Cannes Film Festival
Trip Start Jan 03, 2009
33Trip End Jun 18, 2009
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His college gave its students the opportunity to volunteer for the biggest event at the festival. The AMFAR gala is an exclusive party that includes red carpet, cocktails, dinner, live auction and an after party as a fundraiser for AIDS. Ross brought me along to the volunteer meeting and they asked me to join them because they needed all the volunteers they could get.
Since I don't have another internship like a lot of the students, I volunteered to help out setting up for the event the day before and the whole day of the party. Most of the other students would show up right before the dinner and act as greeters during the event. Luckily, I was placed inside the tent for set up instead of doing manual labor outside. The tent would hold the dinner and auction. I spent all day working on the tables, which were all different sizes, tablecloths, which were all different sizes, and plates which had to be put on the correct tables (because there were different color plates that matches the lights and flowers, of course) and then rearranged because the production staff kept on changing the numbers of people at the tables when the important guests called.
When my boss, the decorator in charge of the tent, was busy with different things, I took the seating chart from her and told her I would handle it. I orchestrated a group of people (some who only spoke french, some italian) to rearrange all of the tables and place settings. This took ALL day. I was there from 9 until 6. Since all of the other student volunteers were from Ross' college, they had a bus as transportation. I had to walk there and back, although it is the prettiest route around here, right along the water.
The hotel where the party was held was the Hotel du Cap. It is one of the best hotels in the world and the grounds are amazing, with tons of nature, private cabanas right on the beach and views of the whole harbor. The minimum stay there is 10 days.
So, the first day I worked really hard, and it was noticed. Sandrine, my boss, Alan, the creative director of Versace and Campbell, the director of volunteers constantly told me how hard I was working and how impressed they were by my leadership skills. I was told I would be one of the only volunteers allowed in the tent during the dinner and I got to choose who could come with me. Since Ross already volunteered for another job, to shuttle the press from Cannes and back in buses, I chose a girl who I worked with all day and also spoke French well.
The next day, I arrived at 9 and got straight to work. We had to rearrange all of the table again and we wouldn't stop adding and subtracting places from the tables until well into dinner, hours later. My boss had other things to attend to, so I was again put in charge of the entire tent, volunteers and workers. Since the decorations were donated by Donatella Versace, her creative director was there to help me out, but he mainly just gave me suggestions like facing the table numbers towards the entrance. Alan was really nice and we became friends, he called me "LA" because I'm from Los Angeles. Before he left, we have me his card and said he would call me if he ever needed help for a party in LA and if I needed a recommendation, he would gladly write me one.
Finally, after a long day, I got to eat dinner, provided by the hotel and very good! I walked back into the tent after two long days of feeling like I'd never left it and it was full of people! Not just people, though, celebrities in tuxedos and gowns. It was awesome. During the auction, I even got to stand in the crowd and signal a buyer who wanted to pay for a kiss with Robert Pattinson (from Twilight) for 20,000 euros! I saw President Bill Clinton, Sharon Stone, Diane Kruger, Joshua Jackson, Josh Hartnett, Dita Von Teese, Donatella Versace and Hayden Panetierre. There were also other very important people in fashion and film. Everyone was wearing way to much cologne and perfume, it made an interesting smell in the tent of 900 people.
Around midnight after most people had left the tent, I finally found Ross at the entrance to the after party. He was "greeting," but mostly just commenting on what everyone was wearing and being bored. I was told by my boss that I had to find the volunteers to help us clean up the tent but we were told that we would be done by midnight. I had worked long and hard and my feet actually wouldn't let me walk anymore. It was a lot of stress, but I think I got a lot of experience and now I know that I can decorate a room for a dinner of 800. Ross is really proud of me and I'm proud of myself, maybe I've found what I want to do!
A few days later, I got to dress up again. Apparently, if you go to the Palais before a premier, it is pretty easy to get in to see a movie at the Cannes Film Festival. Ross, a few friends and I walked to downtown Cannes in our best clothes (Ross wore a tuxedo) with signs that ask for tickets to that night's premier: The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. I didn't really think we would be able to get in. After about 15 minutes of waiting in front of the red carpet, a very nice french man asked me if I was looking for a ticket. His name was Benjamin and his daughter was unable to come with him because she had school. He offerred to walk me into the Palais if I would be his date. I waved goodbye to Ross and we walked down the red carpet!
We were a little early in the theater so we chatted about the people coming down the red carpet, since they were projecting live footage onto the screen. He told me who all the French celebrities were and I asked him about his work. He is a TV, book and movie writer, mostly of children's stories. He was very kind and it was a nice night. Ross and our friends also got into the premier with extra tickets they were given but I definitely had the best seats in the orchestra. I wasn't very impressed with the movie but it was interesting seeing the last film Heath Ledger did and how they finished it without him. It was a very fun experience!
The next day Ross, friends and I went to the island off of Cannes called St. Marguerite Island. We relaxed by walking around the island, swimming and laying in the sun.
In a few days, Ross and my best friend, Erik is coming to visit us. We are going to go to Monaco (not Morocco) and then travel to Spain to visit Ross' foreign exchange student's family. I won't have my computer, so this is the last entry before I come back home, but don't worry, I'll put up pictures and tell you all about my travels when I have the chance at home. I can't wait to see you all!