Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Last Tango in Cannes

Wow. Where to start?

So, that was Cannes, in all its carefully-marshalled insanity. Five days of meetings, train rides, hastily smashed sandwiches and biblically bad weather. A smorgasbord of Rutger Hauer and Christian Slater movie posters, where every trip along the Croisette could be rudely delayed by a crowd gathering around Alec Baldwin, Coldplay or just a man that wears live cats on his head. It was 24/7 game-face from the Charmed massive; an umbrella, DVD and business card always to hand.

And I loved every bloody minute of it.

I really did – I genuinely loved it. I can’t think of five more enjoyable days over the course of the whole Zombie Resurrection production. It’s like an interactive movie Glastonbury, but one where you get to hang out backstage and help pick the bands.

OK – let’s get the housekeeping out of the way first. Mission number one was to sort out UK distribution and sales agent representation for the movie; a bunch of meetings that Jake and I sorted out ahead of time. And while no one is going to commit to buying the movie based only on a six-minute DVD, it’s safe to say that we now have a winner for both roles. When the finished screener is ready, we know exactly who to send them to. Mission accomplished.

Well, when I say that no one is going to commit to buying the movie based on the six-minute cut, that isn’t strictly true. We received an offer for the German distribution rights, based on a scan of the poster and around 45 seconds of the trailer which they watched on my phone.

Seriously. And it wasn’t even a bad offer.

It seems that this isn’t that uncommon. We heard of at least two zombie movies that were picked up for frankly ridiculous amounts of cash based on the poster and title alone. It seems we may have spent too much time trying to make a watchable film when a weekend course in Photoshop would have been enough.

So, we turned it down. There is nothing quite like passing up the promise of cold hard cash to make you feel like a player.

Which moves us onto mission number two – festivals. Another win.

This was quite a strange one actually, as through luck rather than judgement we ended up meeting some extraordinarily cool people who are intimately plugged into the horror festival world; FrightFest, Fantastic, Fantasia, Lund, Leeds… and nobody went home empty handed. An eight-sided pincer assault on the festival world with the movie that they’re going to be referring to as “that one with the zombie Jesus”.

I love horror people. It’s a side of the industry that seems to be run exclusively by fans. No egos, no bullshit, and a sincere respect for the enormous number of genre enthusiasts there are out there. And we saw plenty of people that fall into the other camp. Fittingly, the French have an expression for it: “p├ęter plus haut que son cul”; literally “to fart higher than ones arsehole” (unsurprisingly Cannes is a high-farter magnet); sadly this was almost business as usual in the UK pavilion.

I digress.

And this is even before I start on the Champions’ League Final; the seal of approval on our poster art and copy from the artist whose zombie DVD covers we originally set out to emulate (and how bizarre is it that we ended up sat around a table drinking with this guy anyway?); my very first and wholly ironic Royal with Cheese; the inevitable internal GPS fails that had us wandering around Nice completely lost at 5 am, and then again on a tiny emergency pavement on the side of a motorway the day after; the early screenings of Cockneys vs. Zombies and Storage 24; etc. etc. I’ll pop some photos up in the next few days, or better still take Jake and me out for a couple of beers and we’ll tell you all about it.

So, it’s a much more formal thank-you to the lovely Amanda-in-Nice for putting us up (and up with us) for the duration. She was such an unfailingly good host that she even managed to procure a yacht-mattress for the occasion formerly slept on by Marlon Brando; I should stress that this was from anecdotal information and not because there was a Marlon-shaped dent visible in the over-stressed springs.

Just the kind of night’s sleep you need before someone makes you an offer you can’t refuse. Tangoed.

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