May 2017 Archives

Cannes 2017

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Very cool to be in Cannes again this year with Gaëlle and Nathalie with some excellent meetings for La Fille de l'Estuaire. Lovely hanging out with Robbie Ryan and friends and getting a chance to see excellent world premiere films. My favourite was Ruben Östlund's The Square. But I was most moved going to see Kaouther Ben Hania's La Belle et la Meute - which had a standing ovation at the end.

I had a great surprise when Kyla announced she was shortlisted for the ShortsTV Pitch competition in Cannes. I told her I couldn't think of anything I'd enjoy less than standing in front of people in the UK Tent pitching. But bless her she went ahead and applied all the same and she was shortlisted to go. With a week ahead of the pitch she called to ask if she'd be able to get flights, a badge, somewhere to stay... So of course she did and she was great and before you knew it - she only went and WON THE BLOOMIN pitching!! So we have a €5,000 prize towards making Mercury.

Very exciting!

Kyla wins a prize at Cannes

Back from Cannes now. Really great week on the Croisette. Awful news from Manchester while we were away. My heart goes out to them. We were reminded every day of the dangers with the Cannes Film Festival security guards ramping up security. They saved the day by taking Zorana and my tweezers away - lethal weapons that those are. We did find an amazing security guard who helped sneak Kyla's beer into the Palais and thus helped her win the competition. He was so lovely - one of a kind. I had to grab his picture.

Hero security guard

Emergence and Guiding Lights

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Gaëlle is in Paris just now finishing the sound on the two scenes from the Girl from the Estuary we shot as part of the Emergence workshop. It's been such a great experience and allowed us to cast and discover our fabulous MARNIE who blew us all away on the shoot. We also got to work with a really top notch fabulous crew including Michel Amathieu on camera and Anne Seibel on production design.

Marnie - Giovanna

Another fabulous workshop I've had the privilege to be on this year - and which is sadly coming to an end - is the Guiding Lights scheme. All too fast, but it has been good! Past entries will show how it kicked off in Galway, and who the other participants were. But I haven't yet mentioned the key component of it all (and which continues until October) ... my amazing mentor Amanda Posey from Wildgaze! Best known perhaps for producing Fever Pitch, An Education, Brooklyn and most recently Their Finest with Gemma Arterton.

Amanda Posey

It's actually hard to work out who will make a good mentor. The Guiding Lights experts (Emily Kyriakides and Alex Thiele) share lists of industry people to consider, and help enormously to navigate the process. A good mentor needs to have the skills and experience that make them busy people, yet have the generosity to make time to share their knowledge and insights with you. It is so individual - it might not work out if you just don't hit it off in some way. So with all that in mind, I feel incredibly lucky to have found all that and more in Amanda. She is enormously busy, running a successful company and slate of projects and making time for her young family, yet also manages to carve out time to mentor me meaningfully too. This is invaluable. It was actually in conversations with her writer husband Nick Hornby that the desire to work with her was cemented. He was one of the GL experts answering questions for a week, and in so many of his answers he mentioned Amanda in such a way that it was clear what a great producer she is.

And so our final day was a pitch to a panel of: David Segal Hamilton (BFI) / Celine Coulson (Film4) / Jeremy Baxter (Riverstone Pictures) / Hilary Davis (Bankside) / Alex Stolz (Film Disruptors)

Final GL8 pitch day.png

And then a party at the Picturehouse Central where they handed out the little booklets with all the Guiding Lights mentees.

After so many disappointing results one after the other (and the fear of what's to come in June) - Great news about the French election results!! We can all breathe again.

Rachel Maclean in Venice

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Very exciting to be going to Venice today to see Rachel Maclean's Scotland + Venice show Spite Your Face which looks like it's going to be amazing!!! Of course everything Rachel does just IS amazing - and extraordinary to see how it will work in that beautiful old church.

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I haven't been to Venice since I was 11, so I'm also very much looking forward to strolling around the canals and seeing some of the art exhibitions that are on there during this year's Venice Biennale - we'll see Damian Hirst's comeback Treasures from the wreck of the Unbelieavable, and maybe there will be time to drop in and see Cerith Wyn Evans at Lorcan's Gallery and Nancy Foutts exhibition as part of Gavin Turk's COLLECTION - all in Venice Biennale...