On Commercial Filmmaking

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I had to decide whether or not I was going to cross the line and become a commercial filmmaker. That is, I would use other people's money to make my movies, and then I would actually be paid and could make a living. It wasn't an obvious transition for me, because I wasn't sure that that's really what I wanted to do. I spent a year in the south of France, very close to the town of Cannes, where the Cannes Film Festival is held each May. After spending time in this small town with friends, writing and sculpting and feeling that I would write my novel there, I was attracted by the magnet of the Cannes Film Festival. I thought I should go down there and check out what that was. I knew that not only was it a very famous film festival but also was a very famous film marketplace. So, if you're interested in film commerce, that's the place to get massive exposure. I went to Cannes, and I was absolutely horrified. It was such hype and such an erotic and intense activity with Rolls-Royces and Ferraris and yachts, the Carlton Hotel with a three-story cutout of James Bond on the front. I was so intimidated that I fled back to my little town, thinking, I just can't deal with that.

After a few days, the festival was still going, and I thought maybe I should go back. Maybe I should lighten up. So I went back down to Cannes and actually was allowed to use the office of the Canadian Film Development Corporation, which is now Telefilm Canada. They let me sleep there. Suddenly I got a completely different attitude. Cannes was kind of exhilarating. It was funny. There were, like, drug deals being done on the corners of each street, except that they weren't drug deals—they were movie deals. Deals being done by Bulgarians and Romanians and Russians and French and Greeks, all selling films to each other. And it was very fascinating and the community feeling there, there was a communal feeling. This was totally separate from the actual festival itself, where everybody was in tuxedos. I had no connection with that. But I was very excited by the film community itself, because amongst them were very-low-budget filmmakers, sort of soft-core sex filmmakers, action filmmakers—all kinds of stuff. I felt a real sense of community with them. I think that was really the beginning of my possibly being a commercial professional moviemaker as opposed to an underground filmmaker.

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Film Making

Film Making

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