Cannes Film Festival is the most anticipated event in the Cannes social calendar with intense media spotlight on official screenings, prestigious awards including the Palme d’Or, photo calls, red carpet fashion, charity galas and industry soirées.
On Friday 13 May, CityOut Monaco was honoured to step up to the occasion at the Raindance Filmmakers Party which was hosted in Cannes with guests including award-winning Film Producers, Directors, Screenwriters, Cinematographers and Crew alongside students from the Raindance Film School in the UK.
Elliot Grove, Founder of both Raindance Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA), and Suzanne Ballantyne, Co-Founder of the British Independent Film Awards and Senior Programmer at Raindance, mingled with guests in a private villa away from the Croisette – an exceptional opportunity to network amongst peers and share a few drinks in a relaxed environment.
Raindance Film Festival is the UK’s largest festival dedicated to fostering and promoting independent film in the UK and around the world, and the Filmmakers Party showcased business with pleasure in Cannes can be achieved in an authentic way; meaningful conversation took preference over deciding champagne crus, encouragement for projects took precedence over exclusive VIP guest lists.
Zachary James Miller, Producer and Director from Parisian-based 2 Bulls On The Hill Production said he believed the Raindance Filmmakers Party was successful because it is tied to the whole spirit of Raindance Filmmakers.
He said ‘That can-do attitude and that fighting spirit has helped it survive, grow, and thrive over the years. I remember one of the early ads for the festival was one where two guys are in a fist fight and then the caption read “Independent filmmaking….worth fighting for”. Raindance has always had an open and welcoming attitude towards filmmakers whether they be new or longtime experienced professionals. In fact, we’ve brought them together and that’s exactly what we do at the parties.’
Screenwriter/Producer Sunny Mason of Love Lake Productions agreed it was a great event. ‘The RainDance soirée provided a glamorous, yet comfortable venue for industry folks to network and share, no matter what experience level. Whether you were new to the industry or the Festival or an established professional, everyone was happy to talk about their projects, share ideas and network’.
Sarah Daly, Screenwriter at Hex Media placed huge importance on social events for forging connections in the industry, especially when challenged with getting public support for projects in certain genres such as horror.
She said ‘Hex Media, the production company I work for, is based outside of Edinburgh in Scotland where the filmmaking community is very limited, so events like this party allow us to connect with all levels in the industry. We met some very enthusiastic and talented film students who we encouraged to keep in touch, as well as some potentially useful contacts who are more established. We strive to produce intellectual and artistic horror films with something to say, but convincing an arts body of the value of these works can be difficult. Still, there are other benefits to working within the genre that make up for this in my opinion; such as a dedicated and open-minded audience and a well-established market.’
As conversation focused back to the Croisette, it was noted that Cannes Film Festival had an increased security presence this year in light of events in France and globally so this topic is certain to create discussion amongst audiences with today’s environment of surveillance and privacy.
Zachary said ‘My film “Counter Measures”(in Pre-Production) is sure to create much debate as many people are not aware of the extent of the Global Surveillance citizens face and also the ineffectiveness of it in countering true terrorism. Among other things, we’ll see through the eyes of many former CIA and NSA officials how too much information on people who don’t pose a threat is not only a violation of our personal liberties but also clutters the landscape and makes tracking those who do pose a threat more difficult.’
Raindance Film Festival’s tagline is Discover, Be Discovered and has remained unchanged for 24 years since inception, and the Filmmakers Party certainly provided an evening of discovery, inspiration and discussion.
For first timers to Cannes Film Festival, attendees shared some valuable advice:
Zachary James Miller : ‘The most important thing that a first timer to the Cannes Film Festival can do is a lot of advanced preparation. Get the ‘lay of the land’, know what happens where and what you have to do and where you have to go before you arrive so you’re able to hit the ground running. Cannes will not stand still for you while you’re trying to figure things out.
Bring hundreds of business cards and try and make some of your appointments in advance if you want to meet with particular companies. Take notes on the backs of the business cards you receive so you’ll know who you met and where and what you discussed.
Get plenty of rest before you come. You won’t get it here. Cannes does not sleep and neither should you plan on sleeping much while you’re here. Sleep is for afterwards.
There are plenty of “How to Survive Cannes” articles and guides. I’ve written some and so has Raindance. Read them before you go.
A lot of the staff you meet in Cannes are seasonal employees and are first timers too and so they won’t be able to help you much beyond looking on a map with you to tell you where something is. Do your homework for a successful Cannes.
Sarah Daly : ‘My biggest tip for first time Cannes attendees would be to be organised! Plan as many meetings as you can in advance of Cannes – preferably 3-4 weeks in advance before people’s diaries start to fill up. There’s nothing worse than scrambling to make meetings last minute and getting turned away. But even more important than that…wear comfortable shoes!’
Author Credit: Rebecca Whitlocke
Photo Credits: Paul Oatway of Oatway Photo