Any American will tell you that the biggest event of the cinematic year is the Oscars and the subsequent round of parties. But most of the rest of the world, and the serious Hollywood actors and producers and especially directors, see Cannes as the epicentre of the film calendar.
The Oscars are a one night stand of back slapping and thanking their mothers and their partners, who they will be divorced from before the end of the year. The Cannes Film Festival is just that, a festival of all things film, it is no wonder that many producers and studios select the French seaside city as the all important venue to premiere everything from massive epic blockbusters to some little indie film that goes on to become the big “sleeper” hit of the year.
But in truth although a huge amount of behind the scenes movie deals are handshaked on at Cannes, many of the movie world’s greats go for the May week of party’s. Most of the big studios hold lavish event parties boasting A-listers like Charlize Theron, Gerard Butler, and those with only one name such as Deniro, Denzel and Angelina and Brad.
But everyone in the know searches out invites to the more select parties held by the likes of Jack Nicholson, Spike Lee, or Tim Burton, these are the events to be seen at or where to avoid the press depending on the hosts style.
There are even more underground events held by avant guard celebs such as French actor, producer, director Jacques D’Azur (profile here) This former tennis champ and classic man about town, offers what the true big names crave, to be only glimpsed in the shadows as they slip (so nearly) unnoticed into one of Jaques very unique Cannes events.
While MGM and Fox rent the very biggest ballrooms they can find, D’Azur opts for more extreme surroundings, including his use in 1967 of a fish canning factory on the edge of town that enticed the likes of Sophia Loren and Burt Lancaster.
More recently, in 1996, he opted for the use of two barges lashed together out in the bay, one mile off shore , with celeb guests whisked out to the party in the fastest cigarette boats on the Med leaving the paparazzi in their spray.
Unfortunately some photographers did manage to get exclusive shots of the festivities by making use of long lenses. Not to be thwarted by these meddlesome pests the following year Jacques D’Azur held his party right on the beach in full view of the worlds press who could not believe their good fortune and the possibility of some great drunk Hollywood star shots.
That is until a fleet of six white jet helicopters landed and whisked the guests of to an undisclosed location leaving the photo journalists with nothing more than pained shots of helicopters disappearing into the night sky.