Cannes: Rain Doesn't Dampen Buyers' Moods (Column)

Cannes Rain Sharon Swart Inset 3- H 2013
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In her inaugural THR column, Film Files, Sharon Swart navigates the wet red carpet to find Baz Luhrmann, Brian Grazer and attorney Mickey Mayerson, who says: "I've never seen it this busy."

If water equals prosperity in Feng Shui, then the rain bucketing down in Cannes on opening eve could be a sign of a lucrative market ahead. Sadly, for the festival’s opening film The Great Gatsby it meant a rain-soaked red carpet, and wet tuxedos and gowns. Baz Luhrmann and his Gatsby cast — including Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton and Isla Fisher — were whisked in under umbrellas. Lumiere theater was crowded, but with few familiar film-biz faces.

Weather aside, most of those in town for the business at hand seem surprisingly upbeat. As I got off my plane in Nice, I ran into Loeb & Loeb attorney Mickey Mayerson, who said his office has been working around the clock to keep up with all the pre-festival/market work that’s been pouring in. “It’s nuts,” he said. “I’ve never seen it this busy before Cannes.”

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One of Mayerson’s new clients is Ivan Orlic, a 30-year-old Peruvian with a passion for film and soccer -- and who also happens to be able to fully finance an upcoming $15 million-$20 million feature film about soccer star Pele.

At Exclusive Media’s presentation for the Pele project on Wednesday afternoon at the Carlton Hotel, Orlic shared the stage with the soccer legend as well as Brian Grazer, who is a fellow producer on the film. Bob Berney, who recently re-opened his indie label Picturehouse, was at the Exclusive event too. His movie with the band Metallica, titled Metallica Through the Never, is being sold overseas by Exclusive. It’s a hybrid concert-narrative film starring Dane DeHaan that’s being bankrolled by the band itself. They approached Berney in January and asked him to handle distribution. “They own all of their music and videos,” Berney noted. “So they went the indie route with this film to be able to keep
control of the project."

The torrential downpour continued through the night, making the trek from the Lumiere to the Gatsby after-party on the other side of Cannes’ Old Port a challenge for the black-tied crowd.

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Most of the worker-bees, meanwhile, could be found at Foresight Unlimited’s presentation/party on the Carlton Beach for Spinning Gold, a biopic of Casablanca Records exec Neil Bogart that will star Justin Timberlake. It seemed like every indie agent in town had decided to huddle under that beachside tent, where Timberlake addressed the crowd. CAA’s Roeg Sutherland and Micah Green rolled in with a posse, while others there included WME’s Liesl Copland, Resolution’s Robert Lazar and ICM’s Peter Trinh and Jessica Lacy — none in suits. Trihn looked like he was sporting sweats. Lazar said he regretted packing for summery weather. “I’m not going to be needing those linens!”

Even without the appropriate garb, perhaps the Mediterranean deluge will help boost these dealmakers’ rain-making abilities this Cannes.