The Can’t Film Festival

I’ve been completely consumed by the Cannes (Can’t) Film Festival these past 2 weeks. Thankfully I’ve shot the festival before and having some experience really paid dividends but as a semi-conscious, self-respecting human being, it’s really hard to deal with the levels of incompetence seen in the organizing of this event.

Some of my favorite examples (from a massive pool of choices):
1) The wireless internet in the press room not working because “too many people are using it”. And they expected that each journalist would wait and one by one file their stories, video and images?
2) On the official daily sheet the press office distributes to the press, the one that all the journalists refer to to write stories, caption photos and file their reports, each (and I mean each) day there was a major typographical error. They spelt the name(s) of people incorrectly and my favorite was when they actually got the name of a movie wrong. I don’t know, maybe 3 minutes spent with Google before printing thousands of worthless sheets each day might have been a good idea. By around the 9th day of the festival, I became known as the festival’s spelling monitor since each day I felt absolutely compelled to shame the press office by highlighting each error and handing it to them face to face. On the last day, they asked me if I wanted to work for them next year.
3) After the final photocall where we photographed the award winners holding their trophies, the security guards refused to let the press into the press room for about 30 minutes. A revolt started and eventually, not unlike the Bastille prison a couple of hundreds years before, we just made a run for it and got in. I don’t have to tell you what the stress level in the place was like with hundreds of press people just learning the results of the awards ceremony but being incorrectly (security mix up) prevented from using the internet to file their reports/images


I really could go on and on about things like not enough chairs, or electrical plugs or running out of decaf coffee on the 4th day or no lockers, etc. etc. etc. But let’s just say that if given the choice between having the festival’s organizers there or having complete chaos, I might choose the latter.

There were many firsts that I experienced at this year’s festival:

• First time I’ve had a physical fight (albeit brief) with another photographer (my record is now 1-0 lifetime)
• First time I’ve had water split by a guy next to me onto the back of my computer without receiving even a “sorry” from him. (No damage to the computer luckily)
• First time someone (Chopard) has thrown a party exclusively for the photographers of Cannes
• First time I’ve had to send images from a 3G key (high speed internet via the cell phone network) due to the internet not working at the festival or my apartment.
• First time I’ve eaten at an Asian restaurant called, believe it or not, “Chinks”.
• First time I’ve spent a festival night in watching an electrical storm and a Manchester United-Chelsea soccer match.
• First time I (or anyone else) has seen a French film given the top festival award in 21 years.

Note: I would have included that it was the first time that I’ve had another photographer accidentally lock my stepladder with his lock but it’s actually the second time I’ve had that happen to me.

The good news from the festival is that there are plenty of fun photos to look at, if you’re into these kind of photos. The personal highlight for me was having Sean Penn and Bono arrive on the red carpet together. There are very few people in Hollywood that I respect but Sean Penn is one of them – even if being photographed clearly isn’t his idea of a good time. And Bono, I’m a lifelong fan.

The other big moment for me was seeing Mike Tyson on the red carpet. To me, it was about the logical equivalent of seeing a zebra underwater.

So, if you’re interested, CLICK HERE to see the 100 images of the festival that I’ve posted. Remember you can click on a photo to view it in larger format, and from the larger image, you can scroll through each image by clicking on the “next” at the top of the screen.

The night before I left for Cannes, I shot a premiere for the film “Made of Honor” starring Patrick Dempsey. I don’t know much about the guy but he was so kind and so handsome that even the men in room where swept up by him.

Photos of the Week:

Red Boot
Segway kook
Cowboy

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