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Cannes: Brad Pitt in ‘Killing Them Softly’; How Movie Deals are Made

Cannes: Brad Pitt in ‘Killing Them Softly’; How Movie Deals are Made
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Cannes is much more than a festival. It is also a high stakes war of buying and selling that takes place in the lower levels of the Palais des Festivals called Le Marché du Film.

Walking into the marché (French lesson: Marché means market) is akin to walking into a warped pharmaceutical convention. Booth after booth of flashy posters and TV screens are immediately in your face promoting the latest movie. I had been in the bowels of the Palais before, but yesterday I had some free time, and really wanted to explore. I had been hearing movie deals brokered on the streets and in cafés, but this was the heart of the beast.

I sat down with Salim from Look Before You Leap Films, and he showed me a book thicker than the Bible that listed all the companies at the market. Every morning my inbox is flooded with the latest press releases explaining which film was bought by which oversees distributor. The rate and velocity at which movie sales are coming at you is enough to drive anyone to madness, which is why I had been avoiding the lower levels.

While the market really has nothing to do with me, it is interesting to see how in an era where technology seems limitless, people still have to gather together in the South of France to sell a film to distributors.

After my day exploring the market, I headed outside the Palais to join the masses of fans who line up with signs begging for invitations to the official screening. Brad Pitt's new film "Killing Them Softly" was premiering and the crowd was even crazier than usual.

I grabbed a spot next to a young Arizonian filmmaker whose sign said he would do backflips for an invitation. My offer of free hugs seemed a little weak in comparison, but within ten minutes, I had a shiny ticket in my hand, and the boy still had none. I offered to help him try to get a ticket, but my luck had run out, and that was the only invite I scored for the day.

Walking the red carpet at Cannes is something I still cannot get over. This was my third time to make the trek up the famous red steps, and I still was caught breathless and giddy. Knowing that Brad Pitt was right behind me also might have played a part.

The film about a hit man with political undertones was beautiful and definitely a festival standout.
At the press conference for the film Pitt said, "We play characters who have clear-cut opinions in a divided country. Jack Cogan (Pitt's character) tries to kill softly so that it is not too painful for his victim, who has to die no matter what happens. This last point is a reflection on business, which can be merciless."

And with the inexorable voices of movie moguls in my ear at every turn, it seems like an appropriate message for a Tuesday in Cannes. No matter how beautiful the art it, it's still a business.

Keep up with all the fun at the Cannes Film Festival by checking out daily reports on, and follow @BackStageCast on Twitter for live updates.

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