[editors note: this piece comes to us from our dear friend Jennifer Niejadlik, a native Newporter now living and working in Amsterdam as a film producer.]
This is my sixth year attending the most prestigious film festival in the world. The 68th Cannes Film Festival honored 19 films in competition and like years past I had the privilege to walk the glamours Red Carpet to screen a few of these movies with the stars. “MAD MAX: FURY ROAD” Directed by George Miller, starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron was a a heart pumping experience. The first 20 minutes of the film is a desert car chase that had everyone in the Grand Lumiere Theater on the edge of there seats. My days were spent meeting with distribution companies inside the Palais in the Marche du Film. Sellers and buyers, from all over the world, set up booths promoting films to be sold and to buy for territories around the world. This year Director Matthew John and I were promoting our feature film HEDDA GABLER.
This story is a classic and was first told by Henrik Ibsen as a play. Over the years it has been preformed on stage and in a TV version in 1963 that starred icon actress Ingrid Bergman. Bergman was the face of the festival this year. Two larger than life posters of her hung over the Palais in honor of her acclaimed acting career. Cannes is also about the glamour and pampering. I was invited to the DPA gift suit by Natalie Dubois inside The Carlton Hotel. She is a fixture to the festival and has been gifting celebrities and journalists for the last 10 years. I was given samples of Qiriness beauty products. They are just as luxurious as being inside a spa itself. The eucalyptus smell alone immediately relaxed me. Misaki also had a collection of pearl jewelry. Pearls are always a classic way to accessorize. And to carry all my goodies back to my hotel I was given a Teo Jasmin tote bag. The signature of these bags are a baby French bull dog dressed in costume. My puppy was dressed as a journalist wearing a camera around his neck. It was back to my place on Rue Antibes to get gorgeous for the Red Carpet again. This time for the screening of AMY, a documentary about singer Amy Winehouse. During the day the festival featured several panel discussions. I attended the NEXT: In Conversation with Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer. His discussion was an inside view on how the way films are being distributed worldwide is changing.
After his candid talk I had a chance to meet Actress Jane Fonda who was in the audience. She is acting in a new original series from Netflix, “Grace and Frankie”. She also stars in “Youth” a film in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Billionaire and co founder of Microsoft Paul Allen hosted a Bollywood theme party onboard his mega mega yacht “Octopus”. Oui oui I also had the privilege to be a guest for this over the top soirée. The deck was lit in pink lighting to create quite the ambiance. A dance floor was created over the pool. Bollywood dancer Mallika Sherawat and her group entertained guests.
Paul Allen has his own recording studio onboard where he picked up his electric guitar and jammed with his band playing classic Rolling Stones tunes. Guests included actors Amy Poehler, John C. Reilly, Leonardo DiCaprio, Natalie Portman, Antonio Banderas, models Karlie Kloss and Joan Smalls as well as a few Hollywood heavy hitter producers. I even got a private tour of the vessel and yes it is a vessel that this explorer yacht has even made a trip around the world 20 times.
The yacht has two helicopter landing pads, with the chopper onboard, an orange submarine, a home theater cinema, art of the “Man on the Moon” from Andy Warhol, a Jasper Johns “Numbers” painting, artifacts from the Titanic, NASA lithograph of the moon, and among a slew of other historical pieces that could very well belong in a museum. This is a night I will remember. Another day of running up and down the Croisette with meetings.
I had a break at the Chopard Rooftop lounge inside The Martinez Hotel. This is where I had a chance to get up close and personal with the ultimate prize: the Palme D’Or. The lounge is only available to VIP guests and under tight security naturally. Another night, another Red Carpet. This time for “Sicario” Directed by Denis Villeneuve, starring Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin. The story is of a Mexican drug cartel.
The Cannes Film Festival is truly a life changing experience and every year it gets better and better. I can hardly wait for May to come in 2016!!
– Jennifer Niejadlik, Buzz Entertainment Liaison – Europe