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Party Time: Socializing at Cannes

Women in Film Luncheon

There’s a time for work and a time for play, but in the heat of the Croisette, the two are often combined.  People say that’s where the deal are made but it’s not always true. Deals are made hotel suites that have been turned into offices, although there still may be the big agreement that’s written on a cocktail napkin at the Majestic Bar around midnight by the industry titans.

IMG 2707For we mere mortals, though, there are contacts to be made at any number of receptions and cocktail parties.  Chatting over a glass of wine and soggy hors d’oeurves is a time-honored way of learning and networking.
Each year the Ontario party, which includes the Toronto International Film Festival, draws a couple of hundred people in the late afternoon, before evening screenings start.  Among those attending was Wendy Lidell, an industry veteram in Cannes for the first time in years as she recently joined Kino Lorber as senior VP of acquisitions. The Ontario party gave her a chance to connect with many people; some may be the beginning of acquisition deals.

Also at the Ontario event was Nadine Cloete. Nadine was in Cannes for the first time as part of the South African delegation. She has completed her first feature length documentary titled “Action Kommandant,” and was hoping to meet festival programmers and sales agents at the festival. This party was a great start. She brought with her a link to her film trailer: . She was set to start networking immediately!

The Dutch reception, taking place in the Netherlands pavilion, hosts Eye Film Museum in Amsterdam as well as the Rotterdam Film Festival. There, Genna Terranova, Director of the Tribeca Film Festival and Sheryl Mousley, Senior Curator, Moving Image at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, had a moment to swap war stories.

diane pernetA Shaded View on Fashion Film reception on a rooftop at the Palais had great views as well as fabulously dressed guests. Diane Pernet, who founded the ASVOFF, as it is known, and who screens the films in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou in Paris, is an American expat who now makes her home in France. The films in this annual series are focused on fashion; most are commercials for clothing, accessories and perfume brands. This was the first time Diane brought news of her festival to the Croisette (the eighth edition of the series had been held in December), so many brands were involved in this stylish cocktail hour.

In addition to institutional parties, there are traditional lunches, unencumbered by association with companies or brands. More personal and very off the cuff. I was happy to attend such a lunch, as I do every year, with a wonderful group of women working in various fields in the film business. Attending this year were, among others, Chaz Ebert, widow of film critic Roger, who is now the publisher of and  Sandra Shulberg, president of Indie Collect film preservation. Also stopping by were various film festival programmers and producers, Nicole Guillemet, Linda Blackaby and Joyce Pierpoline  among them. Many items were discussed, particularly Sandra Schulberg’s efforts to restore the early works of Christine Vachon, Todd Haynes and others.

Although it may seem like  superficial socializing, attendance at most of the social events of Cannes raise awareness to important issues beyond the dollar signs.

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