FRANCE

Cannes Festival: “full of smooth-talkers”

For 23-year-old comedian Deborah Newman, Cannes Festival is a make-or-break. One way, you build a base of professional contacts, the other, you get scammed by fakes full of empty promises. Read more...

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For 23-year-old comedian Deborah Newman, the Cannes Film Festival is a make-or-break. One way, you build a base of professional contacts, the other, you get scammed by fakes full of empty promises.

I was at the festival two years ago working. At the time I had the pass to get into the Palais des Festival. This time round I don't, and I'm left to my own devices. I've been here since Thursday and still haven't managed to get in. I haven't met anyone of importance; no scriptwriters, no directors. The world of cinema is pretty closed - you need those contacts in order to get castings. I'm really counting on the second week. You only have to meet one important person that can open doors for you and launch your career.

On the other hand, you have to be very wary, because Cannes is also full of smooth-talkers. People will take you as naïve just because you're a young woman. That's a classic scenario. They sell you a dream; castings, projects... to take advantage of you. Lots of young comedians fall into that trap. They'll ask you to get undressed for example during a casting. That's happened to a few people I know.

Personally I'm very careful, without becoming paranoid. That kind of talk is usually easy to detect. You only need to ask a few precise questions and then look up what they said on the Web. You just have to keep your head on your shoulders and not believe everything you hear.  

I know I'm not going to land the role of my life at the end of these ten days. It's just a good way to build up my address book. Afterwards, come what may..."