It’s been excessively hot today (Wednesday), the hottest since my wife, Tara and I got to Cannes Monday evening with our about to be year-old son, Zen. Incidentally, Saturday, the last day of the Lions, marks a year since we were welcoming him at Breach Candy Hospital instead of sipping rosé on the Croisette. Much confusion is caused when we realize on the forty minute jourmey from Nice Airport to Cannes that we’ve left the Zen bag on board the plane. Frenetic phone activity ends with the conclusion that the bag has been found and that my partner and Bang Bang Executive Producer, Kirk Dias, will carry it from Nice airport when he lands the next morning.
Basecamp in Cannes is always the terrace of the Carlton Hotel. I don’t think you can equal the bustle and energy of the place anywhere else in town. What happens there often enough resembles speed-dating: short meetings in rotation with several people moving tables. I personally prefer to plant myself on one and have people drop by for a drink. Less cost-effective but more time and energy efficient. We meet Kirk for coffee, who despite his desperation to sleep, is forced to socialize, as his room isn’t ready yet. Two espressos and a croissant and I’m off to the Palais to register. Now there’s something you should know about producers and registering. Most producers, directors and other production-side-of-things folk who come to Cannes don’t usually register. There’s an entire fringe scene, which by my estimate is actually bigger than the one that consists of official delegates. See, a producer, generally speaking, doesn’t really have reason to register. You’re here to network with other producers and perhaps some agency people, acquire new directors, find new locations in which to shoot, affiliate with like-minded companies in other countries, etc. Meetings generally take place over a glass of wine, beer or lunch. None of this needs you to register. There are of course exceptions like myself, a self-confessed advertising geek, who likes to catch as many seminars as possible. The frills that come with the 3000 EUR registration are of course the gala dinners, awards functions and quality speakers but none of these actually qualify as doing business.
Unfortunately though, this year, I’ve bitten off almost more than I can chew on the meeting front so the only seminar I’ve been for so far is the Independent Agency Showcase by Networkone, where our very own Agi Dias elicited massive applause for the story about how Taproot burnt down followed by Aman ki Aasha as a case study.
Although I wanted to catch Ben Stiller speak, the World Cup beckoned. The thrill of possibly seeing the French get knocked out of the tournament was too much so I headed over to Morrisson’s Pub where the South Africans were hosting the match for all and sundry. If you haven't heard a vuvuzela up close and live, I highly recommend it, it's pretty earth-shattering.
The result was worth missing Stiller…or was it? I don’t know as I haven’t had time to read reviews on the talk yet. The other one I definitely didn’t want to miss today was Mark Zuckerburg but guess what…I did. We had lunch with Attilio from shots (http://shots.net). He’s the man responsible for the Bang Bang account and for making us their biggest client. The previous day we lunched with Clara Le of The Location Guide (http://thelocationguide.com), the international production and location resource, also a major media vehicle for us.
Late Wednesday afternoon saw us attend the Young Director Award (http://youngdirectoraward.com/) organized every year at Cannes by the Commercial Film Producers of Europe. This wasn’t the best year for the awards, hardly any outstanding work but the food at the after-party really kicked ass.
Tara, Zen and I came back to the room to rejuvenate for the evening- TOI party, Rushes party and invitations to a couple of cosy drinks things at people’s apartments. But I’m down with a slight stomach infection, so we decide to stay in, especially since tomorrow’s the big night for us. As much as we’re sad to be missing the India party, there’s no choice but to be 100% for the shots party.
And before I hit the sack, let me tell you a bit more about it. The shots party, and I say this with strong conviction, is the most sought after, coveted, exclusive party at Cannes every year. And I mean that in a “Do you have tickets? We don’t have tickets. Where can I get tickets?” kinda way. shots is the foremost media brand within the international creative and production communities, serving as a source of inspiration for the best and brightest minds for two decades now. The prestige it enjoys globally is completely unparalleled, which is why it’s a perfect platform for us to partner with to bolster our positioning as India's international production company. I get quite a kick out of it, having personally been in awe of shots since I first watched issue 49; they’re now at 122. What makes this year even more special is the fact that shots itself is celebrating its twentieth anniversary. The topline sponsors alongside Bang Bang are Istanbul-based post house, 1000 Volt and New York post house, Brand New School, who have just announced a facility in London as well. I suspect that the sponsorship is somehow linked to that development.
Anyway, like I said, demand for entry is huge, so even if you have a ticket/invite, you should really try to make it there as close to 10:30pm as possible. Aside from multiple meetings and parties all day long, the highlight of the day is definitely going to be the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase, which coincidentally also celebrates its twentieth year tomorrow. If you don’t know this, being featured here is usually a surefire way to director stardom. And for people like me, it’s a great way to keep tabs on emerging talent from across the globe. I just hope I wake up feeling fine.
Roopak Saluja is managing director/executive producer of Bang Bang Films.