April 2, 2009

Cannes’ yearly pearl, Cannes Film Festival

Are you ready to head down to Cannes, France in May? You might not be, but still, there is always such a thing as Cannes Film Festival, whether live or from remote TV broadcasting. Who wouldn't want to see Pamela Anderson hugging French papparazi, or Robert DeNiro sipping an espresso on the beach, or Sasha Baron walking around in the tiny swimsuit piece promoting his next film?

The yahts of all these millionaires and billionaires will be lining along the coast, stocked on the best champagne, caviar, truffles and such, expecting to host the A-listers from around the world: be it Roman Abramovich with Daria Zhukova, freshly arrived from London to declare love for each other (he did leave his ex, wife Irina, a pretty good chunk of his billions, or $300 million to be exact), or be it Mr. Sean John (former Puff Daddy), who again is expected to be seen among the "coolest" people in and around the Cannes. Either way, no matter what the turnout will be among the celebrities, the festival is still about films! Cannes Film Festival is still the place where films around the world are being recognized and appreciated.

(Roman Abramovich and Daria Zhukova)

Cannes, France

Festival de Cannes (Cannes Film Festival)
May 13 – 24, 2009

This is probably one of the most known, recognized and respected international film festivals in the world. And it is probably the oldest of them all. The Festival was created in 1939 as a proposition of the French minister for Public Instruction and the Arts, Jean Zay, who wanted to introduce an international film event in France. Why in Cannes – it was chosen for its "sunshine and enchanting setting". However, the festival didn’t see the light until after the WWII. In 1945, the French Association for Artistic Action was asked once again to organize a festival to be held under the aegis of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of National Education and, from 1946 onwards, the newly founded National Cinema (CNC). And the countdown has begun, making it almost a 65-year old international film festival.

Cannes Film Festival is regarded as the “it” festival to have your film viewed and judged by the internationally selected film committee, which usually includes film experts from around the world. The festival is also the “it” event to be seen it. From French celebrities, like Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu, to American A-list stars, like Brad Pitt and Robert DeNiro, this is the place that fills up with glamour, endless champagne, and topless beach beauties for at least two weeks when the festival takes place in the south of France, Cannes.

The festival prides itself with being the place that not only brings world recognition to little-known directors, actors and writers, but also reclaims the prestige among the film industry players, who either have been forgotten or were not recognized in their lifetime. This is how Hollywood gets its Oscar’s picks for the best “International Film” category each year, and this is how the theatres around the world get to pick and play the films that otherwise wouldn’t have made it across their cultural border. The festival is also known to present us with new international talents – this is how Penelope Cruz, Sophie Marceau and Gael García Bernal made it across the Atlantic to land roles in American films.

(Alan Delon and Sophia Loren, Cannes Film Festival, then)

(Woody Allen with Rebecca Hall and Penelope Cruz, Cannes Film Festival 2008)

Of course, this is not the only reason many watch or attend the festival. The festival also draws in celebrities from around the world, whether they are part of the selected films or not – otherwise how would you explain Pamela Anderson’s every year’s attendance at the festival? This is because besides film reviews, awards and critiques – Cannes is a Petri dish for fab parties, either on land or water – many celebrities (of all kind, from fashion designers and models to actors and Royal families) and millionaires come to Cannes, armored with private yachts, luxury suits and entourage to help them feed all those A-listers with red caviar, foie gras and Dom Pérignon, the préstige cuvée of Moët & Chandon.

And if you ever wonder where French go when Cannes is invaded by Hollywood and guilt-free paparazzi - try Corsica, just off east of Cannes. It is the place, where Napoleon was born and raised, and which is still the home for one of the largest navy base in France. The fact that interests me the most is that it’s the place where Napoleon was not only born but it’s where he later escaped to hide from the shame of defeats.

Besides, if you’d ever inquire who to turn to for the public relations support in the South of France, try Denny Davidson, one of the PR moguls in France. And if you are looking to host and/or throw a grande party for one of your high profile and demanding friend (or client), go to Quintessentially, global concierge services. With offices around the world, they become experts for special accommodating, five-star services, and special events. Anything from taking a helicopter to the beach to having black caviar delivered to the terrace of your private suite. However, I still get the satisfaction of a simple bed & breakfast petite room in the suburbs of Cannes with a 5 Euro glass of Beaujolais.

Check in with me in a few weeks for more details on Cannes. If you are interested to see what I wrote about last year's Cannes, go to Cannes 2008...or A Bit of History, Wine & Duck Foi Gras.

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