EmptyGerman cinema's newfound self-confidence translated into a blowout bash Monday night as organizers German Films pulled out every stop to show all the wannabes what a real Cannes party looks like. While the German fetes have always been good with the food and liquor, this year the last key element -- music -- was added to stupendous effect. The gorgeous setting at Villa Babylone, outside of Cannes, had something for every taste, from quiet cocktails at the pool to the bouncy, sweating mass on the dance floor.
Attendees: Everyone who is anyone and everyone else besides in the German industry. A-list attendees included Berlin International Film Festival director Dieter Kosslick, Constantin Film distribution head Thomas Friedl, production boss Martin Moszkowicz, Thomas Peter Friedl and acquisitions exec Yoko Higuchi, Senator Entertainment co-heads Marco Weber and Helge Sasse, Kinowelt boss Michael Koelmel, X Filme toppers Stefan Arndt and Manuela Stehr and a smattering of Teutonic talent including directors Fatih Akin, Hans-Christian Schmid and Wim Wenders.
Cuisine: Finally, a Cannes 2007 party with a full spread. Partygoers chowed down on Asian vegetables, Spanish paella, Italian ham and German beef then moved on to Belgian chocolates, Italian ice cream and French pastries. How's that for being a European citizen? Drinks were varied and plentiful, from tri-colored cocktails to wine to hard liquor and mixed drinks. And Tannen Zapfel beer, the best brew on offer anywhere in Cannes.
Highlights/lowlights: The dance floor was packed from midnight on, reaching a fever peak when the DJ laid down Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and suited execs started pogoing like caffeinated twentysomethings. When the DJs wrapped at 3 a.m., Senator COO Christopher Borgmann slapped down a fistful of euros and got the man to keep spinning. The lowlight came before the party started. It was a long slog getting out to the villa, with most of the drivers unaware of how to get there and major delays climbing the hill.
BBC Films cocktail
This year's BBC Films cocktail party seemed to be in a slightly bigger venue (3.14 Beach) than in previous years. But it wasn't clear if that was because attendees actually spread out and worked the event rather than just huddling around people they talk to week in week out back in Blighty. Always a popular stop-in for industry movers and shakers, practically the entire British film industry turned up with a star or two wafting around. Dull but worthy was probably the bottom line.
Attendees: BBC top brass Alan Yentob and BBC Films chief David Thompson mingled with top indie producers including David Parfitt, Mark Shivas and Vicki Patterson. Star wattage flickered briefly with double Oscar nominee Emily Watson making an appearance and cult superstar Malcolm MacDowall chatting with guests. Former U.K. Rear of the Year and British television favorite Anneka Rice skipped around with no shoes on.
Cuisine: One word: balls. Fish balls. Not much else. And getting a drink was a hard task despite the fact there seemed to be bars dotted liberally around the venue.
Highlight/lowlights: Lowlight was the difficulty encountered trying to get a drink and not enough time to speak to the vast numbers of great and the good. The evening sun, the beach and the chatty atmosphere all highlighted just what a Cannes cocktail should be. Pity the guests were hurried out because the venue was being prepped for more Eurotrash.
In the battle of the broadcasters, the much larger BBC event came out ahead of the Film4 event at Villa Antoine, which overlapped the entire length of the BBC's. Luckily Film4's went slightly later, giving some room for workaholic agents to go to both parties. With all the quality movies coming, Film4 is bound to hit back in the battle of the broadcasters next year.
Attendees: Film4 top sales brass hung out in the garden of a rather splendid villa tucked away behind the Carlton. U.K. Film Council chief executive John Woodward chatted and indie film veteran Bingham Ray, fresh from joining Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, held court.
Cuisine: Finger food of the sweet variety. And all the colors of wine were on offer for tired dealmakers.
Highlight/lowlights: Not much of either.
GreeneStreet Films International
GreeneStreet honchos John Penotti, Fisher Stevens and GSFI president Ariel Veneziano celebrated their company's expansion and new international sales title "Expired" with an outdoor soiree at Hotel Majestic Barriere's Lounge Fouquets. What the event lacked in star power it made up for in industry heavyweights, including several competing sellers, making for a collegial (and congested) atmosphere.
Attendees: Aside from several big agents, there was Lakeshore's David Dinerstein, Lionsgate's Peter Block and Jason Constantine, Overture Films' Chris McGurk, Intermedia chairman Martin Schuermann, IM Global's Stuart Ford and Bonnie Voland, Metropolitan Film Export's Samuel Hadida, WIP's Polly Cohen, Paul Federbush, Steve Friedlander and Carl Hampe and Australian writer-directors Bill Bennett and Cecilia Miniucchi, actor Johnny Mack and producer Jeffrey Coulter.
Cuisine: A variety of tuna and other swank appetizers, but not many passed by us, which would have been helpful around dinnertime. Fully stocked bar, though.
Highlights/lowlights: The reason the appetizers may not have circulated: not enough room to get around! It was tempting to look longingly at the pool just feet away. But the smaller confines made for good networking and a lot of laughter heard among the crowd.
With a space as wonderful as Majestic Beach, it was no wonder stars flocked to the Fortissimo party hosted by co-chairmen Wouter Barendrecht and Michael J. Werner. But since they were stars of the indie world, you'd have to be a big film fan to know most of them.
Attendees: Tilda Swinton hugging just about everyone, from Jim Jarmusch to Michelle Yeoh to cinematographer Chris Doyle. Fest programmers Matt Dentler and Geoff Gilmore shared the dock with indie bigwigs Bart Walker and John Sloss, but all eyes were on the typically cowboy-hatted Robert Rodriguez with the typically skimpily dressed Rose McGowan, along with Wong Kar Wai in typical shades. A phalanx of indie acquisition execs left early to catch a showing of "Deficit."
Cuisine: Sushi rolls and mini pizza but they unfortunately disappeared after the first hour or so and were replaced by a thimble of chocolate, cream and nuts ice cream. Singha lager beer was served with a full bar.
Highlights/lowlights: With such a grand space and highbrow guest list, one expected a bit more ... something. The pier, well lined with bars, seemed barren of food or some ... je ne sais quoi. Aside from the stargazing, a bit of a letdown.