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Cannes Diary: Jane Campion Says, "Ladies, Make Your Movies"

Posted: 05/21/2013 6:20 pm

As part of Telefilm Canada's Not Short on Talent project, 40 short-film filmmakers from across Canada are travelling to the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, where their films will be highlighted in the market. The Huffington Post Canada is pleased to share diary entries from a selection of these filmmakers, who describe their experiences at Cannes as Canadians on the rise in the industry. Here is Jacquelyn Mills with the fourth entry in our Cannes Diary series. Also check out previous entries from Kyle Thomas and Moira Sauer.

May 17. The first day of Cannes, 2013.
I walk along the main strip of the festival, following La Croisette and the Mediterranean. It's my very first time in Cannes, in France and in Europe. At this moment, everything feels surreal. The houses scattered on surrounding hills. The warm sea air. Jasmine growing out of the cracks. I pass the Red Carpet, which is surprisingly not a mile-long and slim like I had always imagined; instead it's short, wide, and enclosed with baseball-bleacher like stands for photographers. Photos scroll on a screen above, Leonardo DiCaprio, Steven Spielberg, Toby Maguire. There they were, and here we are. Myself and my fellow Not Short on Talent participants start making plans for our own red carpet appearances in the coming days.

The first thing we need to do to make this, and anything else, happen is pick up our accreditations. This goes pretty smoothly; we get our badges, our bags, our programs, and immediately spread them all out before us in the Canadian Pavillion to make a strategy. There is this feeling in the air here, even on the first day, that everything is happening and you can't quite catch up. You are sure to always miss out on something, yet you are always trying to attend everything. It's a rush, it's exciting, it's easy to be swept from event to event, group to group.

So why attend the festival? In our case, we are part of a Telefilm program called Not Short on Talent, where 44 shorts films are screened as part of a Canadian market screening at Cannes. It's a filmmaker's dream to participate in the most prestigious and glamorous festival in the world, so when I found out about the acceptance of my short Leaves in NSOT, without question I began planning the trip. Although we are not "officially" selected in the festival, we are given the opportunity to go to industry events, parties, and exclusive world premieres and promote any project we may have on the go. Being in the post-production of my first feature length documentary Woman in the Waves, it's an invaluable opportunity that I certainly wasn't going to pass up.

We begin looking through the 11-day festival schedule. The first thing we eye in the program is a conversation with Jane Campion, my absolute favourite director. I am completely star-struck at the idea of seeing her speak. I remember watching her first movie Sweetie in film school, where I fell in love with her style and approach and her person. We stand in the line outside La Marriott, the whole time unsure if we'll get in -- which we do. Like a real fan, I take out my camera for some photos of her coming onto the stage. I'm trying to repress a bit of my enthusiasm, but that doesn't last long. Soon I'm taking notes on the back of my business cards in order to capture some of her words, which truly resonated with me, an emerging female director.

She seems calm and cool, sharing her candid thoughts on her film process and her development as an artist. She speaks about her early 20s as a painter: "To be honest I was a little lost and unsure if I had anything to offer." She thought, "Life is lonely, it's so awful, but I have to have one." She describes a personal transformation at 25, where she decided to put herself at risk, "expose myself completely, and even if I failed, that would be good." She began by making shorts, dreaming about one day getting a film in a festival. She didn't receive positive feedback immediately from her work, but this made her more focused: "You do what you do because that's what you are. Instead of becoming a pleasing machine".

What a relief it was to hear her talk about the time in her career when she was just starting out. My experience in these early years of filmmaking has fluctuated between blind determination, to fear and uncertainty for having chosen such a path. But there is that gut instinct, which you can listen to or not, that pushes you toward your dreams. Toward taking the risk of doing what you love. Opening your life to the challenges and real growth that come with such a choice.

Finally Campion addresses the audience, specifically female directors, with some advice. Being the first and only woman to win the Palm d'Or (The Piano, 1993) she says, "It's incredibly boring that it's still like this. We need Abe Lincoln to say, half the films should be made by women. If you're a female director in this room, put all your energy into making a good piece of work ... So ladies, make your movies."

