This is what I wrote 4 years ago about my Cannes experience, when I visited it with my short film Both, I wonder what I will write in a few days from now on my second visit with Shankaboot for the Emmy awards Ceremony.
"That day, I finished my shift as a barman in one of Canterbury's pubs, I was asked by the pub manager "G" one of very few friends at work if I want to join him for a swim.
It was a very strange question!!!
Though it sounds normal to many, but not to me. Since I do not practice any kind of sport, Not because I do not care if I live longer, no, I just hate the feeling of sweat.simple and I do not care how marvellous is the feeling of the shower after gym, its just not my thing and still I can shower without working my ass out jogging and sweating!!
"G"s question was still strange, although it doesn't evolve any sweating. Maybe because it’s England and the last question you could imagine is "WOULD YOU GO SWIMMING??" and that is for very obvious reasons and nothing to do with the Queen.
I looked at "G" in his baggy trousers, I could see a face of guilt for asking me that. "Jacuzzi" he said.
In the Jacuzzi we sat, we didn't move,we talked, we giggled and we said that we have to go to the FUN FAIR in the coming week.
I sat watching the swimming pool for like 10 minutes before I had a go.
We left, in Sainsbury's we were shopping for a bbq to follow our jacuzzi...We were treating ourselves...
it was around four in the afternoon, that day was the 16th of April. My mobile phone rings, an international call...
"BASS BRRECHE" in a French accent
"YEAH SPEAKING" in my random accent
"TU PARLES LE FRANCAIS??" he asked
"I DONT KNOW HOW TO WRITE EITHER" I said
"IT'S CHRISTOPHE LEPARC FROM THE CRITICS WEEK IN CANNES"
"WHY YOU ARE NOT RESPONDING TO OUR EMAILS??
"ANYWAYS IM GLAD TO TELL YOU THAT THE FILM IS SUCCESSFUL FOR THE COMPETITION"
"SAY AGAIN??" I asked him
He repeats the same sentence
"OH THANKS THANK YOU VERY MUCH I WILL SEND YOU AN EMAIL STRAIGHT AWAY
That what I could have said, because I wasn't really with it at that minute....I was taken to somewhere else...what Christophe didn't see the customers in the supermarket saw...and I wasn't embarrassed, I still shop there, and see the same people.The shopping changed straight away to another kind of shopping including heavy measures of spirits... Roseanne my sweet girlfriend joins us "G" and me...
The first phone call was to my friend "ROCCO"... Eric who is more than a brilliant cinematographer, he is a close friend...
The second phone call was to "ESTRELLA" Andrea the star
The third phone call was my mother...she cried and cried
The fourth phone call was my dad...he didn't say much...but he said so much
My sis GHINWA...The one who did produce the film with her husband Hadi, she said as if I paid her a billion....I asked for some change...we laughed
I tried to call everyone to thank them for all the trust they gave me, surely I missed someone but it's inevitable.
I drank and ate for the whole night and spoke on the phone,...it was a very special night… I went to bed late,I couldn’t sleep, but I did...I slept happily...
Woke up at 6, at 6:30 i was calling the ministry of culture in Lebanon, it was 8:30 there.
spoke to the man in charge, who wanted to know in which category in Cannes I was accepted , and I didn’t know either...I mean I knew but I didn’t know how to explain it to that ministry gentleman, especially that the name of the competition is a bit long for my French:
46 SEMAINE DE LA CRITIQUE/CANNES 2007
Anyhow I promised to send him some documents that he personally already have, so they could participate in funding the film, its a Lebanese film at the end of the day. No answer for 1 month.
For a month, I was either on the phone to raise money, or queuing for a visa, or on the computer to answer and reply on the emails, coming in a random routine to my inbox, mainly from the Critics week asking about massive amount of documents, the only problem I had was, I couldn’t say no to any of their requests, and I started to notice that after I got this call on the Jacuzzi day, the amount of money I paid on the film was more than the money I shot the film with.I discovered that going to Cannes is more expensive than doing a short film, this was a fact that i have to learn, and accept without even thinking...
I'm not going to get involve in embassy’s stories now.I keep it for another time….
Three main bases were formed to get our print on time, that is 12 days from the lab to Cannes by 1st of May…one in London, with Dana and Eric (tarmak films), one in Beirut where another great friend Hatem was dealing with all the press material, and the third was in my house, Canterbury…in the green…
We did it on time…everything finished on time, the print, the visa, the accommodation, the press…everything on time…
On the 16th of May we arrived in Niece, we picked our tiny citroen car that could barely move, and drove to Moujins a nice posh area in south of France. Dana managed to get us a villa from a generous Lebanese lady Iman…a nice villa, a sunny weather, a cherry tree, and a swimming pool…a good start.
We unpacked. Zeina and then Andrea in a bed room, Eric and Dana as well…and the living room for me…I didn’t care where and how I sleep.
On our way to Cannes, the first time…I didn’t know how I'm feeling…just like a nine year old sitting in the back flying a tissue out of the window, imagining that this tissue is Super Man.
We arrived, parked, got lost, then met the crew of the festival, we finally did it, Marion, Juliette, Helen, Remi, Ce’cile, Bernard, Jaun-Christophe,, Nadia, Sandie, Dany, Francis, Samira, Claire...at that time I didn’t remember any name…
The only name that I had really to remember was Juliette since I was overwhelming her with things on a daily basis over any kind of communication available, phones faxes emails…and Christophe since I have to tell him that his phone call was the best call I ever had…
The premiere of the film was on the 17th of May, at cinema Miramar…a day never to forget
We screened 8 times over 3 days…
On the second day and in Velbonne I told Christophe about the phone call, and after the screening I was asked by one of the audience: WHAT IS YOUR FILM ABOUT. It’s about nothing I told him…
My time in Cannes went quick…but it was a nice quick, it was full of moments, it was full of people, and characters, from the stars to the homeless on the streets of the town, it was full of hotels and security men, of bars and clubs, restaurants, tourists, fans, journalists, actors, directors, liars, critics, alcohol, parties and after parties, producers, prostitutes, and cars, models and labels, Cannes was full of (Brad Pitt)s and (Angelina july)s, of cars and official cars. It was a mixture of countries and markets manipulating in five or six stores building, 65000 accreditations without the tourists and fans and those who were waiting and queuing for hours just for a ticket or a glance on George Clooney…Cannes was full of first times,(premiers) first time film, first time villa, first time red carpet, first time tuxedo…so many first times…In Cannes I met a bunch of amazing filmmakers, Chris and maciek, Peter, Marine, Esmir, Juliana and marco….in Cannes I’ve seen how the toilets are going to look like in maybe 20 years, where the seat works on laser censors…it feels your presence and does the job sometimes for you…it’s a bit freaky but it was in the Carlton hotel, so its okay I guess…In Cannes you are always waiting, waiting for something to happen, a party to be invited to, a red carpet you could climb, a ticket for the Tarantino…but you realise after few days that there is nothing much to lose…at the end you can see Tarantino’s in cinemas anywhere without any queue… it was in the Carlton, the same hotel of the dreamy toilet seat, on the balcony Peter an amazing kiwi was explaining how cool Tarantino is trying to be in his new film…true:
how cool do you think Tarantino is?? Please let me know…
or how cool are the guys in Ocean 13 are??
I still don’t understand that “cool” ideology, and how could people cry and scream, shout and take their shirts of, and put the red trousers on just to have an eye contact with their super heroes, so they could sleep happily on a Saturday night!!! and they just don’t care about hurting others feelings, like they did to me. HONEST . How could people do that to me???
Cannes was coming to the end, you can feel the energy around, you don’t want to leave there, but you want, you want to speak more with people have the same worries and dreams as you, but no time left, I could see it in the faces of the “la Semaine de la critique “ crew, they were tired but still could work, as if they didn’t want the festival to finish.
For me these are THE COOL PEOPLE
people I met there turn to be friends in few days…
Cannes was full of moments, true, nice, sweet, fake, but every moment had its own story…I left the party, on the last day with a hope…to meet again.
Back in England, the first few days were rainy, and cloudy…but it was all what I needed…back to SQUARE ONE…"