In the first installment of our Bison Summer Series, men's tennis senior Max Kane talks about his time at the Cannes Film Festival, which enhanced his passion for film by allowing him to connect with some of the industry's best and brightest.
The Cannes Film Festival is an international market where rights to films, and some television shows, are bought. People from the entertainment industry attend this 11-day, invitation-only event for various reasons. Some people are attempting to fund an upcoming project and hope to meet producers who can help them create their vision. Others look to promote films they have already completed. Some festival goers attend the festival simply as cinephiles. For the vast majority of attendees, however, the Cannes Film Festival is a business trip.
I worked for the American Pavilion, also known as AmPav, which is located inside the festival and on the beach of the French Riviera. AmPav acts as the festival's headquarters for the American film community in Cannes. The American Pavilion is a large, multi-roomed tent where paid members can attend social events and talks, network, eat, drink and relax.
Throughout the festival, the Pavilion holds roundtable events where film industry professionals generously donate an hour of their time to speak to students working in the Pavilion. These talks are entirely discussion based, giving students the opportunity to sit at the same table as the entertainment insiders and pick their brains. I participated in discussions with Oscar-winning director and writer Barry Jenkins, iconic filmmaker Spike Lee, entertainment lawyer Craig Emanuel, renowned film critic Gil Robertson, packaging agent Peter Trinh and the head programmer of the Sundance Film Festival Trevor Groth. I attended as many roundtable events as possible in order to gain an idea of what area of the film industry I want to pursue.
I completed my internship in the Roger Ebert Conference Center within the Pavilion. During my two weeks in the Conference Center, I helped produce a series of panel talks, celebrity appearances, film screenings, parties and special events, all while ensuring that American Pavilion members and attendees were comfortable and had a positive experience. Notable speakers I assisted included Spike Lee, Paul Dano, Karen Allen, Faye Dunaway, Greg Kinnear and Kyle Mooney. I helped with the screening of Karen Allen's new short film, A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud, and assisted in the production of a Planned Parenthood fundraiser at the Pavilion.
When I was not working, I made a huge effort to attend as many panel talks and roundtable discussions as possible. I also attended 18 film screenings, six of which were exclusive red-carpet world premieres. Towards the end of the festival, I was given the opportunity to screen one of my own short films, For Dad, at the American Pavilion in a student short film exhibition. Once my film was shown, I was brought up for a Q&A with the audience.
One of my goals of attending the Cannes Film Festival was to meet people who could give me opportunities that otherwise would have been impossible for me. I had to go out of my comfort tone to speak and network with established men and women in the film industry. By the end of the festival, I was offered an internship position at SeriesFest, a festival in Denver where television pilots are screened and acquired by television companies. I was also given the option to work on the set of Bethany Jacobson's feature film The Electric Virgin. I plan on pursuing both of these jobs later in the summer.
I left Cannes with a newfound level of passion and admiration for film. Being immersed in one of the most prestigious festivals in the world taught me more about the industry than I ever could have learned at home. I garnered a huge amount of inspiration for upcoming projects that I hope to write and direct. I will use the motivation I gained in France to produce as much material as possible during my last year at Bucknell. My dream is to return to Cannes as a filmmaker or businessman and I am prepared to put in the hard work to make that happen.
A Film/Media Studies major, Kane enters his senior campaign ranked 15th in program history in singles wins (51) and 21st in doubles wins (44). He is a three-time member of the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll.