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Cannes Film Festival

Gunfire tightens security; star sightings give a boost


Editor’s note: Sara Jackson, an IPFW student, is working at the Cannes Film Festival and will be reporting from there occasionally. At the time of this writing, it was about midnight Friday in Cannes, France.

Well, I have to admit: It’s hard to say you’ve had a bad day when you get to run into Clive Owen on the street but I should start from the beginning. It’s been three full days since I last wrote anything for you, and they’ve been packed full of work and events and screenings and life.

There was a bit of a scare on Friday night, during a live interview that was being conducted with Oscar winner Christophe Waltz, when a man discharged a starter pistol on the beach and allegedly threatened to throw a grenade at a pavilion on the Croisette. Ever since, festival security has been on high alert and at record levels.

I used to have to show my badge just to go the restroom, and now I am also screened by guys with hand-held metal detectors. While it would have been a big deal in the States, it was a massive media-hogging event in France, where gun violence is almost non-existent.

Saturday brought a change of focus, with tons of parties, including several beach club events and yacht happenings. With a prime spot adjacent to the port, my “office” was right in the middle of most of the action. Consequently, I saw a veritable parade of stars, such as Nicole Kidman (wearing heels, of course), Zoe Saldana, Matt Damon and Justin Timberlake (sans Jessica Biel) as they came and went from the sponsored soirées celebrating their films despite the cold, rainy weather.

An annual tradition at Cannes, The American Pavilion’s Queer Night party proved to be a raucous end to the weekend on Sunday evening. Given that I’m responsible for everything membership, I had to work – but not for the entire night. Director Lee Daniels (of “Precious” and “The Paperboy” fame) had to back out of his hosting duties in order to stay in Los Angeles and finish editing “The Butler,” due out in August, so we assumed it might be a little more low key than originally planned. Instead, it proved to be the hit event of the night, even drawing some guests from parties farther down the beach.

While my schedule has been less forgiving in terms of allowing me to attend screenings, I have managed an impressive five at this point, and I am psyched to say that my favorites from the lineup are forthcoming. I missed out on “Inside Llewyn Davis” on Monday, and it was a heartbreaker. I had been so looking forward to it, being set in the early 1960s Greenwich Village folk music scene and featuring a fantastic cast (including Cannes darling Carey Mulligan). But, alas, the screening was packed, and I am not a priority.

Monday, busy from the word go, ended at least on a happy note. I decided to take advantage of the break that missing the screening had afforded and wandered down Boulevard de la Croisette with a friend. Passing by some of the higher-end boutiques, I slowly made my way toward the local outpost of Ladurée, the famous makers of authentic macaroons. Passing a crêpe stand, I spotted Clive Owen being escorted from the Hotel Carlton into a waiting festival vehicle.

Obviously, rejection has its rewards.