Monday, June 2, 2014

Cannes - My Experience Part 2/5

Business Of Films – Plotline

Once you scratch the star studded surface of Cannes Film Festival, you realize the layer below is all about business of films. For the first week, while the novice like us are settling, the stars are striking deals for their next films, producers are signing contracts for global distribution and sales of their films and the circus, fuelled by insane money runs in all might and vigor, through out day and night, on inaccessible yachts and celebrity hotels. You see celebrities vying for the who’s who parties to attend. Everyone seems to be competing to get the passes for a party. We managed one, but were too tired to attend by the time it started. Everything about this business side of films is intimidating.



Below the level of yachts and private parties is a huge market called ‘Marche Du Films’. It is set up on 2 floors of the Palais de Festival. It is filled with names known and unknown, companies that make films put a booth to sell their films. Familiar booths from India were, NFDC, Eros, Ultra and CII. People range from suave to desperate. A filmmaker from Brunei thought I was a film buyer from India, and pitched his film. I felt too bad to tell him the truth. Think of it, you spend fifty thousand dollars to set up a stall there, and are desperate to find buyers for your film, would you not be hopeful when you pitch your film. It might have taken years to be made. I also met people who produce Doraemon J. My producers Look! :)


Every country had bought space and created their pavilion to accommodate and promote cinema from their area. And hence, India Pavilion was the hang out place for all Indians to make connections and talk about their future projects. You see powerful people like Ramesh Sippy, Avatar Panesar (from Yash Raj Films),Guneet Monga and likes talking about mainstream as well as independent films production.


At the parties, which is basically a time to get free liquor, you see the chic Indians kissing cheeks in air, the way French people do. A story about that later. In the coproduction parties organized every evening with countries like New Zealand, Australia, Germany and France, people like us, with their new ideas ready in their bags, try to pitch ‘possible films’ to these ‘foreign’ producers. It always seems that they are interested, and they would love it. But neither happens. They tell you, “Sounds like a good idea, contact me when you have the script”. You humbly exchange cards. You put it in your upper pocket where you keep all the most important cards you would like to come back to and he keeps it in the lower pocket of his coat, which you assume is the dumping ground for strugglers.

Finally I walked up to a few producers and directors and I told them, “I am a writer from Pune and I don’t think anyone cares for writing here.” That kind of touched the right chord ; whomsoever I have said that smiled and gave me their card and told me, “Mumbai mein milna”. J


I clearly saw the creative artists finding themselves lost in this hullabaloo. In the massive cloud of stars, producers and filmmakers, we floated like sweet nothings, trying to weave our own little sub plot in the story.


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