina through craigslist after the opening weekend. It was a five minute walk to the Palais so I grabbed the opportunity.
Last minute can work both ways: It makes your travel agent crazy, and it can be nerve-wracking when you discover your passport is expired and you have to appear at the New York office to expedite it (there’s a hefty fee). That’s IF you have all the elements in order including travel plans within two weeks, an invitation from the Festival, and/or the business you represent and an airline ticket.
The flight was Frankfurt to Paris and then a train to Cannes with a transfer at Lyon. I had to remember to validate my train billet (ticket). The billet specifically directs you to a certain car and seating and I only had to remove myself one time to my proper seat. I met two filmmakers on their way, so last minute as I had, yet they seemed a bit more stressed about it. As filmmakers, they should have come in sooner for meetings since most of the distributors would be heading back home after the opening weekend, but you never know what might happen and who you’ll be starting a conversation with. They has a Short film and I read about the Short Film Corner in the market. Plans to check it out.
Navigating the schedules, switching train platforms, voit (car) and seating, using phone cards and vending machines might seem like a nightmare,but it’s my style of travel. There wasn’t going to be much time to sight-see during the Festival, so taking the train is a wonderful way to see the countryside especially spending an extra 20 Euro for the business class seat. Definitely worth it.
After twenty-two hours of travel, a shared cab ride and arrival in Cannes about half past ten and I immediately noticed the dress code. Formal evening dresses for women (short black, long sequins, gowns), black tie for men everywhere you go and can start at any time of day. I had seen formal dresses on women at 9 a.m. As long as the sandals are packed, it’s not going to matter. What does matter is the weather and in 2007, it was quite hot most of the time there. The following year, it was cold and rainy similar to what I read what went on this past Sunday at Cannes.
When I finally found where I was staying at the marina, it was well past midnight and I was about to stay on board, when my host invited me to come back to the party he was attending (he was also dressed in a tux). Why not, I thought. I decided to dive right in. Once you get on this ride you don’t get off of it until the plane ride home. Just keep on on writing and I’ll read about it in my posts.
The afternoons were gorgeous with many panel discussions set up in tents on the beach. Being in the marina, there were a few opportunities to hang out on the boats and an invitation from a yacht or two always came our way.