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Looking for South Africa

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Oh yay! Happy day! The Film Festival press office called this morning to say they’ve upgraded my (horrible) yellow card to a blue card! Yay! No more feeling blue, now that I’ve got the blue! I know it’s not pink. But at least it’s not yellow. Slowly clawing my way back up this card ladder.

Mission today was to find the South African office in the “International Village” (where all the various countries are represented). And after walking, and walking (hoping to eventually get Jennifer Aniston legs with all this exercise), mission was accomplished! And met the very hard-working and glam Thandekile Sishange and Trusty Ndimande – featured in the photos below.

In love with Cannes again!

Thandekile Sishange and Trusty Ndimande at the South Africa Film & Video Board's office in Cannes
Thandekile Sishange and Trusty Ndimande at the South Africa Film & Video Board's office in Cannes
Thandekile and Trusty at the "office" in Cannes. Not bad for some!
Thandekile and Trusty at the "office" in Cannes. Not bad for some!
South Africa flying the flag in the International Village
South Africa flying the flag in the International Village
Part of the "International Village" in Cannes
Part of the "International Village" in Cannes

Day Zero at the Cannes Film Festival

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Oh my nerves. Day Zero of the Festival and I feel like no-Cannes-do. I raced through to Cannes today to get everything in order before the Festival officially begins tomorrow. So today’s the day all the journos hit town. Pick up our press passes. Our shiny new Cannes 2010 bags. Get our schedules sorted. Our wifi organised. Etcetera.

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Not my apartment. But wish it could be. It's a lot closer to the Palais.

But it’s been one blah experience after the next. Firstly, I went to check out the apartment I’ve rented for the duration of the Festival – only to discover it’s about as far from the Palais (where the movies and press conferences take place) as my home in nearby Antibes is. So that’s not much help. You need somewhere really close by to retreat to in between the movies and interviews. Now I’m yearning for the dodgy hotel I used to stay in for the Festival – where you shared a toilet with strangers and slipped out of bed straight into the shower (seriously) – but it was cheap and close to the Palais. And all the South Africans and Australians stayed there. And it was really dirty which was kind of good because my new apartment is so clean I’m too scared to use it.

Anyway – that wasn’t the worst of it. I then went to pick up my press card. I’d begged, prayed and hoped that this year I’d get a pink card again. In Cannes, journalists are ruthlessly ruled by the card system. I hate the blue card. It always comes second to the pink. The lady at the accreditation counter handed me my card and I could barely look. Please, please, please don’t let is be blue, I silently wished one last time. And hey – it’s not blue. It’s YELLOW! Yup. Yellow. A colour I’ve never even noticed in previous years because it’s so far down the pecking order. Pink cards get into movies first. Then blue. Then yellow. Oh sob. I’m being punished for not attending the Festival for the past five years. I have to prove myself all over again and write lots of fab things about the Festival in order to claw my way back up the social card ladder. BUT of course I’m now sooooo annoyed I can’t think of a single nice thing to say.

Except I know I must appreciate that at least I received a card. I applied far too late for their deadline. They were kind. They were good. I must chill. This is a humbling experience. I will become a better person for it. And I mustn’t get angry when the Press Service lady tells me that there’s no such thing as one card being better than another.

This will be an exciting challenge – to see if I can enjoy the Festival as much as I have in the past.

And the challenges are piling up. I won’t be interviewing Sean Penn because that would cost a cool 1,000 Euros to his distributor in South Africa. There was a flicker of hope that my luck could change – a movie website said they’d be interested in commissioning me…but just got an email from them letting me know they’d pay $25 per article. Oh wow. That would just cover the cafe and croissant I have while writing the piece!

Anyway. No more whingeing today. There are children in Nigeria with FAR worse problems.

New mantra: I Cannes-do-Cannes. I Cannes-do-Cannes. I Cannes-do-Cannes.