Paul Hills’ weekly post production blog

Weekly Blog 29 (Saturday May 24th)

I am on a train from to Monaco for the qualifying. Cannes is done. I am approaching Villefranche Sur Mer, scene of the epic 9 minute commercial for Shiseido I shot with Seanne in 2000. She has been my regular Production Designer ever since that wonderful experience.

Seanne is one of a number of people connected with the film who have turned up in Cannes to help the cause and to party. Last night she was the target of an ungracious tirade by Alex McCleod. I’m not sure if it was due to intoxicants or stress, but the image of Alex as a wonderful guardian angel after being a star during the shooting of the office sequences has been shattered forever.

On the first night of Cannes, while me, Paul Gernon and Jonnie were standing outside the Petit Majestic, Alex unexpectedly appeared, more than merry, celebrating his birthday. He asked “Can you sort me out with festival accreditation through the film?”

I replied “Accreditation has been closed for two months mate!”

“I need you to do it for me!”

“It’s impossible. Sorry, why didn’t you tell us you were coming.”

“I need you to do it for me – on the film!”

“It’s too late Alex!”

“I need you to do it for me!”

“It’s impossible!”

“I need you to do it!”

He traipsed off leaving me and Jonnie a bit baffled. The net result, nine days later, was him raging and screaming at Seanne in the street that he had been cold shouldered! Further, when I called him to try to explain, he didn’t answer his phone.

Now we are leaving Villefranche and Monaco is getting nearer. I am totally shattered. I’ve been doing 16+ hour days every day with seemingly no rest. I’ve hardly partied at all but have had only one good night’s sleep in 10 days. My sleep deprivation level must be up to about 30 hours at least.

Julie went back to Paris on Sunday. She took a copy of the rough cut. I was nervous about her seeing it before it was finished. I’m nervous about anyone seeing ANYTHING before it is finished! She texted me Monday “Your film is beautiful Paul… So powerful moving, modern, hypnotising, surprising, crazy… it’s huge. I feel too awkward to speak. I watched it twice in a row. Your work, your choices, your vision – it’s better than anything I was imagining! I’m so proud! What have you done to me? I was deeply sure that I would somehow be disappointed by myself, because it was too big, too beautiful to be true, I had to fail but your talent improved me. On set I couldn’t be conscious of that but now with a bit of distance it hits me violently; I’ve never been like this! Never! You directed me as no-one ever has, you transformed me, you guided me and now I truly understand how a gifted director can change everything! PAUL – THANK YOU! For the first time in my life I’m not ashamed of the slightest thing. I’m strongly proud of my work and I owe you all of that. You are extremely talented. Meeting you was the best thing I could have hoped. The film is brilliant, full of humour. The way you gave life to the film is fantastic…”

Transposing this now has given rise to gratifying sobs so I will discontinue!

Grace has been in Cannes since Tuesday. She arrived with a large bottle of Armagnac as a present! It is great that there has been three of us working on the film. We can cover so much more ground that way. Grace is taking care of film festivals while me and Jonnie work on the Sales Agents and finishing funds. Only one Sales Agent has come back to us so far but that response was as positive as humanly possible, the guy saying he had “Seen at least one or two films every day since attending Cannes and that ours was by far the best.” He praised enormously the direction, the story and the performances. He loved it. I’m sure not all of them will be the same but it is damn good start!

Apart from the exhaustion, I also am suffering with at least one cracked rib, the result of an over exuberant celebration by a Manchester United fan at the culmination of the champions league final. Over the last couple of days the pain has got steadily worse and now I am in perpetual agony!

In the Palais one day I met a young film-maker who had been inspired by reading the blog and the story of our film. That was pleasing. I gave him a poster as a present. Mirroring our commencement on the film last year in Cannes, on the bus into town, me and Jonnie have been brainstorming a new project, an auspicious start!

Despite expectation, Jonnie and Steph’s baby, Rosalie Triskelle, still hasn’t made an appearance. I just hope it doesn’t come when we have to do ADR in London on June 4th!

Anyway, the train is pulling into Monaco now. I pray Lewis can win this race, the jewel in the crown, but first he must get pole position today – I live in hope! First I need a treble expresso!

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