A roundup of Cannes fun, from John Lasseter’s wine habit to Steve McQueen’s son.

May 22

Cannes Champagne

Piper-Heidsieck has been the festival’s official champagne supplier for more than 22 years. Now that’s something to toast!

The company launched its new Grand Cinema line at Cannes this year, from the swish Piper-Heidsieck suites at the Five Hotel, JW Marriott, Nikki Beach and C Suite at the Carlton.

The drinks brand was also the official Champagne partner at the Heart Fund Gala charity event

May 21

Chad McQueen and Jamie Carmichael

Content’s Jamie Carmichael celebrated the premiere of Steve McQueen: The Man and Le Mans with the famed actor’s son Chad McQueen.

May 20

Lasseter goes pink

Lasseter wine

During a press presentation of Pixar and Disney’s upcoming slate, John Lasseter also confessed to another reason he likes coming to Cannes. 

“My wife and I have a winery in Sonoma Valley, the Provence of America,” he said. “We love making wine. We love the rose from here. We came back from the festival in 2009 [when Up opened Cannes] with 29 bottles of rose stuffed in our suitcases.”

Now his Lasseter winery has “set out to make a true Provencal rose,” he said proudly, before beaming about a 90 score from Wine Spectator. “We’ve sold out of this year’s production already.” Sounds just as exciting as the box office returns for Pixar.

May 19

The festival experts speak

British Council panel

British Council panel

Some top festival heads offered some insight into how they ‘do’ Cannes at the Inside Festival Programming panel at the UK Film Centre, in association with the British Council.

Piers Handling of Toronto revealed the festival has a delegation of about 20 people in Cannes, from programmers to board members to communications executives. “We attack this like a military operation, every single film [in the festival] is covered by a programmer…but there is a big tension in wanting to see the films that the sales companies want you to see, and being in meetings talking with these sales companies about these films you don’t then have time to see.”

John Cooper of Sundance added: “You have to balance out what is serendipity and what is planning. You can go to a party and meet people you didn’t know you needed to know. I go to a lot of parties I guess. it’s interesting to be in informal situations too. Sometimes the meetings can be too formal.”

Cooper said that he also takes time to look around the festival infrastructure and design. “I take photos of how they are selling themselves,” he said, to see if any ideas about theatre management, design or people moving can be imported to Park City. 

Thomas Hailer of the Berlinale said sometimes it’s important to attend smaller festivals as well. “For me it’s also important to do other festivals, Sarajevo is always a revelation, it’s the right size, they have wonderful hospitality,” he said. 

The programmers talked practically about how they keep track of so many meetings. Handling says he’ll take notes on his phone and follow up with emails almost immediately. Cooper also says he emails “right away” so that serves as a record of the meeting. He joked that he meets so many people he sometimes forgets names — “I beg for forgiveness and call everyone honey…people keep changing their hair which I hate. At Sundance you can remember everyone by their hats!”

Handling remembered his past Cannes highlights such as Aki Kaurismaki’s Shadows in Paradise and Michael Haneke’s debut film The Seventh Continent alongside more recent titles such as Dogtooth and Police, Adjective.

One of Cooper’s highlights was Once Were Warriors and The Tribe. Novotna praised P’tit Quinquin by Bruno Dumont last year. And Hailer spoke about his favorite discovery of Berlin 2015, Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria

As Novotna said, “We all have those pleasures of discovering people. It’s great to make it happen for filmmakers or talents.”

Portman finds Love

Voltage's Nicolas Chartier and Natalie Portman

Voltage’s Nicolas Chartier and Natalie Portman

The official afterparty for Natalie Portman’s directorial debut A Tale of Love And Darkness was held on Saturday at 61 Le Restaurant.

Dior sponsored the party alongside sales company Voltage Pictures. Pictured are Voltage’s Nicolas Chartier, an executive producer on the film, with Natalie Portman.

Toasting Canadian talent

Telefilm Canada party

Telefilm Canada party

Telefilm Canada celebrated Canadian filmmakers in Cannes.

Pictured left to right: Andrew Cidivino, director of Sleeping Giant; Carolle Brabant, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada; Denis Villeneuve, director of Sicario; Philippe Gagné and Jean-Marc Roy, co-directors of Bleu Tonnere

Dog days

Right Said Fred show off this year’s Palm Dog collar

Right Said Fred show off this year’s Palm Dog collar

This year’s Palm Dog prize will be presented at the UK Film Centre on Friday at 1pm.

“This year is the 15th anniversary and to celebrate we will have special short film award to spread the love,” says Toby Rose, founder of the Palm Dog. “Among the contenders in the main competition is The Dog in The Lobster … which sounds like a gastropub name.”

He adds: “Word has reached the Palm Dog team that there is a dog chowing down on battlefield corpses in Macbeth. Bad boy!”

