Cannes in a Van Film Festival 2013: blog 9

cannes-pierre-pab-1Blog 9

As we woke on our final day in Cannes, we were aware that we had a long weekend ahead. With the last night of screenings, as well as the 900+ miles we had to cover until the van made it home, it would be a busy time.

Our last full day was, as all of them had been, mainly occupied by various ‘essential’ jobs we had to complete. The weather was bright with a light breeze that would return again and again. Since arriving in Mandelieu, there was little time to explore the town so we agreed to get out of the campsite and found a quiet spot at a restaurant overlooking the bay. We sat in the sun only to be told to move into the shade. Disgruntled we complied and sat down to taste the local delicacy – Pizza LA Napouloise… you can never have enough bread and cheese.

Leaving the restaurant with a full belly and smiles on our faces we headed back to camp to collect our equipment for the night (including a bright yellow cinema on wheels). The Croisette was busy (understandable for a Friday night) and we snatched a considerably noisy spot outside the Grand Hotel.

The carpet had been rolled out, the chairs in position. The final challenge was to flick our speakers up to an appropriate level so we could be heard over the sounds of turntable remixes across the road. The speakers didn’t let us down. Midnight was soon upon us and as the club switched to stealth volume, we knew who had won the battle of the sound systems. CIAV has come a long way since 2007.

The plan had included showing some of the best work from The Van d’Or Awards (re-screening short films like Mum Says) then to finish early and grab a drink at the infamous Le Petit Majestic. We’d passed it numerous nights as journalists and filmmakers mingled in the street just outside.

Before heading off for a deserved biére pression there was one last film to screen – Cannes’ local street painter Pierre Pab‘s (above) documentary about his collaborative art project in Tunisia. If you ever have the pleasure of seeing Pierre paint on the street, make sure you say hi. A cooler guy you’ll rarely meet.

Packing everything into the van we said our goodbyes and watched the charismatic Frenchman walk off, canvas in tow, into the night.

The street outside the Petit Majestic was, as ever, swarming with drinkers, each with their own Cannes story to tell. Cars and scooters battled and beeped their way through the crowd just because they could.

At a hefty 20 euros for three drinks, these beers weren’t to be spilled. We found a handful of the Troma troops who were still partying in Cannes. Talk of zombie dribble, Toxic Avenger remakes and Troma coming to London ensued. Looks like it won’t be the last we see of the hardest partying people in town – there’ll be a home-grown Troma treat coming to the Big Smoke soon.

Two drinks down we began to sway. At least Ross and I were – Andy was driving after all. The crowd began to thin as the black night sky turned early morning blue. Before we knew it we were back at our cabin and supping the last night-cap of the trip. The time was 6am and we still had over nine hundred miles to go.

Saturday involved packing and ten days worth of cleaning. Everything was stuffed in the van with a great level of Tetris-esque skill. Swinging by the local supermarket we loaded up on travel dirt food and copious amounts of wine with our sights set on UK soil.

In a mad dash with Cherie FM for company we hit the road for four hours before stopping outside Lyon at a dishevelled ‘prison block’ F1 Hotel beside the motorway. The clientele were either stone-faced men who appeared to be doing ‘deals’ left, right and centre, or scantily clad women moving from room to room. Were we on the wrong side of town, we asked ourselves?

It didn’t matter. Anything was better than another night spent sleeping bolt upright in a van cab. We all gulped loudly, like an animated cartoon before heading to a small square cell for three on the third floor overlooking the McDonalds next door. Watching an awfully-dubbed sci-fi movie we drank wine and discussed the dark stains on the floor.

Waking moderately refreshed in the steamy little block room, there were still seven hours on the road ahead before we’d reach the technological marvel that is the Channel Tunnel.

No time for breakfast and stopping off only a handful of service stations to grab multiple machine café au laits, our journey was spent discussing a dream ‘beat-‘em-up’ pitting actors against musicians as the radio was set to dad-volume.

Heading north we had a heck of a lot of time to kill with little to do. Andy had been working all week and as Ross and I weren’t drivers, the task was left to him. The sugar we consumed was taking its toll as Calais came close. We made good time and hit our appointment with Le tunnel sous la Manche an hour early.

Arriving back on home soil we were thankful for the British radio stations (nothing personal France). The sky was a mix of blue and pink beautifully framing the journey’s end like some Sergio Leone movie.

The trip was a roaring success. We’d met many interesting creative individuals from Jerusalem to Quebec, each with an interesting story to tell. We’d lived the life of rogue pirates on the fringes of the festival, bringing cinema from the little independents to the masses in the street. We hope we entertained and educated, connecting people with films they never would have seen, perhaps inspiring them to make a film, or to simply appreciate non-multiplex fare.


That’s it from The Cannes Film Festival 2013. Now continue the journey with Cannes in a Van as we roll out the yellow carpet for a Summer of Film Lovin’ and an Autumn of Awards!



Recent Photos