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Cannes Day 6: Making My Pitch

Posted: 05/23/2012 8:40 am

My last day in Cannes was packed with activity and couldn't have been better, complete with sun finally breaking the clouds and putting a spotlight on the Palais.

I was up early to head down to the short film corner, where a special initiative called "Le Pitch" was being held. Short filmmakers who had a film programmed in the festival were invited to give a three-minute pitch for their next film to SHORTS T.V. INTERNATIONAL, in the hopes that their idea will be picked to receive funding. Short films are extremely hard to raise money for, so I was pretty excited to be chosen to be a part of it.

Each pitch starts with the filmmaker presenting a 45-second demo reel, then introducing themselves and their experience for another 45 seconds and then having a final minute and a half to talk about their film. My film is called TWO PEOPLE IN COMPLETE DARKNESS. With my focus shifting to features now, this is the last short film I want to make, and one I'm extremely passionate about making.

The pitches are tapped to be broadcast over the Shorts TV network and then judged/voted upon. I watched a few people go before me and noticed that they all sorta just sat there, lacking any sort of energy. I made sure to engage the camera, speak from the heart and appeal to whoever was watching like I was a motivational speaker. After all, that's what I needed to do. Motivate them to pick my project. I feel like I did very well, but with the amount of entries, filmmakers from all over the world and not really knowing what they're looking for, who knows what will happen. Cross your fingers for me.

Next I had some time to kill before my film screening. I watched two shorts from Italy and Germany: C'est La Vie and Bruises, Cake and Cigarettes respectively. If you can find these films I strongly suggest you watch them.

The alarm on my watch went off, and I trekked up to Palais F. The incredible news was that our screening had completely sold out, which they told me was the first time for a short film screening. The screening is generally only open to press, sales agents, festival programmers and distributors, so that means some pretty important people saw our films. I was really looking forward to seeing the other films that were part of my program, so I was bummed I couldn't watch them or see mine projected, but I didn't come all the way over here just to have a private screening of short films. I think I'm going to try and organize something in Toronto and hope that a few of these will also get into TIFF.

A press conference followed the screening, presented by the president of Telefilm with introductory comments from internationally known Canadian actress, Arsinée Khanjian. Every filmmaker was introduced, we spoke briefly and a group photo was taken. I did a few international media interviews which was a lot of fun, had an on camera conversation with Telefilm Canada about my experience here, drank some bubbly, all while people were congratulating me. A pretty great feeling.

Later that night I learned my wife, Debra Goldblatt, was awarded PR Professional of the Year award by Biz Bash, the major event industry magazine. I'm so proud of her.

Though we couldn't celebrate our wins together, I sit here at the Nice airport eating my Pain au Chocolate, extremely excited to be starting my journey home to my family. We'll eat some sushi, make a toast to each other, get some sleep and see what happens next in this crazy and unpredictable career I've chosen. If my life were a screenplay, I don't think I've even gotten through the first act yet :)

 
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