Johannes Nyholm explains why he’s not letting the star of his short film Las Palmas make the trip to Cannes.

The leading lady of Directors’ Fortnight short Las Palmas has been banned from making the trip to Cannes.

The reason? She’s just two years old, and her father — the film’s director Johannes Nyholm — thinks the Cannes circus might be too much for her.

The 14-minute short, which picked up an award at the Gothenburg Film Festival, tells the story of a drunk middle-aged woman, played by his baby daughter, trashing a bar in Las Palmas.

The two year old acts alongside marionette puppets, stealing food and drinks from their tables. It must be a contender for funniest film in Cannes, and a clip has already been a YouTube hit. “It started with a desire to do a documentary about her, but it gradually evolved,” says Nyholm, who previously visited Cannes with his puppet short The Doll Boy.

He admits his lead was not exactly open to constructive advice. “It was no use giving her directions, she did as she wanted. I’ve always liked to work with improvisation, so it’s not so different from some of my other films.”

Nyholm says he thought a lot about the ethical questions of making a film starring a child who has no knowledge of what she is involved in. “I did it on her terms, and the film is my tribute to her. I think she will like it when she’s old enough to see it.”

She might not be so happy about being deprived a trip to Cannes though.