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Arts & Culture

Guest Blogger: Networking in Cannes

Our intrepid filmmaker Giancarlo Ruiz taking on the challenges of the Cannes Film Festival.
Giancarlo Ruiz
Our intrepid filmmaker Giancarlo Ruiz taking on the challenges of the Cannes Film Festival.

Local Filmmaker Explains What You Gotta Do To Get Noticed

Cannes -- in my most humble opinion -- is a monster when it comes to film festivals. Everyone is selling, everyone is buying, everyone is pitching. It is the major league of film festivals and the sensory overload I have been experiencing is intense.

The elements of the presentation package that Ruiz has assembled for the Cannes Film Festival.
Giancarlo Ruiz
The elements of the presentation package that Ruiz has assembled for the Cannes Film Festival.

In my backpack I have what is called my "presentation package" because at Cannes you have to be prepared to market yourself. In it I have two business cards, a letterhead welcoming the viewer into the Generic Pictures website info, a DVD with "St. Jacques" (my film that is screening in the Short Film Corner Program at Cannes) plus another film called "The Z’s" (my bizarre zombie flick concerning the smuggling of pharmaceutical drugs), a CD with the press kits for both films in English and Spanish, and French. For "The Z’s" press kit I used a slideshow of the production with a voiceover, so people can get a sense of how I work plus images they can access for any needs they might have. Also on the CD I have the next project I have in development -- it's called "Circus Medusa" -- with the screenplay, some artwork, and an animation that will be part of the website.

Elements of the presentation packet... the letter.
Giancarlo Ruiz
Elements of the presentation packet... the letter.
... the DVDs...
Giancarlo Ruiz
... the DVDs...
... the business cards...
Giancarlo Ruiz
... the business cards...
..."St. Jacques."
Giancarlo Ruiz
..."St. Jacques."

All of these presentation elements have been well pressed and printed on high quality paperwork. I’m trying hard to make it as professional as possible, and coming from an independent background I have been spending much more money on the marketing materials than the film itself. Will this have an impact? Will this make my work stand out amongst the others? I’m not sure but I’m giving my best shot. I have nothing to loose. I’m already here and polishing my networking skills.

I’m already developing "Circus Medusa" without funds because when you are an independent filmmaker you can’t wait for someone to produce your work – you have to do it yourself, and then you have to get them to believe in you through your work ethic, basically walk the talk and talk the walk. No flakes please.

The best bet at the moment is walking the market aisles where the big shots walk around buying and selling. Imagine Comic-Con for international films. People dealing with filmmaking are everywhere -- you smell it, talk it, walk it, breathe it. Talking to people and giving out my press packet gets easier every time. The pavilions are also a great place to talk to people. They are like small embassies where people congregate. Things go down – it’s a matter of talking to the right person. Basically I'm a guppy in a shark tank.

In Cannes...
Giancarlo Ruiz
In Cannes...

I hope to have my screenings next week and am trying to invite the right people to watch my short because that’s what you want. [One of the things the Festival provides is an opportunity for filmmakers to hold private screenings for distributors and buyers.]

I start to realize that just having access to the multiple activities the Festival has to offer increases the possibility of looking for and finding finance. And even if you don’t know if you’re talking to the right person, you are in fact talking to the right one because you never know who that person might be or who that person knows. Basically it’s a win win situation.