Other contenders include the canine stars of Je suis un soldat and The Fourth Direction.

May 17

‘Amy’ director Kapadia here with Ali & Nino

Adam Bakri Maria Valverde Asif Kapadia

(l-r) Adam Bakri, Maria Valverde, Asif Kapadia

British director Asif Kapadia wasn’t just in town with the world premiere of Amy, basking in those five-star reviews. He was also talking about his next feature film, Ali & Nino, which is currently in production.

Kapadia talked to buyers and industry guests about the new project at a dinner on Saturday night. The story of star-crossed lovers has been shooting in Azerbaijan and Istanbul. IM Global handles sales. Christopher Hampton adapts Kurban Said’s novel;  Kris Thykier produces. 

A Cannes farewell

Lissy Bellaiche

Lissy Bellaiche, festival consultant for TrustNordisk and before that a long-serving international expert at the Danish Film Institute, is ready to retire from Cannes. 

This festival marks her 36th year in Cannes. “It has been a fantastic 36 years, but it’s time now,” she says. “It’s time to enjoy my life with my family and see my grandchildren and so on. But I will surely miss it.”

When the well-known festival expert told TrustNordisk CEO Rikke Ennis she wanted to step down, she had one request: “I told TrustNordisk that I wanted to leave but I wanted to come to Cannes to say goodbye to all my friends. I just didn’t want to disappear.”

She’s trying to avoid any big retirement parties because she says “if people make speeches I will be too afraid of crying.”

Some of her favourite memories in Cannes include “walking the Croisette in 1980 and seeing walking into the all big American film stars, it was like a dream.”

She also remembers being “naive” but brave when she started at the DFI and Cannes hadn’t had a Danish film in competition since the times of Carl Theodor Dreyer.

“So I just called Gilles Jacob’s office and I invited him to Copenhagen to watch our fantastic films. My colleagues said, ‘You’re crazy, he’ll never travel here.’ He came and I thought, ‘Shit! What am I going to show him?…But I was following everyone at the film school and I knew this guy whose work I liked was Lars von Trier…and he had made The Element of Crime.”

Her ambition paid off, and the film was shown at in Cannes Competition in 1984.

Drawn Together 

Sketch of Talent Talk Brooklyn

Source: Nesta Morgan

Nesta Morgan, the storyboard artist, cartoonist and film production designer, is attending Cannes as usual sketching inspiring scenes of Cannes. 

Here she captures one of the panels at the UK Film Centre, with Brooklyn producer Finola Dwyer talking about how she co-produced the John Crowley Sundance hit. 

From left to right: Parallel Pictures Susan Mullen of Ireland, moderator Wendy Mitchell, Finola Dwyer of Wildgaze Films, and Pierre Even of Canada’s Item 7.

May 16

Klowns of Cannes

Wendy Mitchell Klown

From left: Casper Christensen, Screen’s Wendy Mitchell, Frank Hvam

Henrik Bo Nielsen, CEO of the Danish Film Institute, joked that 2010 hit comedy Klown was a rare kind of Danish success: “For once someone paid all their support money back,” he said with a laugh, as he introduced the film’s stars (Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen), director (Mikkel Norgaard) and producer (Jesper Zartov) at a reception in Cannes.

On a more serious note he praised how successful the Klown TV series and first feature film had been. “In Denmark of course everyone knows Klown, everyone aged 10-90. It’s one of the most amazing success stories of Danish serial fiction and cinema in many many years,” he said.

Protagonist Pictures CEO Mike Goodridge then introduced three clips from the forthcoming sequel Klown Forever, drawing big laughs from assembled buyers and industry guests. Goodridge said Protagonist boarding the sequel (and taking over rights to the first film as well now) was a no-brainer, as he’d loved the first Klown so much he’d “torturing my poor colleagues reciting moments from the film over and over.”

Casper said Cannes was a chance to catch up with the film’s creative team without a busy shoot. “We never get to hang out and celebrate. We’re doing that in Cannes.” Frank added that it meant “we have three or four days to hang out with each other.”

Frank said, “it’s the party of the year” before Casper butted in: “It’s only the party of the year for Frank.”

So Frank reached for another beer and changed his reaction to Cannes: “It’s a chance to get divorced.”

The hilarity continues when the film is launched in Danish cinemas in September.

May 15

Do Androids dream of Cannes

Cannes Japan Day Project Asuna

One of the most talked about starlets of Cannes isn’t even a real human being.

Asuna the android made her festival debut at the Japan Pavilion. “It was a long flight from Tokyo, but I’m so thrilled to be here to meet the great artists and industry people at this beautiful, historic festival!” Asuna said.

“I’m here to remind the world that Japan is a creative country filled with innovative ideas. Please come chat with me at the Japan Pavilion this weekend. I don’t bite – my programming doesn’t allow it. Just kidding!” 

