As the screening of LOOP approached, I had very little time to blog, so forgive the lateness of these posts! After a good talk with Lloyd Kaufman, president of Troma Entertainment, I felt a little better about my feelings for Cannes. It was nice to know I wasn't the only one who felt that it was an epicenter of film sleaze and that the real independent voice is getting lost in the so-called "low-budget" corporate conglomerate "independent" film world that includes companies like Miramax and New Line. Not that I have a specific problem with these companies or even the giants like Paramount and Warner Brothers- I like quite a few of the films they produce, but there should be room in the world for the "under $5 million" filmmakers such as Pericles and myself, too. The term "independent" is losing its original meaning more and more these days.
LOOP is the real deal, though. I have no idea what the budget for this film was, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't even close to $5 million! The marketing team at Cannes consisted of... well... me. Without a mini-Cooper with the painted logo of the film parading up and down the Croisette, a $200,000 party in a hotel lobby, full-page ads in Variety and a crew of market-savvy sellers and schmoozers sitting in a rented booth, LOOP was something of an underdog in a very bizarre world.
Case in point: I took an hour out of my over-busy schedule to help the guy who wanted me to do animation while I was at the festival (see my post from day two). He booked a 140-person VIP screening for his film (yes, those are expensive and tough to fill). He managed to get a couple of attractive interns to help him push the film. He managed to set up a "hot" (his term) party complete with shuttles that would take people from other parties to his own (for a documentary on Dante's Inferno- I bet Lindsay Lohan was just DYING to go). He even offered me a 5% finder's fee if I sold his film (which I had not even seen and had no interest in pushing). Yet somehow getting the actual film on DVD for the screening (meaning he had no film to show) was a last-minute priority...
With a mix of irritation, annoyance, vigilance and pity (mostly pity), I agreed to help him burn a DVD with Encore on his laptop. He offered to pay me back with dinner, which I refused. I only accept food as payment for the truly poor and passionate filmmakers of the world. All others must pay cash. After he made fun of my name (ha ha- it sounds like "Corney!" I bet kids made fun of you in school), I vowed to avoid his film screening and him for the remainder of the festival.
Aggressive measures needed to be taken. With this kind of well-paid competition, LOOP needed to become the Barack Obama of Cannes! What's a girl to do?
Shine, of course!
I took a deep breath and went out on the streets, telling everyone I met (particularly if they had blue market badges with purple (buyer) stripes) about LOOP! Pericles sent me hundreds of these glowing necklaces to which I affixed stickers detailing the web site, screening date, time, and location. The American Pavilion students loved them and helped me pass them out (particular thanks to Alicia, Barrett, Amber and Brittany- my roommates whose names I'm sure I just butchered- for their extra support).
I managed to pass out hundreds of postcards, bookmarks, necklaces and bracelets in the film market before I was escorted out by security (it is "strictement interdit" to do marketing in the market if you haven't spent thousands for a booth- yet another little f*%& you from the money holders). I had no idea, so I made my apologies and leveled with them to find out just how far I could push the law. I discovered that I could stand outside of the palais doors and pass cards out to whomever I wanted...
...provided that they not drop them within 10 meters of my person. Such a thing is forbided
Still, I was able to distribute the rest of the day's propaganda, saving a bit for the next day for the last minute "what should I go see crowd." I ended these rather triumphant days by watching "Blazing Saddles" outside on the beach. The film was actually projected on 35mm film and looked great! It was much needed comic relief and brought me back to reality.
An extremely bright satellite passed overhead, causing me to notice the stars that had broken out from behind the clouds- the real stars, from which we all come, famous or not. In the end, it doesn't matter how much status we are given here on this planet. We are all human. I try to keep this in mind, especially when talking with people who have some kind of "power" over what I want to do. Later that night, the almost-full moon crept up from behind the ships on the water, seeming larger than life. I tried to photograph the effect to no avail- it's an illusion that only exists in the mind, just like human "star" power. I'll write a post about that little optical phenomenon later.