I’m going to go out on a limb here and make an assumption that for most of us indie folk, actors, directors, and producers alike, our trips to festivals like the prestigious Cannes don’t begin on the private jet the Weinstein’s sent over, with drivers waiting at the airport to whisk us away to our carte blanche stays at the Hotel du Cap or Majestic.

So for the savvy indie(ite) that wants to try their hand at surviving La Riviera sans beaucoups de bucks I thought I would share my observations on the first several days of free food…or gratuis as its called over here. I’m even going to go so far as to name the parties but you can’t hold me responsible for next years fare.

Breakfast. Okay, I haven’t seen any free breakfasts but in ’04 I did the Producer’s Network here and the gatherings were always during breakfast. Granted, I did pay for the privilege of attending the Network, but breakfast was kind of free in that I never actually paid for it on the spot? If I remember correctly, it was the standard French fare, croissant, pain au chocolat, French orange juice (kind of tangy with more of a water like consistency) coffee and tea. I’ll check tomorrow with a friend in the program this year and amend the above if it has changed at all.

I’ve also noticed at the American Pavilion if have a VIP membership, they have a little table set up with free coffee and pastries. But, when someone showed up at the American Pavilion with a pain au chocolat yesterday when we all knew they were out, I found out the Irish Pavilion had free pastries and coffee which leads me to believe, and again, this is not with all certainly, but I’m fairly sure, some of the various countries, and definitely Ireland have free breakfast goodies.

Lunch. Kodak takes the cake here. The Kodak luncheon was actually lovely. Perfect paella, orzo in a light tomato sauce, artisinal cheeses, a chopped avocado, tomato and bean salad with a crisp Rose. Its difficult to believe the space was just beach several days ago as they have this Buddhist, Zen, rocks and wood thing happening in there with a bar that looks like it layered slate. Really, as good if not better than any restaurant with ambiance to boot.

Snacks/Coffee. I’m going to go with a stroll around the market on this one. I promise to go back tomorrow and take better notes, but the various booths always have a little something to nosh on while you stop by. Some booths are more approachable than others, hence you don’t feel badly about the eat and run. They are easy to spot in the quantity and assortment of what is there. A little fun twist on the market is heading outside to the yacht area. Today I took at peak at the new F23 HD Sony camera on their yacht and noticed a lovely assortment of sandwiches and sodas for visitors. They were such a nice group of people, I sincerely think they would have been happy to have me sit down on their uber yacht and enjoy a bit of food and I don’t even think the conversation would need to revolve around the camera.

Cocktail Hour. This is where Cannes takes the cake. I’m going to have to go with the Korean Pavilion on this one for whatever the beautiful purpley champagne was they were serving. The food wasn’t so memorable, but the champagne made up for any lack on the part of the hors d’ouevres. IFP, alcohol, no food. Film Finders/Without a Box, alcohol and some appetizers but difficult to find and well…the Plages des Palmes where it was held had a big cooler with ice cream so that was nice!

Dinner. J.A. Media, hands down. Chinese food in France. Who would have thought. But it was great, copious, lively and very filling. Kung Pao Shrimp, pork shu mai, wontons, pork dumplings, egg rolls, bbq pork ribs, broccoli and greens in garlic, fried rice and noodles. The space got very hot very quickly and the waiters did not put ice in our Coca Lite but everyone left fully sated without parting with any Euro. The perfect dinner.

I have not heard of a dessert party yet, but I will keep my eyes open and report back should I hear of one. Feel free to comment and add to this list for future generations of budget Canne(enites) to refer to.

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