And here we were thinking Ex_Machina was a fiction!

A Zambian win

Cannes is welcoming its first Zambian film — E18hteam, a documentary which has a market screening Saturday at 6:30 at The Theatre Alexandre III.

The story tracks the Zambian national football team, The Chipolopolo (the Copper Bullets), and their 18-year journey to become champions, from a tragic plane crash in 1993 that killed the entire team to winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012. Star coach Herve Renard will appear at the screening.

This production is a Spanish and Zambian co-production directed and produced by Juan Rodriguez-Briso and also produced by Ngosa Chungu.

May 14

Klowning around

Klown Forever

Those rapscallions Casper Christiansen and Frank Hvam from the cult hit comedy Klown are in Cannes to tout their much-anticipated sequel, Klown Forever. They are calling it a “Tour De Croisette,” which at least more family friendly than the first film’s famous Tour De Pussy. It makes The Hangover look like a kid’s film.

Klown Forever sees the Danish duo visiting Los Angeles and engaging in their usual inappropriate hijinks — there’s more nudity, cameos from Isla Fisher and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, a Great Dane added to the mix.

The film’s sales company, Protagonist Pictures, along with Nutmeg Movies and the Danish Film Institute are stirring up a little ‘tys tys’ (as the boys might say, translation: hush hush) fun with buyers on Friday night. 

“It is a rare treat to have Frank and Casper among us at Cannes. Klown featured some of the most extraordinary, eye-popping, gasp-inducing, side-splittingly funny moments of any film I have ever seen, and Klown Forever is even better. Seriously, these guys are amazing,” says Protagonist CEO Mike Goodridge.

Cannes gives back

Let’s face it Cannes is mostly about receiving — prizes, couture gowns, free glasses of rose, unwanted business cards. But sometimes it’s about giving. A few highlights of that this week: Benicio Del Toro will host the Hollywood Domino Cannes 2015 VIP reception on Sunday, benefitting Action Against Hunger and Nepal Emergency Response. 

Tom Bernard of Sony Pictures Classics is the event chair for the annual Generous People Ball a the Carlton on Monday night, to benefit The Heart Fund.

And of course amfAR will hold its annual glamorous fundraiser for the 22nd year with event chairs including Sharon Stone, Natalie Portman, Isabella Rossellini, Jake Gyllenhaal, Joel Coen, and Harvey Weinstein. Imagine Dragons, Mary J Blige and Charli XCX will perform at the May 21 gala at the Hotel du Cap.

The Majestic: Cannes by the numbers

  • 15,000 bottles of champagne
  • 10,000 bottles of wines
  • 800kg lobster
  • 350kg foie gras
  • 50kg caviar
  • 250kg chocolate
  • 20,000 macaroons
  • 36,000 cups of coffee
  • 16,800 croissants [and that’s just the Screen office]
  • The Penthouse suite goes for €39,000/night [that one, ahem, isn’t on the Screen budget] 

Bookies favour Lobster

Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster is the favourite with the bookies to scoop the Palme d’Or.

Lanthimos’ dystopian drama is 4-1 with Paddy Power to walk away with the festival’s top prize, with the bookmakers predicting that the film’s surreality will hit home with jury presidents the Coen brothers, themselves considered kings of off-beat.

Joint-second favourites at 11-2 are Cannes regular Hirokazu Koreeda’s Umimachi Diary and Danish director Joachim Trier’s Louder than Bombs.

In a wide open race, the money-men have two of the three French directors pegged as the biggest outsiders, with Stephane Brize’s La Loi Du Marche and Maiwenn’s Mon Roi both backable at 25-1.

May 13

Beyond borders

Films Without Borders, the charitable foundation that works with young people from challenging communities around the globe to get involved in film production, hosted its annual screening of recent work at the UK Film Centre on Wednesday. Those include The Dreamtime, made by aboriginal youth in Brisbane, Australia.

Nadja Swarovski is patron of the foundation and she tells Screen, “Films Without Borders is an incredible charity which educats and inspires young people, providing them with a platform to express themselves in a transcendental way beyond culture, religion and politics.

“I was honoured to become a patron last year; Jill Samuels’ vision is clear and impactful, offering industry internships to international students, providing them with great insight into the film world and allowing them to merge their creative vision with professional experience.”

Getting Seen

First it was #AskHerMore on the Oscars red carpet, and now in Cannes there is #SeeHerNow, to make women in film more visible.

The Support Women Filmmakers coalition, spearheaded by writer Melissa Silverstein of Women and Hollywood, isn’t just bemoaning the lack of women behind the camera, it is also celebrating great work women are doing already. Check out supportwomenfilmmakers.com or @seehernow.

Silverstein will also moderate a panel on Monday about increasing recognition for female filmmakers at 11 am at La Pantiéro.