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Cannes Diary: Soaked, Starving, and No Spielberg Sightings

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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 Moira Sauer with the second entry in our Cannes Diary series. For the first entry, from Kyle Thomas, click here.

I am three days late. Festival de Cannes began on the 15th, and I was still back home in my cabin, excited and nervous, borrowing a dress for each day I would be in France, since my wardrobe consists of carhartts, hoodies, and jeans. Upon my arrival in Cannes, the festival is in full swing.

It's night time. It's windy. It's busy and wild. It's ON.

Walking down a cobblestone side street, making a mental note of the lingerie store so that I will find my way back to the apartment (unaware yet that every corner has a lingerie store), I see that the crowds are out. Two local musicians stand near one outdoor patio and are wringing-out every traditional French song known to North America on a violin and accordion. Long tables are set up both inside and outside restaurants to accommodate the large, boisterous, filmmaking groups.

It's a sea of laminate. Everyone has their festival tag, hanging 'round their neck. It's a badge of honour. It's a stamp of approval. Yes, I belong here. I am welcome. I have MADE it.

For a series of blocks, the déjà vu repeats and repeats itself. Men in dark suits or tuxedos, with tussled curly hair, dark rimmed glasses. Women with glowing skin, perfect hair and make-up, dresses that have them shivering in the cool wind. Cigarettes. Jewelry. Wine. Flashes from passing photographers.

I keep walking. The wind picks up, the rain starts to fall. I decide to get a Panini at one of the many little food carts set-up along the concourse that follows the sea wall. This feels less painful then squeezing into some corner table in an overheated restaurant, surrounded by crowds, without even a phone to at least pretend like I'm busy or desired or important.

"Oui?" says the proprietor.

There is one other woman sitting at the bar in front of his window. She smokes a cigarette and watches.

"Un Panini de poulet, s'il vous plait," I attempt in French.

"Non, il n'y a pas paninis," he says.

"Oh, ok. Qu'est-ce que vous avez?," I continue.

"Rien," He states.

"Ah..." I respond, looking at the shelf of pastries and sodas. "Nothing. You have nothing to sell?"

"Oui."

And so I gather my umbrella, for the light rain has turned into a downpour, and I leave the Panini man (amidst the laughter of the smoking woman) and make my way back to the apartment (via many wrong turns) where I eat the three dry crackers I have left over from the 25 hour journey to France.
Flash forward to the next day.

The downpour has turned into a deluge. I look out my window, down onto the street to witness the boulevard, now with a distinctly more river-like quality. I dig through my suitcase. Those beautiful borrowed dresses... and ONE pair of pants. Remember to bring Sierra an extra special present home for being insistent on the black pants. Shoes, on the other hand, are a disaster of choice for flooding conditions. Good thing I'm tough and can handle some wet feet!

Flash forward a few hours.

I'm in tears, though no one notices because I'm so wet from the rain, it all blends together on my face. Let's just say that the highlight of my day was the really lovely conversation I had with the dude who arranged a cell phone rental for me. Now I can have all the free incoming calls I want, and pay a fortune to text anyone.

A vehicle passes so closely by my side I'm doused from head to toe in puddle water - you know exactly what this looks like because we've all seen it in the movies a thousand times, and yes, that's exactly what it looks like. I turn to see it's the beginning of the jury, making their way from a fancy hotel to the Grand Theatre Lumiere, accessed by the Red Carpet. This is how they travel: police motorbikes, six or so black Mercedes with flags and lights, followed by more police motorbikes. I know that if I look closely in the tinted windows, I will see Steven Spielberg, who is this year's President of the Jury.
But I find myself turning in the other direction. Toward lingerie shops and many more corners that will eventually lead me back to the apartment. There, I will have a hot shower, hang out all my wet clothing and crawl into bed. I think I have some Dexter on my laptop lent to me by my brother that I'll watch before sleep.

And then I guess I'll try and give this whole festival thing another go in the morning.

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