• Katherine Dickson


The #CannesFilmsFestival is a spectacular place. It is the largest distribution and sales market for films in the world. In 2013 I experienced it for the first time.  Guapa Films had the honor of World Premiering its first production at the #ShortFilmCorner #AlmaandAlex

I won't lie, arriving at Cannes my expectations were high. I had all these ideas of what it would be like; I'd be bombarded by the paparazzi, I'd bump into glamorous stars on the Red Carpet and as I walked along the streets, I'd become famous like so many legends who had been there before.  Hey! A girl has dreams....

Just thinking about the sights alone of #Nice, Cannes and #Antibes are breath taking so the festival could only be that much bigger and better. Right?

A few days before the festival, I ventured out to survey the magnitude of what was about to hit the city of Cannes.  I arrived early in #France to take in some sights. Although, there were some preparations being made, the city was calm, people went about their normal day to day activities. The beaches had regular bathers catching up on their daily sun. The weather; warm, sunny –not a cloud in the sky. It was all magnificent and normal!

Luckily, I listened to the voice of reason in my head and picked up my accreditation badges early at the convention center. It was empty and no one paid me any mind as I walked around the huge building checking out all the conference rooms and entered the theaters.

I always wondered what it would be like to be locked in at #LincolnCenter back in #NYC or at #TheMetropolitanMuseum at night; I would have a blast - all by myself.

That's exactly what it was like at Cannes during those quiet days. The place was a ghost town.

Then the first day of the festival. It was crazy. Where did all those people come from? AND where where they going to stay? Cannes is NOT that big! OMG the Lines were LONG! Thank goodness I had all my badges to get in!  I hit the day running.  As part of the #ProducersNetwork I had signed up for a series of workshops run by the festival. 

Everyday, I headed to the #Palais (the main center where the festival houses all the sales agents, distributers, Short Film Corner, Lecture Hall, Press Room, and the main Theater houses #TheDebussy & #TheGrandLumiere) – The Red Carpets go up from the outside into these two theater houses. (They weren't empty anymore. I wasn't talking to the builders either. lol)

My days were long. I learned so much from established industry professionals who stressed the importance of good storytelling, integrity in the business and taking your time.

Networking was an essential part of the trip.  #TheProducersNetwork, #AmericanPavilion, and #Pantiero and #Riviera became my daily “hotspots” for social gatherings, parties, and invitations.

Selecting where to go became a roulette game of chance and opportunity. It was a pleasure attending parties at coveted locales such as, #TheHoteDuCap, #TheMajestic, #TheGrandHotel, #ClubSilencio, and #TheMartinez. (I'll write a post about parties later...)

Of course, the experience worth taking about was walking the #RedCarpet. I was able to reserve tickets to two Red Carpet films. #Heli by #AmatEscalante and #TheImmigrant by #JamesGray with my lovely friend #MajaWampuszyc which premiered at the #GrandLumiere

Ah! I have to mention that walking the Red Carpet in the RAIN & COLD that began the first day of the festival was NOT fun! Those few days when the sun was shinning in #France was just a trick! The raining did not let up until the festival ended. According to locals, its some sort of festival curse or something. Go figure!

Everyday, I spent a chunk of time at the #CourtMetrege#ShortFilmCorner promoting ‘Alma & Alex’.  I would distribute our flyers, Q&A our film to viewers and track comments. Also, I watched other films. It was a great way to network!

‘Alma & Alex’ received great attention despite not being in competition or a contender for review. It was watched by two distributers and was reviewed!

There was another similar film presented at The Corner.  When viewers were asked which film presented better, ‘Alma & Alex’ took the vote!

When I returned a few folks asked, “Did you get what you went to Cannes for?”

My answer is - No and Yes! You see, I didn’t go to Cannes to “get” anything. I went there to give something. I gave myself the #opportunity of a lifetime. And yes, I did get what I went to Cannes for; the #desire to go back!

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Madison, CT United States

Filmmaker, VideographerPhotographer