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June 8, 2012 (continued)

9pm – The dinner and award announcement are held above the Renault car company’s showroom, which seems like a strange place but the food was absolutely delicious and included the second of three steak dinners I will have while in France. Sophie Dulac, the grande dame of Parisian cinema, and her beautiful entourage arrive. She announces that A Teacher has won and Kim and I do this really cliché slow-motion turn to look at each other, not really comprehending the win until people urge us to go up. Four years of studying French in school finally pays off when I’m asked to address the other dinner guests in their native tongue. I give a brief speech that went a little something like this: “Merci Beaucoup.” We take a ton of awkward celebratory photos and head back to the Publicis Groupe’s rooftop for another drink.

11:30pm – Because I’m such a party animal, I’m in pajamas and under the covers finishing up Edith Wharton’s Custom of the Country before midnight. I would like to say that this isn’t typical for me, but then I’d be lying.

Hannah Fidell celebrating with Nicole Emanuele, producer of Not Waving But Drowning

June 9, 2012

10am – Kim and I head to the Claridge Hotel where we’ll meeting with the distributors and sales agents who watched the four films the day before. I learned about “soft money,” “coproductions” and all sorts of cool things that aren’t available to us filmmakers in the United States.

1pm – We take a quick break and someone shows me how to use the Nespresso machine. Finding the simple act of putting pods in a slot fascinating, I soon station myself by the device and offer to make coffee to anyone and everyone who walks by until I break it and watch as the waiter pulls out four pods from inside the machine that have become jammed.

2pm – Lunch is served. We talk about my two favorite current television shows: Game of Thrones and Girls. Sadly the Europeans haven’t been made party to Lena Dunham’s brilliance, so my musings on her and the show are lost on them.

4pm – We got a ton of notes on how to make the film stronger and more sellable on the foreign market. Two frequent comments were that Lindsay Burdge’s performance was brilliant and Andrew Palermo’s camera work was beautiful. I couldn’t agree more.

6pm – Kim and I have a few hours off and we decide to go shopping. Unfortunately the crowds along the Champs-Élysées are much like those on Broadway in Soho or Times Square, so I cut the shopping short before I have any sort of panic attack.

10pm – Kim and I have a quick bite and chat with the Desert Cathedral team over drinks. They happen to be cutting their film in Greenpoint near where I live so we make plans to meet up back in the States. I think that this is the best part of film festivals, getting to meet and hang out with talented and interesting people.

If you have a film in post production, you’re a dummy if you don’t apply for this program. There are two events per year; Poland in the Fall and Paris in the Spring. Films are now being accepted for the Fall. I feel incredibly lucky and honored to have been chosen to participate and let alone to have won such an amazing postproduction package. This was an all around amazing experience that I haven’t really fully comprehended yet. That said, I know that my film is going to be light-years better than it would have been if I hadn’t taken it to US-In-Progress.

Award winners photo courtesy Champs-Elysees Film Festival.

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