Paul Hills’ weekly post production blog

Blog 28 Sat 17th May

We locked the cut on Monday. Suddenly a wave of sadness overwhelmed me. I left the cutting room feeling really empty and hollow. It made me think of Sam Peckinpah who in the latter part of his life never liked to be without a film to make or edit. He would prolong an edit inordinately long until he had another film to start. It showed he couldn’t face real life. To me that is sad both ways.

I got everything prepared for Cannes by 2am the night before and met Caroline at Tottenham Hale train station Tuesday morning. She had to give me some copies of the trailer. Caroline felt the sadness too. I took the opportunity to give her the elephant stone that I had been saving for since the shoot. There had been no point giving her the cast and crew present at the wrap party as her job was only just starting then. The exchange and goodbye was quite emotional. I don’t think I had ever seen Caroline like that before. She has done a wonderful job and should be proud of it.

I hope that while I am in Cannes Axle will work hard on the sound and that Roger and Neil will make inroads on the grade. In the mean time mine and Jonnie’s job is to find the right sales agent for the film. We need one that understands the film, feels as passionate about it as we do, has the ability to sell the film and can give us an advance. My feeling is that a French one would be best but who knows? The sales agent who loves the film the most is probably best.

Since Tuesday has been a blur of rushing around arranging things, scheduled meetings, improvised meetings outside bars, in hotel lobby’s or on the street coupled with endless walking up and down La Croisette. Sleep deprivation kicked in early and has got worse by the day. The most I get is about 5 hours now. For the first three days it was cold and wet. Everyone complained but I prefer it that way. I don’t do heat that well and sunstroke is thus kept a bay! I have curtailed the party going though and am focussing on the business.

Julie was here for a couple of days which was very pleasant. I hadn’t seen her since the shoot and she is desperate to see the film despite it not being finished. She also accompanied us to one meeting, which was nice. The biggest surprise in seeing her though was the addition of a large bump in her belly – another child ! She is due the first week of August, the same time Elephants will be delivered.

Most of the hard meetings to get I arranged last week, the others I have arranged while here. Only one company, Six Sales, has tried to pass out of hand (they didn’t like the trailer we gave them in Berlin!) and another pretentious one called Salt, just can’t be bothered to take the meeting! Many other responses have been very positive. The moment of truth, though, will be end of Cannes or a week after.

Apart from DEP, I am here doing work for Bluebell Films and am setting up my new film The Power. With the latter I am working with seasoned Producer Mark Forstater. From having 0% finance on day 1, we are slowly edging towards a theoretical 100%. The “t” word being the main one. It’s never certain until it’s certain. And even then…

The most surreal half hour I have spent in Cannes so far is talking to a director who has been summoned here to meet his financiers 2 weeks into shooting a film called “The Big I am”. He’s a commercials director making his first feature. After 12 days shooting he has shot 8 minutes which makes him about 9 days behind schedule. He said “I deal in perfection. If it’s not good enough I can’t move on. Other people can but I can’t. If that’s one set up a day who cares? Fuck ‘em! I can spend all day shooting a drop of water falling on an apple. That really turns me on. Most film-makers, I feel, are just slap dash, amateurish!” At the start of the conversation I said “Either you are a wanker or an idiot, which one is it?” Later I warmed to the guy and even found something in common with him! Either this film will go to three times it’s budget, shoot for a 100 days or the guy will be sacked. My prediction is the film will look amazing but will be totally vacuous and detached, as if there is a barrier between the film and it’s audience. The script, though, is currently being polished by a brilliant writer called Karen Bird, so maybe I’m wrong…

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