TALES FROM TINSELTOWN: Yachts, bikinis, parties: all in a day’s work at Cannes film fest

Glamorous people on yachts, gourmet meals in opulent restaurants, business meetings in shorts. Oh, and did I mention cleavage?

Glamorous people on yachts, gourmet meals in opulent restaurants, business meetings in shorts. Oh, and did I mention cleavage?

Glamorous people on yachts, gourmet meals in opulent restaurants,

business meetings in shorts. Oh, and did I mention cleavage?



Yes, another Cannes film fest has come and gone, and once again it was

Baywatch on the French Riviera. And as hundreds of Hollywood studio

execs, producers, publicists and psychics descended on France,

opportunity presented itself to young, ambitious industry players.



Who stayed home.



During the festival, LA’s better restaurants and its studio commissaries

had available tables - normally occupied by the seat of someone who was

firmly planted in a Cannes screening room or, more likely, a corner

table at the reception. (It’s one thing to miss the movie, don’t dare

miss the party). Coveted studio parking spaces could be snaked by those

in the middle of the food chain, while recently ousted publicity execs

could wander the empty halls of their former digs and deface valuable

movie posters. Although that would be naughty, and wrong.



International publicity firm Dennis Davidson Associates, long one of the

key operatives at Cannes, once again held court. It’s better to know

Dennis than the French president- the president probably doesn’t have

the skinny on the best parties or the cell numbers of the biggest

stars.



This year’s news from Cannes was typical - a deal here, a thong bikini

there - but one of the industry’s true characters surfaced for a

headline-grabbing announcement. Producer Menahem Golan, who ran Cannon

Entertainment during its heyday in the mid-1980s, said that he’s going

to make the movie we all dread: the story of Elian Gonzalez.



A true showman, Golan will probably arrange for real events to end in a

manner befitting his movie: the boy returns to Cuba to lead an overthrow

of Castro, then opens a Toys ’R’ Us franchise. Sorry, there’ll be no

casting call at a mall near you: the role’s taken.



Golan (alternately credited and blamed for ’discovering’ Jean-Claude Van

Damme) and his partner Yoram Globus were once fixtures at Cannes,

pioneering the now-routine practice of selling foreign distribution

rights to their films before they were made. If the finished product

resembled the one promised, so much the better. But come on, how hard

was it to please moviegoers in Mauritania? This was before satellite

TV.



I worked for Cannon in the late ’80s, and helped with promotional sales

sheets and press kits for movies pre-sold at Cannes. The task was made

challenging by the fact that there was no movie or script - usually just

a logline and a vague drawing. My puzzlement was assuaged by the

irrepressible Golan, who said, ’In my movies, a heroic man woos and wins

a woman’s heart. In between there are fights with bad guys, gunfire and

explosions.’



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