PSF in Cannes 2009

The Pleased Sheep team have arrived at the Cannes film festival where it's been very hot and sunny. After sharing a flight with Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce they travelled from Nice airport to Cannes. Even on day 1 Mike's gotten a little scorched with the sun and Cop has discovered that "Credit Crunch" Cannes is pretty expensive. The guys will update below with images and old fashioned text.


I just thought it should be time to do a text blog, I suppose gepetto (or whoever he is today) has a point about the lack of movie news and more constructive information about Bar Stewards and Bad Lad's progress.

I have only had chance to catch two new films so far, the first being "Fish Tank" and then "Looking for Eric" which I watched this morning.

So here are my very brief opinions of the films

I'll be honest, these films haven't really done it for me so far, 'Fish Tank' is about a tear-away teenage girl from Barking, she has a passion for dancing but is an aggressive and excessive drinker. She develops a bit of a crush on her mothers new boyfriend and begins to pursue her dreams after he begins to become a father figure to her.

In general the performances are all solid and believable, and some elements of the storyline were quite thought-provoking and gripping - but its the type of film I have seen before many many times, and typically gritty British, the normal type of the Kitchen Sink dramas we have seen before, such as Ken Loach films.

It was unfair of me to declare it as “shit” in my video blog, because its not, but at the same time there was nothing particularly special about it.

Speaking of Ken Loach, I then watched "Looking for Eric", another 'its grim up North' kind of drama. It left me rather confused and disappointed. The reason I am unsure about it, is because I wasn't aware of who the target audience is? It was a mix of Pheonix Nights / Shameless with a hint of Drop Dead Fred.

The story is about a single dad and Manchester United supporter, going through a mid-life crisis... he then starts hallucinating that football legend Eric Cantona is guiding him to getting his life back on track... yet in typical Loach style, the characters undergo problems and the film demonstrates how easy teenagers can get dragged into gang-culture and it's effects on their family... yet elements of the film are very cheesy.

It was like 3 or 4 different types of film, mangled into one screenplay, one was a comedy about a bunch of middle aged drinking buddies, there was a serious storyline about a gangster bullying a teenager into criminal activities… yet the fathers main story line is listening to Eric Cantona as himself playing a philosophical Tyler Durden helping him win back his ex-wife… yet with an endless use of the ‘F-word’ - it’s rather bizarre.

Both quite good... but not my kind of films to be honest...

As for Bar Stewards, it was never really our intention to actively sell the film this year. After 2008 we learned that trying to sell an unfinished film was almost impossible, and we were told to come back when the film was ready.

But Mike and I still decided to come over anyway to keep in touch with old contacts and create new ones. What surprises me, is that I have probably given out more press kits this year after networking than I did last year... Most of the new contacts might not be of any use, but you never know - and that's what events like Cannes is all about.

The festival is really picking up now after a rather dull start but it is a lot quieter compared to previous years.

Cannes is still missing Troma... Cannes needs Troma! There is little atmosphere here, especially compared to my first time 2007. I've not seen anything rather eccentric or attention grabbing yet. There is a lot fewer parties, a smaller market and fewer active pavilions.

The reason for so many meals, is that we have found that eating from a set menu at any of the local restaurants every day is actually cheaper and better for us than snacking on baguettes and flan all day. We try to invite new people for dinner and we are developing good relationships over oysters etc.

However, with the festival being much quieter, it seems quite accessible for me. I easily obtained an invite to the 'Inglorious Basterds' Red Carpet event. This is certainly the highest profile event of the festival this year. The rest of the group couldn't reserve any tickets because they were a lower priority for some reason - even Mike. I don't know why though.

AmPav has been worth every penny this year, already we have been at Q&A's with Francis Ford Coppola and Eli Roth this week. It is warming to know that they have similar problems and still struggle with getting projects off the ground like us at the bottom rung of the ladder.

The advice and insights of their experience has been really inspiring. I am definitely attending the Terry Gilliham one later this week.

Anyway I’m going to support Fiona at the Straight8 screenings and ironicially visit the Queer party at the next pavilion.
Nice posts, chaps. Thanks for making my first Cannes a load of fun! Next time I'm staying for longer, so expect the wettest Cannes on record.
Hi Guys,

Just a brief comment about even high profile Americans having the same problems as those of us at the bottom of the food chain. And the reasons are exactly the same. Quite a few years ago, thanks to such as Sundance, indie films were on the rise in the US. The response of the Hollywood studios was to set up there own 'independent' divisions - a crude exercise in attempting to re-brand their non-blockbuster output as being something of merit. And, on top of that, they took to launching these films at, what had been up to then, the key indie film festivals - and most of them found it impossible to refuse the accompanying marketing onslaught.

The result of all this? The reputations of many festivals for seriously tarnished. Many independent filmmakers abandoned their principles and took to developing projects acceptable to the execs running the 'independent divisions'. The very word 'independent' became more of a joke. And why should audiences want to go and see such reputation tarnished films? So the independent screens suffered, lost their sense of purpose and direction and began to decline.

And so, once Hollywood had achieved all this, they closed their 'independent divisions', safe in the knowledge that they had effectively destroyed any alternative for many years to come.
Have you read Down and Dirty Pictures by Peter Biskind Jon? Covers all this in-depth. An excellent read.
I've not read Peter Biskind's book - although I should. But there is one problem with it which is that it was published five years ago before the Hollywood majors wound up their 'indie' divisions. From reading reviews of the book I know that he documents how Hollywood studio values came to take over much of the American indie filmmaking scene -redefining 'indie' and maginalising many indie directors in the process. But at the same time he does give some credit to all this because it produced a few films with known stars, such as Bill Murray in 'Lost in Translation' which otherwise wouldn't have either been made or widely distributed.

But, as far as I'm concerned, I could never see 'Lost in Translation' as being an 'independent' movie, but rather Hollywood fare aimed at festivals and awards, made by studio divisions which have subsequently been scrapped.

By way of an aside I was pleased that Scorcese did finally get an Oscar - but what for? For being a good boy and making a decent fist of being the hired director of a Hollywood studio re-make of an actually much better Chinese film, "Infernal Affairs". Did he ever get an Oscar for any of his truly great auteur films essentially made outside of the system? No.
Although it was written before the closure of some of the 'indie' divisions, it still doesn't pull its punches. Redford wouldn't be interviewed, but Harvey Weinstein does to his credit. It's an interesting and sometimes grim look at what goes on behind the scenes.

It's like would the likes of Tarantino, Rodriguez and Kevin Smith be discovered today?
I've got that, haven't started reading it yet. Incidentally, Blockbuster by Tom Shone touches on indie films and it's a great read about the whole studio obsession with the "next big thing".

Did you see anything about "Colin" while you were there, Mike? There's been a lot of national press interest recently about this "£45 zombie movie" by Marc Price, who apparently learnt his craft from DVD commentaries.
£45, bunkum! If it cost that then by their maths both Bad Lad & Bar Stewards cost a combined total of 000000000000000000000.000000009 pence. And no I wasn't aware of any buzz in Cannes about Colin.

Good luck to em' though, always nice to get a bit of press when you're on a micro-budget.
There's a news story like this every couple of years (remember Tarnation?), this one'shere. By the sounds of it he's exploited hundreds of people to get it made.
You missed ol' Andy? He was there promoting that Horses in Tanks film which Pixar are reportedly very interested in.

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