For a first event at Cannes, I immediately feel truly grateful for the opportunity to be here. This festival is awakening, affirming, and inspiring. I really look forward to what the days to come will bring.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Actress Zoe Saldana poses for photographers during a photo call for the film Blood Ties at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • Zoe Saldana and Marion Cotillard

    Actors Zoe Saldana, left, and Marion Cotillard pose for photographers during a photo call for the film Blood Ties at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

  • Zoe Saldana, Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard

    Director Guillaume Canet, left, and actor Marion Cotillard pose for photographers during a photo call for the film Blood Ties at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

  • Marion Cotillard, Zoe Saldana, Guillaume Canet

    Actress Marion Cotillard, left, director Guillaume Canet, centre, and actress Zoe Saldana pose for photographers during a photo call for the film Blood Ties at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • James Franco

    Director James Franco poses during a photo call for the film As I Lay Dying at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • Marion Cotillard

    Actor Marion Cotillard poses for photographers during a photo call for the film Blood Ties at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

  • James Franco

    Director James Franco arrives for a photo call for the film As I Lay Dying at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • James Franco

    Director James Franco poses for photographers during a photo call for the film As I Lay Dying at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • James Franco

    Director James Franco poses for photographers during a photo call for the film As I Lay Dying at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • Zoe Saldana

    Actor Zoe Saldana poses for photographers during a photo call for the film Blood Ties at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

  • James Franco

    Director James Franco poses for photographers during a photo call for the film As I Lay Dying at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • Zoe Saldana, Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard

    From left, actor Zoe Saldana, director Guillaume Canet and actor Marion Cotillard pose for photographers during a photo call for the film Blood Ties at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

  • Marion Cotillard

    Actor Marion Cotillard poses for photographers during a photo call for the film Blood Ties at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

  • Marion Cotillard, Noah Emmerich, Zoe Saldana

    From left, actors Marion Cotillard, Noah Emmerich and Zoe Saldana pose for photographers during a photo call for the film Blood Ties at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • Marion Cotillard

    Actor Marion Cotillard poses for photographers during a photo call for the film Blood Ties at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

  • Marion Cotillard

    Actress Marion Cotillard poses for photographers during a photo call for the film Blood Ties at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • Marion Cotillard, Zoe Saldana

    Actors Marion Cotillard, left, and Zoe Saldana pose for photographers during a photo call for the film Blood Ties at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • 'Blood Ties' Photocall - The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival

    CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 20: Actress Marion Cotillard attends the photocall for 'Blood Ties' at The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

  • Marion Cotillard

    Actress Marion Cotillard poses for photographers during a photo call for the film Blood Ties at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • Zoe Saldana

    Actress Zoe Saldana poses for photographers during a photo call for the film Blood Ties at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • James Franco and Ahna O'Reilly

    In this photo taken Sunday, May 19, 2013, James Franco and Ahna O'Reilly at the Art of Elysium Party, in Cannes, southern France. This is O'Reilly's first trip to the Cannes Film Festival, and she has two films on display. Both were in attendance as she was the guest of honor at the event, hosted by the charity Art of Elysium. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision/AP)

  • Keanu Reeves

    Actor Keanu Reeves poses for photographers during a photo call for the film Man of Tai Chi at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

  • Keanu Reeves

    Actor Keanu Reeves poses for photographers during a photo call for the film Man of Tai Chi at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

  • Keanu Reeves

    Actor Keanu Reeves poses for photographers during a photo call for the film Man of Tai Chi at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

  • FRANCE-FILM-FESTIVAL-CANNES

    US actress Zoe Saldana poses on May 20, 2013 during a photocall for the film 'Blood Ties' presented Out of Competition at the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. Cannes, one of the world's top film festivals, opened on May 15 and will climax on May 26 with awards selected by a jury headed this year by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 'Blood Ties' Photocall - The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival

    CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 20: Actress Marion Cotillard attends the photocall for 'Blood Ties' at The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

  • 'Blood Ties' Photocall - The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival

    CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 20: Actress Zoe Saldana attends the photocall for 'Blood Ties' at The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

  • 'Blood Ties' Photocall - The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival

    CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 20: Actress Zoe Saldana attends the photocall for 'Blood Ties' at The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

  • FRANCE-FILM-FESTIVAL-CANNES

    French actress Marion Cotillard smiles on May 20, 2013 while posing during a photocall for the film 'Blood Ties' presented Out of Competition at the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. Cannes, one of the world's top film festivals, opened on May 15 and will climax on May 26 with awards selected by a jury headed this year by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 'Blood Ties' Photocall - The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival

    CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 20: Actress Zoe Saldana attends the photocall for 'Blood Ties' at The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

  • 'Blood Ties' Photocall - The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival

    CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 20: Actress Zoe Saldana attends the photocall for 'Blood Ties' at The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

  • 'Blood Ties' Photocall - The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival

    CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 20: Actress Zoe Saldana attends the photocall for 'Blood Ties' at The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

  • FRANCE-FILM-FESTIVAL-CANNES

    US actress Zoe Saldana poses on May 20, 2013 during a photocall for the film 'Blood Ties' presented Out of Competition at the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. Cannes, one of the world's top film festivals, opened on May 15 and will climax on May 26 with awards selected by a jury headed this year by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 'Blood Ties' Photocall - The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival

    CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 20: Actress Zoe Saldana attends the photocall for 'Blood Ties' at The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

  • FRANCE-FILM-FESTIVAL-CANNES

    US tattoo artist and actor Mark Mahoney (L) and French actress Marion Cotillard pose on May 20, 2013 during a photocall for the film 'Blood Ties' presented Out of Competition at the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. Cannes, one of the world's top film festivals, opened on May 15 and will climax on May 26 with awards selected by a jury headed this year by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FRANCE-FILM-FESTIVAL-CANNES

    US actress Zoe Saldana smiles on May 20, 2013 while posing during a photocall for the film 'Blood Ties' presented Out of Competition at the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. Cannes, one of the world's top film festivals, opened on May 15 and will climax on May 26 with awards selected by a jury headed this year by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FRANCE-FILM-FESTIVAL-CANNES

    French actress Marion Cotillard poses on May 20, 2013 during a photocall for the film 'Blood Ties' presented Out of Competition at the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. Cannes, one of the world's top film festivals, opened on May 15 and will climax on May 26 with awards selected by a jury headed this year by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FRANCE-FILM-FESTIVAL-CANNES

    French actress Marion Cotillard smiles on May 20, 2013 while posing during a photocall for the film 'Blood Ties' presented Out of Competition at the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. Cannes, one of the world's top film festivals, opened on May 15 and will climax on May 26 with awards selected by a jury headed this year by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FRANCE-FILM-FESTIVAL-CANNES

    French actress Marion Cotillard (R) smiles on May 20, 2013 while posing during a photocall for the film 'Blood Ties' presented Out of Competition at the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. Cannes, one of the world's top film festivals, opened on May 15 and will climax on May 26 with awards selected by a jury headed this year by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FRANCE-FILM-FESTIVAL-CANNES

    US actress Zoe Saldana poses on May 20, 2013 during a photocall for the film 'Blood Ties' presented Out of Competition at the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. Cannes, one of the world's top film festivals, opened on May 15 and will climax on May 26 with awards selected by a jury headed this year by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FRANCE-FILM-FESTIVAL-CANNES

    French actress Marion Cotillard poses on May 20, 2013 during a photocall for the film 'Blood Ties' presented Out of Competition at the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. Cannes, one of the world's top film festivals, opened on May 15 and will climax on May 26 with awards selected by a jury headed this year by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FRANCE-FILM-FESTIVAL-CANNES

    (From L) US actor Billy Crudup, French director Guillaume Canet, US actor James Caan and British actor Clive Owen pose on May 20, 2013 during a photocall for the film 'Blood Ties' presented Out of Competition at the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. Cannes, one of the world's top film festivals, opened on May 15 and will climax on May 26 with awards selected by a jury headed this year by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake

    Actors Carey Mulligan, left, and Justin Timberlake laugh as they arrive for the screening of the film Inside Llewyn Davis at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • Joel Coen, Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Ethan Coen, John Goodman, T-Bone Burnett

    From left, director Joel Coen, actors Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, director Ethan Coen, actor John Goodman and musician T-Bone Burnett arrive for the screening of the film Inside Llewyn Davis at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban

    Actress Nicole Kidman, left, and her husband singer Keith Urban pose for photographers as they arrive for the screening of the film Inside Llewyn Davis at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 19, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

  • Garrett Hedlund, Justin Timberlake, Oscar Isaac, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman

    Cast members, from left, Garrett Hedlund, T-Bone Burnett, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Joel Coen, Carey Mulligan, Oscar Isaac, and Ethan Coen pose for photographers as they arrive for the screening of Inside Llewyn Davis at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 19, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

  • Garrett Hedlund, Justin Timberlake, Oscar Isaac, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Carey Mulligan

    Cast members, from left, Garrett Hedlund, Justin Timberlake, Oscar Isaac, T-Bone Burnett, John Goodman, Carey Mulligan, and directors Joel and Ethan Coen arrive for the screening of Inside Llewyn Davis at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 19, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

  • Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake

    Actors Oscar Isaac, left, and Justin Timberlake arrive for the screening of the film Inside Llewyn Davis at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • John Goodman, Justin Timberlake

    Actors John Goodman, left, and Justin Timberlake arrive for the screening of the film Inside Llewyn Davis at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan

    From left, actors Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, directors Joel Coen and Ethan Coen pose for photographers as they arrive for the screening of the film Inside Llewyn Davis at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, T-Bone Burnett, Justin Timberlake, Garrett Hedlund

    From left, actors Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, directors Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, actor John Goodman, musician T-Bone Burnett, actors Justin Timberlake and Garrett Hedlund arrive for the screening of the film Inside Llewyn Davis at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

 
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