Welcome to Going Bionic, #214. I’ve got a question for you to ponder as you enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend. What do America Farrera, (How to Train Your Dragon 2, Ugly Betty) Jessica Chastain, (Zero Dark Thirty) director Tobe Hooper, (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and Sundance’s Trevor Groth and Rosie Wong have in common? All of them participated in exclusive events at The American Pavilion during the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival.

Celebrating its 26th year at Cannes, The American Pavilion, www.ampav.com serves as a uniquely crafted oasis of inspiration, information and collaborative creativity for both film professionals and emerging filmmakers. In fact, along with walking up the red carpet in your tux and/or evening dress for a star-studded premiere screening, and enjoying fiercely overpriced drinks at Nikki Beach or the Carlton Terrace, The American Pavilion is one of the “can’t-miss” hot spots at The Cannes Film Festival.

So, today I’m going to give you a peek inside of The American Pavilion and tell you why you, “Mr. or Ms. Indie Filmmaker,” should be aware of what The American Pavilion has to offer you.

But first, let me familiarize you with how country-sponsored pavilions work at Cannes.  Simply put, “pavilions” are actually oceanfront tents planted on the sand that showcase their country’s film production-based services or the filmmakers from their country who are at Cannes. In almost every case, you have to have a connection to the country to be welcomed inside of their pavilion. At a bare minimum, you need to have a meeting scheduled with a film professional from that country to be invited inside of their “homeland at Cannes.”

Of course, this isn’t the case at The American Pavilion, because ‘AMPAV’ isn’t just for Americans; it’s for everybody and anybody who chooses to obtain a membership. Should you be wondering if it costs money to become a member, the answer is “yes it does.” Most worthwhile experiences in life, like a first date or the last film class you took,  are going to cost you a little bit of money, so you shouldn’t worry about dropping under $100 to gain unparalleled access to better your career.

Without further ado, here’s three reasons who you should make The American Pavilion part of your 2015 Cannes experience (yes, I’m hinting you should go to Cannes next year. Everybody should experience the Super Bowl of film festivals)!  

Location, Location, Location
Perched on the sand behind the Palais where the Marche du Film (Cannes Film Market) is held, The American Pavilion is the perfect spot for business or pleasure. So, whether you’re headed to a red carpet screening, headed home from a long day of wheeling and dealing film sales at the market (like I was), or whether you need to bask under the Mediterranean sun during lunch, AMPAV is the most comfortable place to do so. You can sit at your table or on a sofa and work or hang out with friends for hours without being bothered or rushed to leave. Such ‘couch potato’ opportunities do not occur anywhere else in Cannes, especially not during the film festival.  

Contacts, Contacts, Contacts
The main reason I’m spotlighting The American Pavilion is because there is no better place for emerging filmmakers to get valuable, life-changing contacts while they are in Cannes. Sure, you can meet film professionals a) on the street or b) in line for a screening, but in both cases, their mind is somewhere else.

Conversely, meeting someone at AMPAV is far more advantageous, because you’d be meeting him or her in “relax mode.” Simply put, if you’re not meeting at least three to five new people every time you step inside AMPAV, you’re doing something wrong.

One of the most impressive aspects of The American Pavilion is their Internship Program. Every year, about 180-200 college students from all over the world get internships during Cannes.  Should you wonder what an American Pavilion internship do for you, please allow me to offer you four possible outcomes:

  1. It’ll expose you to how little you’re actually learning about the real world in film school.
  2. It’ll help you realize that your parents were right and this crazy-a*s industry just isn’t for you.
  3. It’ll multiply your interest in film tenfold.
  4. It’ll get you a job.

In the case of my AMPAV intern this year, Mark Jackson, a Masters student at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Phoenix, he is getting a job offer from me. Of course, Mark will have more impressive offers when he graduates than to work with me, but that’s not the point! The point is, Mark impressed the hell out of us at Cannes, and now his internship is turning into a job offer.

Thus, don’t underestimate to power of an internship. While some suck, and most won’t lead to anything more than solid contacts, solid contacts are exactly what you need to thrust your career forward.

On that note, I thank you for lending me your eyes, and I look forward to borrowing them again! Have a great Memorial Day Weekend! I can be followed on Twitter @Lonelyseal.

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