Andrew Hague, a third-year Digital Art major, went to Cannes Film Festival after his entry for Campus MovieFest won big. He and his co-director, -writer, -editor, and -cinematographer, went to Cannes to have his own film screened, and to experience one of the largest film festivals in the world.
1. Tell us about your short film for Campus MovieFest?
Pablo Square is a short film, a fantasy/comedy about a young man on a search for his princess. A wizard presents him with three challenges and if he passes all of them he’ll be granted a princess.
2. What inspired it?
To be honest I wanted to make a film that college kids could relate to. I knew that the college demographic would be our audience so I wrote something my friends and I could laugh at. We knew our strengths lied in our cinematography as well as our good friend, Ankit Suri, who’s a very talented composer studying at Berklee. If we could decorate a silly fairytale with beautiful lighting and a great score I thought we could end up with a unique end product. Our goal was to have the audience find it funny and quirky but also immerse them into a sort of beautiful, fantastical world.
3. Describe your day-to-day schedule while you were attending the festival?
Wake up early, grab an espresso and croissants for breakfast, head downtown to meet up with friends and walk around the Palais, pass through the pavilions for each different country, try to score some premiere tickets for a film or wait in line for a different film. The typical day would include wandering around the festival, catching a movie or two, grabbing some French cuisine for lunch, then heading back to the hotel to recharge for another movie premiere or to hit the town again at night. We didn’t get a lot of sleep in between exploring Cannes, networking and meeting people, watching films, and the array of nightlife in the city.
4. What was the most interesting thing you learned when you were there?
It’s one thing to know and understand that movies are a business but it’s another to actually be in the mix of it all. Despite the sunny skies, palm trees, and beaches, this is a very serious time for a lot of these people. Meetings are going down left and right, scripts are being sold, features are being bought for distribution, etc. We’re the little fish in the pool at Cannes; we’re still so young and we have so much more to work on and get better at that the one thing we made sure to do was enjoy it. “Just enjoy it,” was pretty much the bulk of advice we’d get from the older and more experienced professionals that we met along the way. Despite the business aspect, what’s so interesting is the different types of people you see. These truly are some of the most eccentric people in the world, and you realize that so many of the stereotypical personality types you would expect from actors, directors, producers, and more reign true. It makes it a little hard to distinguish between everyone because so many people act important and unique because you realize that’s what you have to do at these festivals: sell yourself and your brand, why do you belong here?
5. What did you enjoy most about attending the film festival?
Aside from exploring Cannes and meeting people, it all comes down to what got us here in the first place: movies. I was able to attend the premiere of films like “American Honey” and “The Neon Demon”. Being dressed up in a suit and watching these films screen for the first time with the director, cast, producers, and thousands of others in the Grand Théâtre Lumière is a surreal experience. There’s nothing quite like the moment the Cannes Film Festival title fades onto the screen and the entire audience cheers. Some of my personal favorites were two animated films, Studio Ghibli’s “The Red Turtle” and a French-Swiss film “My Life as a Courgette”.
6. How did this experience impact you?
If anything the experience was incredibly humbling and inspiring. I realize how close and far I am from my goals at the same time. I consider myself incredibly lucky to attend such a prestigious film festival. It’s real cool to see that all the countless hours I’ve spent watching films, reading about films, and making films, is starting to pay off. On the other hand I realize how much more work I need to put in to make it even further. Even though we’re at the festival, Nas and I still understood that we’re just one of many who share similar goals and aspirations. What’s going to get us further is really just focusing on the craft and only serving the stories and films we want to make. It’s incredibly important to us to not allow ourselves to undergo some sort of ego trip just because we’ve been able to screen one of our college films at Cannes, because if we allowed something like that to happen we’d be doomed. I still consider myself just a novice of cinema. Once you dig in to the history of films from across the world you realize just how much you need to know and understand in order to progress as a filmmaker. That being said, I can’t overstate just how important and motivating the Cannes experience was for me and where I’m at right now.
7. Next Steps
Nasr and I just completed a new film, Zodiac Dreams, released in March 2016. I’ll be co-oping for the rest of the year at Imaginary Forces, a design and production studio in New York City with plans on graduating in the spring of 2017.
Watch Andrew and Nas’ full Campus MovieFest film below!
Directed, Written, Edited, Cinematography
Andrew Hague and Nasr Abuljadayel
Alec Zisi, Mike Charles, Kerry Lee, Nadya Ryl’kova, Young Oh, Ocean Le, Ayub Acikgoz, Quinn Caswell, Sam Platt, Andia Paz, Sanae Matsuki, Mila Deych, Megan Bridges