Monday, 28 May 2012

Stickmen Pictures at the 65th Cannes Film Festival

(by Rishi Thaker)

My first experience of Cannes has been a wholly unexpected one. Nothing in all my preparation catered for the juggernaut that is Cannes during festival time. The population of this place trebles and many of the locals scarper as the glitz, glamour, corporation, seediness and pretenders consume this small town on the French Riviera.

I will explain the 4 corners of Cannes as I experienced it:

Seediness – Rather unexpected but there are places in Cannes which should be avoided. Although Asch and I were never completely exposed to this side, there were times when Normanton felt like it would be a safer place.

Marché du Film - Festival de Cannes : du 16 au 25 Mai 2012Corporate – It’s amazing how corporately structured the art-form of filmmaking really is. The Marché (and Hotels) at Cannes, where I spent most of my time discussing ‘Slaughter’ with the many interested parties, is where the work gets done. Here you get distributors, sales agents, financers, producers (you name it and they’re there) all running around the booths scheduling meetings and trying to cut deals. But it is difficult enough breaking through here even if you represent yourself professionally so the wacky artistic types must beware here. The Marché represents a business environment (akin to that of something like Wall Street) and in a way I couldn’t really see it as a place for storytelling (however that’s just my opinion). However for the dreamers amongst us, there are plenty of places to capture people's imaginations, it’s just a case of being at the right place (party) at the right time.

Glitz and Glamour – So to name drop, up close we saw Naomi Watts, Jennifer Connelly, Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, Ewan McGregor, Josh Jackson, Diane Kruger, Gerard Butler, Michelle Rodriguez, Jean-Paul Gautier, David Schwimmer (or as I almost called him, ‘Ross’!), Jessica Chastain amongst a whole host of others. We happened to stumble unwittingly (but happily) at the Entrance d’Artists at the end of a hard day at the Marche and were rewarded with this unique opportunity. It was difficult to get a word in with any of these guys as there were so many people about and so we settled for a quick ‘hello’ from a few of them. At other times during the week from a distance we saw Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, Chris Tucker, Puff Daddy and so the list goes on. It’s all there if you want to fight 30,000 others to get to the heart of it.

Famous Cannes Parties – There are all sorts of parties cracking off in Cannes during festival season and Asch and I definitely burned the candles at both ends with early market starts followed by late night networking at some of these parties. We have met a whole host of producers and financers during these sessions (there were parties in the Chateau and in Mansions all of which showed a great opportunity to network as well as identify people who just come for the ride). However this was probably the only area we were under-prepped for but we have a great start for next time.

All in all Cannes was hard work and it goes without saying that preparation is key although an abundance of energy and enthusiasm (thanks a million Asch – you were awesome) will always be required as it is a tough place to be when you have such glitz and glamour distracting you from how much effort is required to get to the top. We did our part and we believe that we have a few months of careful consideration before any decisions are made on Slaughter! Bring on the next steps!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Music To Our Ears

(by Rishi Thaker)

So here we are with my final blog before the hotly anticipated Cannes experience. A number of things have happened since the last blog which include printing, packing, e-mailing, letter writing, phone calling, networking, amongst a host of other items necessary to push Stickmen Pictures ever further. However the most important thing has been the official completion of ‘Slaughter is the Best Medicine’. It has been a whirlwind of a ride and an exercise in utter focus to have got to this place and Dan & Baldy deserve a lot of credit in finishing off this film in time for Cannes. We are now equipped and ready thanks to these boys.

Slaughter is the Best Medicine
When I think of the excitement that accompanies my every thought in relation to ‘Slaughter’ I examine the various elements of what makes the movie different to everything else I have seen. I ask myself what is so good about this film? The camera work, the sound, the acting, the plot, the homage, the characters, the incidents, the special FX, the locations, the costumes or the music??? It is a combination of all of this and that’s why I think there has been high acclaim by most who have seen it.

One thing I haven’t really touched on in previous blogs has been the music. We have been fortunate enough to have received the whole score by Jeff Seyler, a great friend of mine who I met at University (you were right Dad, it was worth going to Uni after all!). Jeff is one of the 8 people that makes up the Luxembourg population and has music rooted deep within his blood. He originates from a heavier side of rock evidenced in his history of band activities (previously ‘Fluyd’ the band ‘Evanescence’ could have been) and now the awesome ‘Encypher’ (check them out on, he’s the lead singer). Jeff has a wonderful talent for understanding an individual musically and then suggesting new music that they would 100% enjoy. I credit him with one of the main reasons why I drifted towards the heavy metal side of music in my youth. On ‘Slaughter’ Jeff put a lot of effort into understanding the themes of the film from which he created a masterpiece. He did this all from Luxembourg so we didn’t actually physically meet during this whole process which demonstrates how much talent that man actually has. I can’t wait for you all to see the film now, as I know you will all agree when you get a chance to sample!

Well there we have it. The next time I blog it will be after an event that we have all been working tirelessly towards. I am thankful to all of you who have contributed your time and energy in getting us here. I am sure I will have great news for you on the other side. See you all soon!