French connections: Happenings at Cannes

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Jimmy'z keeps the party going till the wee hours

What: Jimmy'z
Where: Palais
When: Every night from midnight, members only

Jimmy'z nightclub is where the creme de la creme of the film and fashion worlds collide on the Croisette after-hours. Now in its fifth year, Jimmy'z came about after Paris-based events guru Albane Cleret decided the festival needed an exclusive club. "I wanted to do something for people in cinema in Cannes," says Cleret, who hails from hot Paris nightclub Les Bains Douches. "I realized there was nothing happening there, so we started with no money and have grown each year." Since then, a limited number of membership passes have been dispensed each year to the discotheque and terrace, which opens each night at midnight and rocks until 4. Decoration comes courtesy of sponsors Fendi and Daniel Swarovski. Audi, Motorola and Moet & Chandon are also involved in the club, which offers free drinks all night, including this year's Jimmy'z Fendi cocktail. By day, you can find Cleret at the Royal Beach, where she is organizing a Cannes initiative from the Paris-based Hotel Costes, which will recreate the Louvre's famous Cafe Marly on the beach. Costes, which is behind several notable Paris eateries, will bring down celebrity chef Didier Coly to cook for 700 select members -- but they still have to pay for lunch. "It will be like a famous restaurant on the beach," Cleret declares.

Chopard celebrates the stars of tomorrow

What: Chopard Trophy
Where: Noga Hilton
When: TBC

What do Audrey Tautou, Marion Cotillard and Nick Cannon have in common? If you're a Cannes regular, you should know that they've all been recipients of the Chopard Trophy, the master jeweler's yearly award for up-and-coming actors. The handcrafted trophy, which was created by Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, the company's co-president and creative director, is part of a fruitful partnership between Chopard and Cannes that goes back to 1997. In addition to redesigning the Palme d'Or in 1998, the Geneva-based company created the Red Carpet Collection last year, which marked the 60th anniversary of the festival with 60 high-jewelry pieces. If that weren't glamorous enough, 10 dresses were designed by Valentino to complement the glittering accessories.

The stars line up for amfAR's annual AIDS auction

What: amfaR Cinema Against Aids Gala
Where: Le Moulin de Mougins
When: May 22

For the 14th time, amfAR, the American Foundation for AIDS Research, will hold its star-studded Cinema Against AIDS auction and dinner May 22 at the prestigious Riviera restaurant, Le Moulin de Mougins. Harvey Weinstein and Sharon Stone will conduct the live auction, which last year generated some $7 million for research. "As I near my 14th year as co-chair, I have learned one thing: The amfAR event is simply unpredictable," Weinstein says. "After watching George Clooney sell a kiss for $400,000; Liza Minnelli jumping up and singing 'New York, New York' after someone pledged $100,000 to hear her sing; Donatella Versace placing an astronomical bid to win a private tennis lesson with Serena Williams; and impromptu performances by Elton John, I have come to expect the unexpected when media, business and fashion icons unite to raise money for one of the most respected and accomplished charities in the world." Items up for auction this year include a jewel dress designed by Chopard's Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele and Alberta Ferretti, which will be unveiled May 14 to the VIP guests at Chopard's traditional gala dinner. Seal will perform at the amfAR gala, and Madonna will also be on hand to screen clips from her AIDS documentary, "I Am Because We Are," which is also showing at the festival. "This year promises not to disappoint, with Madonna joining as a co-chair," Weinstein adds. "We have raised over $33 million dollars since the event's launch and look forward to another wildly successful year supporting amfAR in their fight against AIDS." Along with Stone, Weinstein and Madonna, Michelle Yeoh, Michel Litvak, Carine Roitfeld, Gruosi-Scheufele and amfAR chairman of the board Kenneth Cole will chair this year's amfAR event, which is presented by Bold Films, Chopard and the Weinstein Co.

Taking a midfest soccer break is a real kick

What: World vs. Europe Soccer Match
Where: Stadium Maurice Chevalier 2, Cannes la Bocca
When: May 19 at 8 p.m.
Bus leaves from Cannes Railway Station at 7 p.m.

A long-standing tradition in Cannes, the World vs. Europe match is one of three annual soccer games that take place on the sidelines of the Cannes, Berlin and AFM markets. Open to all market participants, the Cannes edition pits European marketers against the rest of the world, putting them at a distinct disadvantage, according to the Marche du Film's Michele Waterhouse. "World does tend to have the edge on Europe as they do have a lot of Brazilians," she says. "It started out when lots of football fans got together years ago and decided that as markets were so stressful, it would be a good idea to take a moment to relax." Waterhouse says the match -- which lasts for a full 90 minutes -- attracts around 80% of the same participants each year, though they are open to new players. It's usually a male-dominated affair, but Waterhouse does recall a woman on the team a couple
of years ago. The event is sponsored by Deluxe Laboratories.

