by Jennifer Niejadlik
The 69th Festival de Cannes wrapped Sunday, May 22, 2016 with the presiding president of the jury Director George Miller announcing the grand prizes during the Awards Ceremony. The coveted Palme d’Or went to the film “I, Daniel Blake” directed by Ken Loach. The story is of a middle aged carpenter who requires state welfare after injuring himself, and is joined by a single mother in a similar situation.
The previous ten days of the festival were a whirlwind of fitting in as much as I could in terms of networking and enjoying the glamorous side of the festival. I attended the Red Carpet for the French film “Ma Loute”, English title “Slack Bay”, directed by Bruno Dumont. The film takes place in the summer of 1910 where several tourists have vanished while relaxing on the beautiful beaches of the Channel Coast. The film stars Juliette Binoche and is a “Laurel and Hardy” genre comedy. Another night I was able to grace the Red Carpet; this time for the premiere of Director Steven Spielberg’s “The BFG”. This children’s story is about a girl named Sophie who encounters the Big Friendly Giant (BFG) who despite his intimidating appearance, he turns out to be a gentle soul. He is outcasted by the other giants because he refuses to eat little boys and girls. It was a real honor to be seated in the same theater as Director Steven Spielberg who is best known for one of my favorite childhood films, “ET. the Extra-Terrestrial” among so many other block buster dramatic and action films.
The Cannes Film Festival is about the films and the magic they create. Oui, oui, another night and another Red Carpet, this time for “Loving” directed by Jeff Nichols. This story is based on true events of an interracial couple living in Virginia in 1958. They are sent to prison for getting married. This emotional story was portrayed by actor Joel Edgerton and actress Ruth Negga. Another screening I was able to get my hands on a ticket was “The Neon Demon” directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. The films stars Elle Fanning, Keanu Reeves and Jena Malone. This film was top on my list of “must see”. It is a story of a aspiring model who just arrives in Los Angles. She is devoured by a group of beauty obsessed women who literally want to eat her alive. The film is not for the faint hearted with its canibal and necrophila scenes.
Natalia Dubois extended an invitation to me for her DPA Gift Suit in the Carlton Hotel. Like years past she has been kind enough to invite me for samples of the latest beauty products, candles, jewelry and clothing. One new designer Charles Victor’s comfy sweatshirt style dresses were perfect for down time. His dresses are easy to pair with sneakers for comfort. And if you are a tennis buff not a bad look for those grass or clay courts.
With my aspirations of pursuing acting I was accepted into an acting workshop. I was one of twenty students in an all day acting Masterclass with Nancy Bishop, C.S.A. Ms. Bishop is an American living in London and Prague. She has cast over 60 films including “Last Night” with Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman, “The Avengers” with Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Scarlett Johansson, “Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol” with Tom Cruise and Jeremy Renner. Ms. Bishop’s insight was very helpful. In this day and age most auditions are self taped by the actors and then submitted to various casting directors. Her tips of the trade are something that I learned a great deal from. Ms. Bishop also invited guest casting director Luci Lenox for the second part of the all day acting Masterclass. Ms. Lenox is from England but is now based in Barcelona. She is best known for casting in the film “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” Directed by Woody Allen, starring Scarlett Johansson and “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” starring Dustin Hoffman and the late Alan Rickman. Ms. Lenox gave critique of our acting skits. We were all set in pairs and had to preform a few short lines but had to make our audience figure out who we were with our characters, their relationship to each other and where we were. Staying in the moment and playing off of each others energy is really what acting is all about. These are just a few of the highlights of my experience from The 69th Festival de Cannes. I hope to see you on the Croisette next year.
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Jennifer Niejadlik was born and raised in Newport, RI and is a film producer currently living in Amsterdam, Holland.