Waiting at airport, I miss my trailer. This morning, I discovered a goat lives on the campground premise -- just when I thought it couldn't get better. Instead of befriending "la chevre," I swept the floors, scrubbed the dishes and said "Goodbye." Now, an eight-hour plane ride seems best spent reflecting on the last two surreal weeks:
1. Abigail screened in a big theatre on a big screen with a lot of people watching. It was exciting and nerve-racking, and like seeing the film for the first time again. In one shot, I saw tiny butterflies I never noticed before. I also watched other Cinéfondation selected films, and was very impressed. The short film format is a wonderful way to tell a story. I hope North America follows Europe's lead by expanding their short-film market.
2. Canadian designer Chloe Comme Paris provided me with four dresses, jewelry and a clutch to wear to Festival events. I felt so glamorous, and so Canadian. I loved it. I also loved getting to promote a Canadian company (run by two camp girls!) to all the people who asked about the dresses and jewelry. If you haven't seen them already, keep a look out for their unique pieces on the international fashion scene.
3. Director Matthew James Reilly won second prize for Abigail!!! The film was unanimously voted second out of 1700 films submitted from film schools worldwide. Like woah, Matt, woah. I feel so incredibly lucky and honoured to be part of this award-winning project. Keep your eyes peeled for Abigail's inclusion at upcoming Festivals!
4. I attended the Cinéfondation Awards Dinner at Le Carlton Hotel. Le Carlton is luxury and extravagance to the extreme. The hotel sits along the famous La Croisette, facing the ocean. A Rolls Royce and a horse-sized dollar bill flank the porte-cochère. I realize how tacky this sounds, but it looks awesome. Inside, the dining room is pillared and draped in elegance. Both the Cinéfondation and the Festival's official selection jury attended the dinner. Just over my shoulder, Jean Paul Gaultier enjoyed the same foie gras as I did. After the dinner, I shook his hand and entered the unfamiliar territory of star struck. I forgot how to speak French and English, did not complete a sentence and kept talking about how I liked the "dress" he wore to the opening ceremony. I hope this was not as bad as it sounds, but no promises.
In better talking-to-celebrities news, I had wonderful conversations with Belgian director Jean-Pierre Dardenne (Cinéfondation jury president) and Armenian-Canadian actor and producer, Arsinée Khanjian (Cinéfondation jury member) who lives in Toronto. They were both incredibly gracious and inspiring to speak with. Dardenne praised the film's powerful subtlety and unique atmosphere, and was happy to have his picture taken. I was especially touched by Khanjian's perspective on Abigail. She described my character's struggle between responsibilities and a need for independence in a way that perfectly reflected my feeling. I am moved knowing that the story we wanted to tell struck a real emotional chord with a successful actress I respect.
5. The Festival's Closing Ceremony transformed the Grand Théâtre Lumière stage with white carpeting, a wall of backlit pillars and a cascading red carpet down the middle. The Artist's Bérénice Bejo hosted, and two of my favorite actors, Audrey Tatou and Adrian Brody, presented the Palm D'Or to my favourite festival film, Amour. In his acceptance speech, director Haneke said the film represented a promise he and his wife have made to each other in case one of them should fall ill. Tears. Again, please see this film, and now see it with this in mind.
The final Festival night summed it all up -- I walked the red carpet in the rain, was moved to tears in the Grand Théâtre Lumière, drank free champagne, and danced on the beach. At the end of the night, I rode the bus and took off my shoes to walk the muddied path to my "movie" trailer. A hotel on La Croisette might have been nice for perfecting hair and make-up, not ruining shoes (two pairs met the trash) and getting a full-length look at myself before hitting the red carpet, but I wouldn't have met the fantastic people I did, woken up to birds chirping in the trees and raindrops on my tin roof, and felt as close to me, that Canadian camp girl who went to Cannes.
Ashley Peoples on the red carpet
Ashley Peoples with Abigail director Matthew James Reilly
Abigail director Matthew James Reilly receiving award from director Jean-Pierre Dardenne.
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