Exclusive luncheon fetes financiers

What: IFG Cannes Luncheon
Where: Hotel du Cap
When: May 19, invitation only

Come Monday lunch in Cannes, don't be surprised to see a fleet of yachts heading south to the Hotel du Cap for what's become a long-standing tradition with the film finance crowd. Each year, International Film Guarantors, the entertainment completion guarantors, hosts a Cannes luncheon on the hotel's exclusive Eden Roc terrace, entertaining major players in the film finance world. "We wanted to find a way to thank IFG's customers and also promote the company," explains president and COO Steve Mangel. "Over time, it has become an exclusive party because we can only fit in some 150 guests." Mangel says many invitees travel to lunch by sea, hoping the weather plays along. "Some years we have had a few guests climb out of their yachts in wet trousers. But we have been lucky. In the 10 years I have been with IFG, it has always been beautiful on the terrace, no matter what's happening elsewhere on the Riviera." Joining Mangel at this year's reception will be fellow IFG staffers Steven Leib, Luke Randolph and Shellie Smith, as well as Joe Finnegan of Fireman's Fund Insurance, IFG's parent company. "We serve a Mediterranean lunch with lots of great dishes and desserts, preceded by a champagne cocktail," Mangel adds.

AMPAV celebrates the 20-year mark

What: American Pavilion
Where: International Village
When: May 14-24

To mark its 20th anniversary at the Festival de Cannes, the American Pavilion has expanded its program of events beyond the traditional "Industry in Focus" and "In Conversation" series to include "Cocktails With the Critics," a three-part event overseen by the pavilion's director of programming, and a former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, Alex Ben Block. "Cocktails With the Critics" kicks of with a session called "Buzz Builder" and continues with "American Critics at Cannes." The third part, titled "The Critical Mass," will include a gathering of English-language critics set to talk about the festival films and make predictions about which performers, directors and pictures will take home the prizes. "Industry in Focus" events include "New Dimensions for 3-D: How Digital 3-D Will Shape Movie Production and Distribution Over the Next 20 Years." The "In Conversation" series includes "Inside the New MGM," with Harry Sloan, chairman and CEO, and Mary Parent, chairperson of the worldwide motion picture group. Other events include a 20th anniversary celebration Tuesday, May 20. On Wednesday, May 21, the pavilion will host its Queer Night party.

The Marche puts the spotlight on the short form

What: Short Film Corner
Where: Palais
When: May 14-25

For anyone in need of a short film fix, the Marche du Film's Short Film Corner could be just the ticket. Showcasing selected shorts at 40 screening booths, the corner includes three mini screening rooms for all festival badge holders. Last year, there were 22,000 viewings of 1,800 shorts from 80 countries. Launched five years ago to give short-filmmakers a platform at the festival, the initiative, which has grown from 400 participants at launch to an expected 2,000 registered guests this year, includes opportunities for filmmakers to meet with professionals, as well as attend conferences on topics ranging from distribution to marketing, a daily happy hour and a party. "We realized there were a lot of short-filmmakers at the festival, and that there was nothing specifically for them," says Marche du Film executive director Jerome Paillard. "For most of them, this is their first contact with the film community. They have an opportunity to be seen here, find partners and go on to be selected for other festivals." For the first time this year, shorts will remain available for viewing online after the festival. Other initiatives include an online competition sponsored by the National Film Board of Canada; some awards given by Mini Movie Channel, France 2 and DVD Pocket; and the Student Filmmaking Program from Reel Ideas. "It is really a festival program organized by the Marche," Paillard adds.

A charming Cannes tradition is on a roll

What: Jorge Gallegos Memorial
Where: Boules pitch opposite the Old Port
When: May 19 at 4 p.m.s

Established in 2002 by a group of festivalgoers with a desire to play boules -- or "petanque," as the French call it -- the annual Cannes Boules Tournament is in expansion mode. Hosted by the U.S. law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and co-sponsored by Fintage House, the event historically attracts some 50-75 people, of whom 24 play on teams of two for a trophy. The event suffered a great loss in December 2004, when Jorge Gallegos, a well-known banker, died in the Thailand tsunami. The event has since been known as the Jorge Gallegos Memorial Boules Tournament. This year's competition will be held at its usual place: the boules pitch across from the Old Port in Cannes. Akin Gump is expanding the invitation list and expects about 200 attendees, with about 36 players. Says John Burke of Akin Gump: "We started the tournament when Jorge was still alive. He was someone everyone loved a great deal. When he passed in November 2004, we decided the following Cannes to name the tournament after him."

The Marche's Documentary Brunch is the real deal

What: Marche du Film Documentary Brunch
Where: Palais
When: May 22

With documentary films accounting for about 10% of the titles on hand at the Marche du Film, organizers have decided it's time for brunch. Held for the first time this year, the Marche's Documentary Brunch is intended to bring together festival guests involved in the ever-expanding world of documentaries. Says the Marche du Film's executive director Jerome Paillard: "The context and issues for documentary films are not the same as for
feature filmmakers. We want to try to help documentary filmmakers connect internationally." In 2004, Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" became the first documentary to win the Palme d'Or since Jacques Cousteau and Louis Malle's "The Silent World" in 1956. The Marche will also host the fifth edition of the Producers Network, which was launched in 2004 to stimulate production and promote international co-production opportunities. The Producers Network program includes breakfasts, speed-dating and a happy hour.

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