Inside Story: Cannes You Fix It?; This Week the Glitterati Descend on Cannes, Armed with Glitz, Glamour and Those All-Important Party Survival skills.(Features)

Article excerpt

Byline: Interviews: Jennifer Rodger

These two hardened film festival pros tell us how to survive the Cannes circuit...

The publicity officer

Liz Miller is the international marketing executive at McDonald & Rutter

`For the last 13 years I've gone to the French Riviera to chat about movies for 11 days each May. It sounds so glamorous, but Cannes is more like a war zone - and I go armed with between six and 10 films to publicise. I'll talk to journalists, arrange interviews for actors and directors and host parties. I usually only see the celebrities to give them their work schedule. Meeting them for the first time can be daunting, so of course it makes all the difference when I get along with my `charges'. For example, Emily Watson is a good friend of mine.

During the festival, my idea of dinner is a goujon swiped from a passing tray and I'd call four hours sleep pretty good. From day one, it's go, go, go. Journalists from all around the world sweep through the doors of my company's villa asking me who they can interview. I enjoy this bit most, especially persuading them to interview an up-and-coming actor. I look at an A-list actor as too easy. For example, this year I won't need to hard-sell Robert Carlyle, who's a peach, or Kathy Burke in Once Upon a Time in the Midlands. So I tell the journalists they can have a household name as well as a newcomer from each film.

Most nights I host a party. There needs to be one party for each film and the stars from the film normally come.

I'm on the door all night with just the bouncers for company making sure the right people get in. I usually wear a simple black dress. In Cannes anything goes - even a bikini's acceptable in any place because it's a coastal town. But I'm under no illusions - in Cannes, unless you're famous or naked no-one notices you.

Celebrities are just here to get photographed entering a glamorous party or on the red carpet - but nowhere else. They're driven around in cars with smoked windows and they use strange entrances and exits, like the kitchens of restaurants. It's for security - I've seen one person notice a celebrity and five minutes later, there's a mob. Once, with Christopher Lambert, we faced a frighteningly huge mob of fans, so I hailed a passing yacht to take us to the nearest hotel docking space.

Of course, my job does have its perks - incredible parties and insider gossip. I was one of a handful of people who knew Bjork had won the Best Actress prize for Dancer in the Dark two years ago, so I had to hide her in a hotel until the official announcement was made. She was so excited - I think she's adorable.

I like to think of myself as being a mother hen to the actors. They turn to publicists like me to get them anything they need. Alright, it's only show business, but I like it.'

The film buyer

Laura de Casto, 36, is managing director of Metro Tartan Distribution

`I always take an empty suitcase to Cannes. …