"In 1991, Sean Penn had directed a movie ['The Indian Runner'] and Madonna was in a different movie ['Truth or Dare']. This was after their marriage had broken up. Roger and I went to a nice party, and he spoke to Charles Bronson and Sean Penn and this other lady sitting next to Sean. And eventually Roger said to me, 'I'm tired and I have to get up early, but I know my editors will want something about Sean and Madonna. So I have to wait until she gets here.' I said, 'You've been talking to her for the last half hour.'"
Jessica Chastain: "Cannes was really my first festival. I was there with 'The Tree of Life,' and I walked down my first red carpet with Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, the three of us holding each other's hands. But I was also there for this very small film I made for $100 a day ['Take Shelter'], which won the grand prize at Critics' Week, and 'The Wettest County in the World' [renamed 'Lawless'], which had a bidding war that Harvey Weinstein won...
Jessica Chastain continues: "And on the last day of the festival I was back home, having breakfast with one of the producers of 'Wettest County,' and my phone kept going off. And I finally picked it up, and there was a text: 'Palme d'Or, "Tree of Life."' I actually started crying in the middle of the restaurant. I feel like my career was born in Cannes."
Mark Damon, CEO, Foresight Unlimited: "We brought Jerry Lewis to Cannes way back in 1983 for 'The King of Comedy.' Well, he not only insisted on a suite for himself, but also a separate suite for his dog at the Carlton. A tiny little French poodle had a suite all to himself! The dog wound up shitting all over the carpet and the Carlton Hotel expelled Jerry and his dog before he could do any promotional work for us."
Elizabeth Kim Schwan, President of International, Covert Media: "In one of my early years of attending Cannes, I went to the premiere of 'About Schmidt.' Walking down the red carpet I was enjoying the moment, looking up at the Palais and the steps to the theater. Suddenly the paparazzi began to take notice of me, yelling at me to get my attention, and the flashes started going off. I wondered who they were mistaking me for when suddenly I realized they were yelling 'bouge!' to me, which means 'move!' Turns out Gina Gershon was right behind me."
Stuart Ford, CEO, IM Global: "My No. 1 memory arises from a few years ago when Martin Scorsese and I spent a day in a Majestic penthouse suite jointly pitching key foreign distributors on his career-long passion project 'Silence' [now in postproduction]. It was Marty's first-ever experience personally pre-selling his movie in Cannes -- but I was all the time wondering to myself, 'Why the hell does he need me here?' That's a guy who knows how to pitch a movie."
Nadine de Barros, co-founder, Fortitude International: "I was at the Majestic, and there was a buyer at the concierge desk -- he'd forgotten to put his suitcase into the taxi. The concierge calls the airport, then turns to the buyer and says, 'I'm sorry, but your suitcase? Kaboom!' The airport had blown the suitcase up since it was sitting out front and no one was there to claim it. The buyer did the entire Cannes market with holes burned in his sweater, suits and pants -- anything that hadn't been totally burned to a crisp. That's why I hand-carry all my clothes on the plane."
Mimi Steinbauer, CEO, Radiant Films International: "My very favorite Cannes memory is being up at a fabulous chateau for New Line's party when we were selling the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy. The best moment was when black horses and horsemen came riding across the lawn in front of the chateau. As the evening drew to a close the owner of the chateau, a dashing older gentlemen seemingly straight out of a movie set, asked me to move to France and live there with him--not really my cup of tea, but a fun path-not-chosen moment in life."
Joni Sighvatsson, chairman, Scanbox International: "My first Cannes was back in 1986, with my then-partner at Propaganda Films, Steve Golin, and Michael Kuhn. The three of us rented a tiny apartment, bunking together to make ends meet, running up and down the Croisette talking to anyone that would listen. Fast-forward four years, we were standing alongside David Lynch on the Palais stage, accepting the Palme D' Or for 'Wild at Heart.' That night was a blur, but we partied hard at the Carlton, and all I remember is the five-figure champagne bill."
Laura Walker, CEO, AG Capital: "In 2011 or 2012 I got a call in the middle of the night from someone telling me Sean Combs' yacht needed to be parked at the old port next to the Palais. I made some calls begging, borrowing and negotiating to make it happen. I got him the only parking spot where his yacht would fit, and I became his agent after that. Then he threw a big party, which was very generous, and I got to invite all my friends."
Ashok Amritraj, CEO, Hyde ParkEntertainment: "For many years, we used to have a party on a boat. I remember the last year the weather was so bad that I had more guests throwing up than watching the fashion show we put on, with models walking around. It may not be the happiest story, but it illustrates how unpredictable Cannes is at every turn."
Joachim Trier, director: "My grandfather, Erik Løchen, made a small Norwegian film, 'The Chasers,' that competed in the main competition in 1960, in the same program as Antonioni, Fellini, Buñuel, Bergman -- can you imagine? And the Norwegian media and public didn't really care. So when I was there last year with 'Louder Than Bombs' and I walked up the staircase to the Grand Palais as the first co-produced Norwegian film in the main competition in 36 years, I was thinking about my grandfather, who passed away when I was 9. And now the Norwegian media cared."