Colin Renshaw's Cannes Diary #3

image1.jpegColin Renshaw, VFX supervisor and founder, Alt.vfx is representing Australia on the Cannes Film Craft Lions jury. Renshaw, along with most of the other Australian and NZ jurors writes exclusively for CB.

OK day 5 tomorrow. Two days to go. This is where it starts to get gritty. We have shortlisted all of the entrants, and don't quote me but it was like 4300 entries pre judged down to 1300 and I think we end up with 430 on the prelim shortlist. Now those numbers may be whack, its after 11pm here - I haven't been up this late for a week, but the ratio is kind of right.
 
Point is, now we have to do one last round of culling and start to award metal.
 
The real personalities of the judges are starting to bubble to the surface. And it's delicious. Mr Congeniality suddenly bares his fangs defending a piece of work that leaves the rest of the  jury convinced he is on crack. Maybe his brother did it.
image2.jpgMrs Middle America dredges up something from the first round that obviously we all thought was shit. And manages to mainline it back into the shortlist. Go you.
 
Truth is it's all good. It's all *legit* The convulsions, query, recalibrations and reinterpretations are all part of the process and we the jury are here to represent you, the great unwashed, and we will do so with selfless honour and integrity.

You have my word.
 
I am going to tell you that if you ever win a Lion, you have no idea how lucky you are. They have more algorithms than Netflix here to keep the judging straight - to stop block voting - bias - self interest. But nothing can stop the influence of subjectivity. You can't allegorise for that. It can be influenced by the dynamic of the room's diverse personalities, the ambient temperature of the judging space, the lack of snacks, the amount of hours you are crammed together, where your spot was entered in the list (hint... enter early), the temperament of the taxi driver that delivered you to the Palais. All factors...
And that is the best bit about being a judge. You get to face off against this wall of subjectivity, defend or annihilate work depending on your debating skills, and when you win you feel like the Redeemer and when you lose...ahh you just blame it on the power of the networks. Honestly though if you love what we do, it's the best fun you will ever have without falling foul of the millennials in their race to set us on the Righteous path. Take that as you will.
 
So I decided randomly on the spur of the moment to see a fortune teller. It was kind of on my way back to the hotel and I literally fell in the door.

I don't want to perpetuate any racial stereotypes but this woman was text book gypsy-esque witchy fortune teller. If she had popped out an third discombobulated eye ball so that it could gaze at me from the table I wouldn't have been any more weirded out.
 
She took my hands and ground her palm into the top of them like she was exfoliating a bison, and stared at me in such a probing way that I felt she was extracting all of my childhood secrets one by one. She had a gnarly, steamy wheezing breathing thing going on, but other than that we sat silent for 10 whole minutes. She  was just pegging me with her eyeballs.

After an eternity I blurted our half jokingly - "So? am I going to win a lion?"

She silently eye pummelled me for another 5 mins before asking: "What is lion and why you worry about lions?"
 
Truth is I have no idea. Even sitting on the jury I really have no solid idea what will get shortlisted. That is how finicky it is. That is why if you win you should be very fucking happy.
 
Strangely enough I got a text from a client not long after, and then another, asking: "So? am I going to win a lion?"
 
I replied to both. Yes, I think you will take the Grand Prix.

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