Colin Renshaw's Cannes Diary #1

IMG_2308 (1).jpgColin Renshaw (left), 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.

Getting there is never half of the fun. I am just going to lay that out straight up.
Doesn't matter what airline you fly or which end of the plane you sit in - long haul sucks. And long haul to Europe is the high priest of suckery.

Bars on planes (thank you Emirates) are like kissing a hot someone with a coldsore. You jump in with reckless abandon but you know you will pay for it later.
image001 (1).jpgI once got on a flight and heard a very recognisable voice behind me. It was Singo. We introduced ourselves he asked me what I did. I told him. He said: "What's your strategy?"

I began my usual quasi-earnest reply: "Doing great work...uhh....hiring great people..."

He cut me off mid-sentence. "No, you fuckwit - your plane drinking strategy. You go hard early, and then sleep? Or do you go hard all flight? Hmm?"

I confessed didn't have a strategy and that ended the conversation. I slinked back to my seat.
 
But of course, you do need a strategy. You definitely need a strategy when you go to Cannes. I think this is my 5th or 6th year now and mine is well entrenched. Go hard for 2 days - then hibernate for 2 days. Then go hard for two days again. Avoid talking to people that matter after 2pm and never ever go to the Carlton bar after 8pm.

I live in my boardies, only bathe when I swim, and try to grow a beard. For me Cannes is a working holiday with largely the very same people I work with every day, and I like it like that. This year my strategy is getting all screwed up.

I am going to Cannes to judge Film Craft.
 
Being asked to judge at Cannes Lions Festival is an honour, certainly. But it's also a big commitment. There is a lot to do, not just in the judging process, but readying the life you leave behind for you being absent, busy as hell and practically uncontactable for the next however many days.
 
For one thing, I've never been so exposed to so much bloody amazing work from all over the world. And for those who have sat through that initial online judging stage...you understand. There is A LOT.
 
But of course, as with everything, with greatness also comes a great wave of utter bollocks.
 
While I was awed by some of the amazing, beautiful, touching stories that brands across the world told in the past year, there were others that tried so desperately to achieve greatness that they reeked, a powerful stench of cynical emotional jabs that left me feeling like they had exploited the subject matter to the extreme.
If you have a prosthetic limb, are transgender, in need of affirmative action or are #girl power, this is your year. The brands are behind you.

It's a fine line to tread when you are seeking to tell a very real emotional story of human endeavour - that ends mostly with a completely incongruous brand logo. When it works, it pierces the heart of even a cantankerous cynic like me. When it doesn't, it leaves you feeling cold and repulsed, and dirty.
 
Thankfully, the obvious bleeding-heart PC bandwagon trash was quickly excised on Day 1. And in general, day 1 judging was exciting and funny and inspiring.
 
Some of the comedic spots entered across categories are utterly brilliant, with a particular highlight being a handful of ones from Thailand. They seem to be able to get edgy, creative comedy along the production pipeline better than we can in Australia, and it's a universal comedy that just works. Great scripts, great casts, great direction.
 
Have to say that I'm loving it so far. But I do miss my pool toys and Pina coladas.

Wednesday seems so far away...
 
Stay tuned.

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