[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 May, 2005, 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
Movie diary: Cannes Film Festival
The movers and shakers of the film world are on the French Riviera for the 58th Cannes Film Festival.

Neil Bedwell
Cannes calls for Neil Bedwell

Neil Bedwell, co-founder of online film distribution outfit itsallelectric.com, will be selling his site and films at the event.

He kept a diary for the BBC News website about his experiences at the world's most important film market.


Back in London with a strange feeling of inner calm. Delayed Tubes and baggage hell seem pretty irrelevant. It won't last long, but good while it does.

So my last post about Cannes is written back in the office on a grey Tuesday morning.

Sunday was our last day proper and what a day (and night) it was. After Saturday's sunrise assault our day started about 3pm on the beach catching some sun.

At 6pm we arrived for drinks aboard a Brit Film boat, with the sun beating down and a fine view of arriving VIPs for a French party next door, including Jean Reno, a personal hero.

Afternoon gave way to evening and the party went off in fine style.

Boat party
Boat parties are one of the highlights of the Cannes festival
People danced on every inch of space across the deck, with 50 more partygoers on the jetty. The sedate diners on the yacht next door struggled on as the decibel levels increased.

With an extended gang of British film characters, we made off to the biggest party of our trip - The Battle in Heaven party, for Carlos Reygadas' film, which is in this year's competition.

A huge villa in the hills, with dripping lights, swimming pool and rolling gardens. An amazing spectacle. And one serious night out to end Cannes adventure.

So, now we are back with calls to make and meetings to arrange. Roll on next year...

SEVENTH ENTRY: SUNDAY 15 MAY 15:31 local time (14:31 BST)

A doughnut. Don't know that it's enough. Not even close. I can't survive on one doughnut a day.

Yesterday was good. Really good. And another great example of how Cannes can unfold in front of you at a startling pace.

We started at the British Independent Film Awards party, which proved very successful.

Conversations with an eminent film broadcaster and indie film champion, and a very interesting chat with a leading broadband provider who wants to talk more about films on the web.

Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton put in a brief appearance at her own party
And three of us won prizes in the raffle (a very British thing to do). A good start.

Night-time was when it really kicked off. An invitation from the UK Film Council saw us on two yachts within an hour. The second a vast, three-storey giant with marble bathrooms and a hot tub.

We slid around in compulsory slippers enjoying the sumptuous buffet.

Then, thanks some quality cheek from some journo pals, we landed at Paris Hilton's party. High swank and high camp.

The star of the show even showed up. For 90-seconds. It probably took six months to organise. Class.

And so, we finished at dawn with a coffee and doughnut. Its 3pm now, and I've got to leg it. I'm starving.

SIXTH ENTRY: SATURDAY 14 MAY 16:28 local time (15:28 BST)

"Tennis is life. A code to live by." So say Henri the ruined Frenchman. That sums up last night.

From the minute we were knocked back at the door of an Aussie film party (for not actually being Australian) our evening took a surreal turn.

A swamped Petit Majestic - home to all those travellers without yachts - delivered the stories. Of a party with diamond studded "chav" chairs. Of an enormous American exec happily munching through a bowl of pot pourri. My last recollection? An animated debate about where exactly in the world is PC World (still unresolved).

Daytime made much more sense. We camped out on the lush terrace of The Grand Hotel and talked internet film with producers, PR's and press.

There seems to be a genuine interest, which is excellent. And apparently George Lucas is hailing on-line film as the "future".

The response from British short and feature film-makers we've met is also really positive. There will be meetings to be had in London from next week.

Today has been calm, and a good day to be sitting writing this. It's been raining all day. No matter. We're off to the British Independent Film Awards event in a couple of hours, hoping to meet loads of Brits with loads of good films.

FIFTH ENTRY: FRIDAY 12 MAY 1645 local time (1545 BST)

Today we have spent four hours in accreditation hell, bumbling through in pidgin French - we are still on the outside, but it is not over yet.

Cannes film festival
The festival involves plenty of queuing and practicing your French
Basically, there has been a mix-up in our access passes, which caused us to spend a rather sweaty lunch-time in the queue trying to sort it out.

So far it has failed, so we have decided to retreat and formulate a new plan of action over a bottle of wine on the lawn of the Grand Hotel.

The reaction so far to what we are trying to do with itsallelectric.com has been positive so far but there is still work to be done to convince industry people of the market need, which is something we have known for a while.

But tonight it is time to let our hair down and enjoy ourselves over a few more drinks.

FOURTH ENTRY: FRIDAY 12 MAY 1000 local time (0900 BST)

Our plane to Cannes was delayed for an hour last night - it seems they forgot the bit that starts the engines! We had to be jump-started by a man in a truck, which was a little disconcerting.

There's little else to do when you are delayed except to spend some time in the airport bar drinking and eating plastic-style food, so that's exactly what we did.

And the minute we got of the plane, we basically started up where we had left off at the airport.

The winners of the 50 Film Festival, that we organise, texted us to say they were in Cannes, so we hooked up for drinks on the terrace at the Grand Hotel, along with Hattie Dalton and Kelly Broad who won a Bafta for their best short film Banker.

En masse we were there until 2am and moved on elsewhere until we were eventually thrown out.

The highlight of the night was watching two fairly esteemed clients of ours, who work for a film distribution firm, having an arm wrestle or Client Wrestling, as we decided to call it. Beats celebrity wresting hands down!

On the work front we talked to Bifa (British Independent Film Awards) and some journalists, but it was barely an interview as they were more drunk than us!


Right. Leaving in 20 minutes. Passport. Ticket. Wallet. Taxi...

Neil Bedwell's luggage
Luggage? Check. 50,000 postcards? Check...
There's a gang of us going this year. Franki, Debs, the two Jons and me. So tomorrow's entry will be the voice of the collective entitled something like "How we got from the airport to the bar in 12 minutes" or "Has anyone seen Jon?"

Our first "meeting" is at Brit film favourite The Grand Hotel. At midnight. The real work starts tomorrow...


How big are 50,000 postcards? Well, I know.

We've just carried all 20 boxes up three flights of stairs. Pretty big then. The good news is that they're not all for Cannes.

Today was our first "live" day for The Plague. And we sold some films. Not hundreds, but people are buying. And from all over the world. We had e-mails from Mumbai, New Zealand, Belgium - wow!

Spent the day making and sending out e-mail trailers for the film, and trying to ignore the stats page winking at me in the corner of my screen.

We're still pretty new to this Cannes lark (last year was our first trip out there) so don't know quite what to expect this year. I'm wondering how online films will go down? What reaction we'll get from different industry people? Guess we'll see in a couple of days.

Going home now. Tonight. Packing. And the question of how I'm going to fit more than one shirt in around all these postcards.


Last year, we came up with the idea for distributing new feature films online at Cannes and Itsallelectric.com launched in April 2004 - just a month before the festival.

A scene from The Plague
New British film The Plague is being distributed on the web
Our business cards arrived just in time. Jon Mortimer, the site's other co-founder, and myself had pooled our entire year's marketing budget to spend five days talking, walking and drinking our way into any industry party we stumbled upon.

It's hard to judge how successful it was, but we are still here, so I guess something worked. So, this year we are going back. And this time we've got The Plague...

We've just launched our new site and The Plague is the first film in our new online feature film distribution programme.

Everyone is knackered (this is my chance to say thanks to Franki, Jonny, Debs, Jon M, Sarah W, Sarah P, Ben, Craig, Eddie, Jon A, Paul, Tony, Greg, Jamie), but we're still smiling. Bring on Cannes.


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific