Jun 21, 2014

Cannes Lions 2014: Dadu's blog: 'Digital is much less a foe and more a friend we can comfortably coexist with'

Here's the second blog from Dadu (Abhijit Chaudhari) who is a Film Craft juror this year, in this Campaign India exclusive series

Cannes Lions 2014: Dadu's blog: 'Digital is much less a foe and more a friend we can comfortably coexist with'
8:00 am, 16 June
The sun is nice and bright. Perhaps a few traces of smokey clouds drifting by the horizon but it sure is a bonny sonny morning at the Riviera.  Jet lag melting away from the synapses has a buoyant effect on the 11 apostles of the jury. And in a moment of childish whim we pull our table out into the sun for the breakfast tete-a-tete. The faces happier, the smiles bigger. Even a few extra strips of bacon were flipped over the organic poached eggs. We looked happy and perhaps confident?
Jenny Gadd a co apostle had other ideas. “What are your thoughts on the bizarre category we judged late in the evening – achievement in production?”.  A day and a half of being an apostle I wanted to scuttle the controversy immediately. To be honest that category -much touted by the enthusiastic festival pr machinery left me stumped as well. ‘What did you feel about it, Jenny?’, it was a noninvasive question which normally is repiled with a quiet sip of juice from the glass. But Jenny was in the mood  for a discussion. ‘You know what? I walked out of the auditorium and it struck me’, she crossed her arms and looked straight into my eyes. ‘Er..what exactly…?’, I don’t like crowds, I hate loud music and I am certainly paranoid of controversies spoken in whispers over a cold half eaten croissant.
Jenny’s tone grew more emphatic. “I feel the guys who put in those entries for achievements in productions knew even less about what they are putting it up for than we had when we viewed them. Poor sods, paid through their noses for something they do not know what it should be put up for…"

Sister Kirsten, the most gentle of us all pulled a chair up. She wanted to be part of the breakfast table chit chat. Brother Corey the big Australian looked eager to put in his bit. Sort of jump into the fray, when Brian marched through the corridor dressed in purple corduroy and a delicate cotton shirt flitting around his unbuttoned sleeves. On the other end the ubiquitious smiling, stubbled countenance of Andre found a human shape. Is his the Cheshire cat bloodline, I ponder. The smiles and disappearances are equally astonishing. Don’t know why I had imagined he would be waiting with 11 sunhats insead of the umbrellas. Maybe because it was gloriously sunny or maybe bizarre as a pattern creeps into you as you struggle through the judging of the aesthetic and the unbelievable.
A carousel in bright ochre is being put up on the promenade. And an obnoxiously large balloon modeled on some yellow Japanese cartoon dog with a bright pink leash. Designs to get you, to get at you, to make u develop designs for u… It was 9 and judges were running to their chambers across corridors, boardrooms, escalators, stairs. But we got in with a bit of confidence lurking around our lips that some might have mistook for a smile. We all hoped it would be a kinder if not a better day.
1:30 pm, 16 June
Exotic salads, stuffed salmon fillets, some dainty French appetisers and a glass of wine. Saw Rajiv Rao. He was with the film jury sitting a couple of tables away.  He waved. I waved back. Mumbaikar to Mumbaikar. It moves you just enough to pull up two chairs, sit and have a little chat, probably over a glass of sparkling water. We did. Our group was just through with their third category (out of eleven), Rajiv and his film lion group was racing through some more. We both talked about amazing innovations that one saw to push film making forward in the realm of rich media. Rao being the more festival savvy and erudite one was surprised but not awed by that great digital unknown. But I was. I really hope we can get someone down to India to take us through the possibilities the new horizons are opening up for us. I found some entries where film making has been moulded to fit some amazing rich media ideas and in fact gloriously enriching them. I figured quite to my surprise that digital is much less a foe and more a friend we can comfortably coexist with.
But are we or our clients ready to accept walking a less trodden path? Might really be worth a shot. That’s what I feel. Otherwise we might fall by the wayside and never in a digital environment be able to keep up with the rest of the world or keep our craft of making films alive.
Pretty Anna, guardian of the apostles says it’s time to go back to the dark judging dungeons – to go back to casting entries into oblivion and putting the fortunate into the hard drive of glory.  It brought up visions of fortune cookies for me. The ones you crack open and find inane things written on carefully rolled up small pieces of paper.
8:45 pm, 16 June
Decided to take a stroll down Gray d’Albion where three friends shacked up in a one bed apartment nine years ago. Just a bunch of movie addicts doing a crazy fortnight of devouring cinema at the feature film festival. La dolce vita, c’est la vie… call it what you want, Cannes will always bring those memories up ahead of the rest. I do hope it will. 
A juggler in a fake leopard skin jacket and a turquoise top hat trudged past. Probably going home.  His hands fidgeting with a few wooden stick dolls as if juggling still in his mind with his art and his dreams. Strangely, he looked a bit like Brian trying to flock his herd of apostles through the maze of the festival of creativity. 
Wanted to walk a bit more aimlessly through the fascinating cobbled lanes but ended up at a table in a café for a cuppa espresso. A little cup on a dainty saucer sat on my paper mat letting gentle curls of smoke disappear into pansies in pots in the sill. Saw a Nescafe, Facebook initiative where someone with two mugs of coffee decide to meet some Facebook buddies at their homes. Intrusive, sometimes provocatively so but what lovely charming pieces, crafted with such conviction.
Am I still talking communications and crap? Maybe I need a drink? Maybe I need a world cup match? Or maybe I simply need to go to sleep.
Campaign India

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