An 18-year-old can only hang out with his mother for so long, even if she is the coolest mom on the planet. So when Sean met an American actress/javelin thrower named Shelley who seemed just as adventurous as he, we decided to part company for the day. As they trotted off together toward the ridiculous yachts, I yelled after him:
“If your phone dies, meet me in the gutter at 2 am!”
I know what you’re thinking: “Wow, she’s a worse mom than Cersei Lannister.”
But the gutter in Cannes isn’t like other gutters. It’s a bar, Le Petit Majestic, that spills so many people into the street that the entire corner becomes one big block party every night of the festival, lasting till the wee hours. It’s usually a better bet for a rendezvous than lurking on the sidewalk outside the Palais, or being chased by security dogs down on the beach. I say “usually” because the night before, while Wellington Films’ Al Clark was telling me how great Nottingham is, somebody drove up in a car and chucked a tear gas grenade into the crowd. We didn’t see it, so we didn’t know what it was that was suddenly causing us to tear up and cough uncontrollably. I tried to ignore it. Al tried to ignore it. We tried to keep calm and carry on drinking. But it was unignorable. You know that awkward moment when you’re having a drink with someone and you have to cough but you don’t want to be rude so you try to hold it back but it won’t stay down so you try to disguise it as something else but pretty soon you are just coughing and hacking and choking and pretending it isn’t happening and that nobody has noticed? Well, imagine several hundred people doing that at once and you’ve got the picture. Good job we had lots of beer.
I knew lightning couldn’t strike twice in the same place, so, with the gutter as our rendezvous point, I went off to find a pal. We talked about how clever we are, ate a mediocre meal at an Irish pub (proving we’re not so clever after all - who eats Irish food in France?) and went off to the ARRI party, where I didn’t see any cameras, but I did see a lot of cider disguised as “fruit beer.” Not recommended. Why can’t the Belgians have a party?
No matter. We were invited to the OMDC dinner a bit later. I know I’m old and stuff, but why did I feel like that Ontario pizza party was more interesting than whatever Tarantino-infused soiree Sean and the actress/javelin thrower were sneaking into? Maybe because the people there make films that are within the grasp of an indie filmmaker of limited financial means. Maybe because Karen Thorne-Stone has a way of making every filmmaker feel significant, thus giving all of us the hope that is often our only currency. Whatever, between bites of perfect French pizza, I chatted with some pretty great people there, like Ingrid Veninger, who does indie like nobody else; First Weekend Club’s Anita Adams; Triptych’s Anna Stratton, who is producing The Macaron Conspiracy, a film I co-wrote with Sherman Snukal; and David Miller (the producer, not the former, non-cracking smoking mayor of Toronto.)
When I met my child in the gutter later (I love that I just said that), he had equally glowing reports of his night. Apparently it did him good to be shed of me. He had a brace of business cards in his wallet and has already been social media’d by half of them. Best of all, he came back with the germ of an idea for a short film that he’s already writing.
As we rode our bikes home along the beach, doubling the actress/javelin thrower on the back, heady with the excitement of Cannes and full of ideas and new hope, we knew that sleeping in a van was a small price to pay for this much awesome.