Hello, Salut, Bonjour from Cannes.  My name is Christopher O’Brien, I have been volunteering my time to SAG Indie over the course of the festival, and now I have taken over the blog.  It is hard to remember exactly what I was expecting of this festival but it is definately a far cry from what was delivered.  The past two weeks have been one of the most sensational and surreal experiences of my life.  I have never been to a festival on such a scale let alone the industry market that runs side by side with the festival.  For the first couple of days I felt like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights.  The rush of people and energy was simply astounding.  Through my volunteer activities with SAG Indie I have been able to gain face time with some of the most influential and powerful players in this industry.  Whether it was the VP of production at Warner Independent, two reps from CAA, the head programmer of Sundance or one the most powerful entertainment lawyers in the industry, the chance to meet these people and to engage in conversation with them, gleaning copious amounts of knowledge about the nature of the business, has been exhilarating, humbling and quite simply awesome.  This is the kind of face time that a filmmaker at the beginning of their career could only dreaming of obtaining.  Film school has been great, outstanding even, but the lessons learned during the two weeks of volunteering for SAG Indie at this festival wipes the floor clean.  Incredible.

               Now about this festival.  I mean you’re in the south of France to begin with, it’s spring, the sun is shining, the women are beautiful(…read absolutely gorgeous and stunning…) and the entire film industry world wide has descended upon a roughly ten block radius of a small town in southern France.  Ha!  This rocks!  U2 played on the steps of the Palais and I said “okay…look its U2…and their playing a set on the red carpet”  and you know what I didn’t even blink.  Don’t get me wrong…it’s awesome…but it just seems so much apart of what is normal around here.  I’ve been thinking that I don’t know what the heck I’m going to do with myself when I get back to the states, because after this what on earth is going to fire me up.  I’ll be driven to distraction.  But then again I guess that’s the price for being fortunate enough to attend the festival and have access to all the behind the scenes activity…and oh yeah I got to see Robert Duvall, Malcom MacDowell (….very cool…he was amazing just chillin out checking his email…no attendants, no publicist, no anything…just himself…)

                 Last but not least….a message to guys everywhere…learn how to tie a bow tie.  I spent thirty minutes looking for someone out in front of the palais to tie my tie so I could go into the world premiere of Michael Moore’s Sicko.  Just a word to the wise. 

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