“Cannes!” The name itself gives you an idea of the glitz and glamour of the red carpet appearances of the A-list celebrities. You can imagine how excited I would have been when I got an opportunity to be a part of it. Yes, I am talking about the Cannes Film Festival.
‘Festival De Cannes’ is what it is officially known as in France, is an international film festival where high profile celebrities stroll down the red carpet, the press capturing every moment and who-wore-what are the talking point for the next 12 days. And, that’s what we all know about Cannes. Right!
But there’s more to Cannes. So here I am going to tell you how I landed up at Cannes, my personal experience and what happens here. So read on folks…
Well, my Cannes journey started somewhere in second week of May 2016, but the actual preparations of course had begun in mid-April when I was offered the project to promote a film at Cannes festival. I was thrilled and wanted to grab it anyhow. Finally the deal was sealed and I got the film project. I was working in the capacity of a Publicist for a film which was being premièred at Cannes. Yeyy!! What more could one ask for? Lots of shopping followed the excitement 😉
As I embarked on my journey to Cannes, the first stop was Nice airport. It’s a small airport around 30 minutes by bus from Cannes. Coming out of the airport I waited for my bus to go to Cannes and made a quick call to the owner of the property where I was going to stay. My God! She did not know a single word in English; sentence would be way too much expectation. I somehow in my broken French asked “Parlez-vous anglais?” to which she replied “non”. Then I was not left with much option than to ask for her “adresse” (I don’t know why I start speaking English with a French accent when talking to the French people 😉 But the lady was smart enough to cut the call and make someone else call me up on her behalf who spoke good English.
Lesson learnt: Know basic French. It’s always helpful.
Finally at Cannes, I took a cab from here to go to Mougins where I would be putting up for the next four days. The taxi driver was friendly and he did know little English. I reached the villa and after relaxing for about two hours I started my work. In the evening, I decided to take a walk as Europe is best explored on foot. The walk is also good to know about the nearby places like the café and pharmacy that I discovered in this area.
Now, the next day I arrived early at the Cannes film festival and went straight to the enquiry and badge collection counter. I must say that the volunteers at the festival were very friendly and adept in guiding about everything. Post that I went straight to the Palais de royal, the main building at the festival where I met lot of people and it’s good for networking with the Press too. Then there are pavilions where there is even more opportunity for networking. Then my colleague and I headed for the red carpet screening of a film. There I saw Cheryl Cole, Aishwarya Rai, French musician Jean-Michel Jarre and many more celebrities walking the red carpet. Soon after like many other people on the red carpet, my camera phone was up in the air to click numerous selfies. Wow! That was my red carpet moment!!
Cannes… It feels Nice to feel and experience the aura of Cannes… Lights, camera and behind the scene action that goes into Cannes… Pretty women who check your bags and sing Bollywood song “Jaane Tu”. Hefty bouncers who don’t know English but speak the language of smiles… Young men and women dressed in red carpet attires awaiting that elusive pass… Photographers who click with passion making a celeb out of each well-dressed visitor.. Pizza and Pasta.. Life is Palais de royale at Cannes… The Crown on the royale head is the tall, lanky and handsome suited-booted Uber driver saying “Allo” with a drawl, and effortlessly lifting your luggage. Never mind that the Latest Mercedes in the market that seats eight is his next new acquisition!! And I haven’t even begun speaking of the movies, yet….
Anyway, I am not going to bore you with details of my Day 2 and so on but I would say that the following days went into sending emails, media calls, première of the film I was working on and even more work. But all in all it was a great experience. So my advice to all those who are related to the entertainment industry, Cannes is a “must-go” place for you.
And, Here is a small list with some useful tips:
- The best thing about being at Cannes is that you can totally be yourself and do whatever you wish to, nobody cares. And nobody is offended. As the festival brings together people from different nations at one place, it is more like a melting pot of cultures with no linguistic boundaries.
- But then do dress up in smart formal and no sleazy outfits please. Still if you do, you may put yourself at a risk of being asked for a coffee. You know what I mean…lol
- Every person with a camera is not Press but they are local studio photographers who will click about ten random pictures making you feel like a celebrity. Later they will hand over their studio cards and ask you to visit their shops to buy those pictures. Or worse they could be running a shady website. And I am sure you do not want your pictures to be there. So, do not pose for them.
- Not everybody in France or Cannes to be specific speaks English. Just as we do not speak French. So it makes sense to have some basic French handy “Parle-vous anglais?”
- Carry coins to be used in bus. Euros of course.
- Smile and greet ‘Bonjour’ more often, it doesn’t hurt.
- Go to counters directly and seek help. Do not believe to what people tell you. Thank everybody who helped you or advised you as you may need them again. Anyhow that’s a basic courtesy too.
- You can also travel and see places around Cannes. The French Riviera, Mediterranean climate, and friendly and helpful people all around makes it worth to explore the city. Get busy yachting and cruising!
And finally here is what happens at Cannes…..