Magazine article Variety

Trump News Makes Waves on the Croisette

Magazine article Variety

Trump News Makes Waves on the Croisette

Article excerpt

AT PREMIERES, BEACH PARTIES, winesoaked dinners and business meetings, the topic du jour at this year's Cannes Film Festival: President Trump. Buyers and sellers, studios executives and stars confess they're glued to their smartphones, waiting for email alerts and updates on the latest White House scandal.

"I'm obsessed with it," said Stuart Ford, CEO of sales and production company IM Global. "The first thing I do in the morning is check the news. The last thing I do at night is check the news."

Some of the films searching for distribution along the Croisette grapple directly or indirectly with Trump and the populism that fueled his rise. Buyers are circling "Promised Land," a doc by Eugene Jarecki that centers on a cross-country trip against the backdrop of the 2016 presidential election. Michael Moore also Skyped in for a talk with Harvey and Bob Weinstein on Friday to whet buyers' appetites for "11/9," an anti-Trump documentary.

Even films that don't have an explicit connection to Trump allude to his stormy presidency. Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski introduced "Pope Francis: A Man of His Word," a documentary about the Catholic leader, saying, "At a time when our political leaders seem to be doing little actual leading, we have to look to others for guidance." Trump was not mentioned by name, but it was clear whom he was talking about.

Todd Haynes, director of "Wonderstruck," which premiered at the festival, said he had an "obsessive compulsion" about staying aware.

"It's almost a weird way of relaxing," he said. "I don't know how that's the case, but I just have to turn it on. I just have to know what's happening and hear it. ... These are monumental times, dangerous times, that I think we're in."

The web has changed things for the news-obsessed, making it easier to stay connected.

"I see alerts that pop up in my phone," said Tom Bernard of Sony Pictures Classics. "Much better than the old days here before the internet. Then you had to wait until the Herald Tribune hit the newsstand and get the news a day late."

Each day has has brought fresh fodder for the cycle - from reports that Trump tried to persuade fired FBI chief James Comey to drop an investigation on ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to the appointment of a special prosecutor. …

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