Film festivals around the globe

LIGHTS. CAMERAS. CANNES.

The 69th annual Cannes Film Festival (Festival De Cannes) takes place every May on the French Riviera. Crowded and crazy with fans and super stars, this French vacation destination satisfies the movie cravings for sure. Fans gather from around the world annually, motivated by one common love: film. Fly to Nice and enjoy the 30-minute scenic drive along the Riviera to Cannes. I recommend the award-winning hotel known as the Citadines  or “Apart’ hotel.” It’s a blend of apartment living with hotel amenities, including a living room, kitchen and a private, small rooftop deck. Managed by the Ascot Limited group, the hotel is a perfect location for a week-long vacation with just a short stroll along, cobblestone streets, down to the waterfront and the heart of the festival action.  Fun fact: Cannes is also close to Antibes, home to the Picasso museum and Monaco, home of the Grand Prix.

Cannes is beautiful to say the least. Film fans literally “camp out” for days in front of the Palais steps in order to get a glimpse of their favorite actors over the course of two weeks.  The sight of the mega yachts is astounding in the harbor. A total of 117 countries are represented at the festival with 5,200 films and 118 documentaries offered. It’s a 24/7 marathon of screenings, press conferences and parties. The stars ARE out, from Sylvester Stallone and Jane Fonda to Julianne Moore, Blake Lively and Zoe Saldana on the red carpet. This year, the jury president was Australian actress Cate Blanchett.

The super stars stay at the Intercontinental Carlton Cannes, the very definition of elegance. It seems odd to see armed guards roaming the lobby, until we remember there was a $136 million jewelry heist inside the hotel one summer. This almost stuffy grande dame gets wild each May when a Nikki Beach after hours club opens up for two weeks, only during the festival. Billed as the “ultimate beach club”, combining entertainment, dining, music, fashion, film and art and called the “sexiest place on earth” by the London Observer, stars show up at all hours of the day and night including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman and Mickey Rourke, among many others.

Many repeat visitors to the festival argue that the Majestic Barriere hotel is the place to be.  This member of The Leading Hotels of the World overlooks the Mediterranean. Book the Suite saluting Christian Dior but be prepared to spend a staggering 32,000 euros per night.  Nothing can prepare you for the sights along the famed Promenade de la Croisette. The overcrowded outdoor cafes are teaming with diners with foreign accents, adding to the charm.

Where does the normal visitor go to just chill? Everybody agrees: La Pizza. You don’t need jewels to sip wine here. Reporters and day trippers hang outside in the Café reading the daily copies of The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, to see what party they missed the night before or to catch a glimpse of themselves.

FILM AROUND THE GLOBE:                             
Canada and Utah to Berlin and New York

Canada offers The Toronto International Film Festival each fall, showcasing 300 films from 60 countries.  Park City, Utah hosts the Sundance Film Festival January 21 to January 31. With over 46,500 attendees, it is the largest independent film festival in the United States.

February’s Berlin International Film Festival is the world’s largest public film festival. This year, Norway will be the “Country in Focus” at the European Film Market of the 2019 Berlinale. Norwegian films, and Norwegian arts and culture in general will be showcased.

Circle your calendar for April 24 to May 5, 2019 and book your favorite hotel room for the 18th Annual Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Tribeca 2018 featured 32 countries, 77 world premieres, eight international premiers and six North American premiers. The Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2002 by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff, reportedly in response to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the consequent loss of vitality in the Tribeca neighborhood in Lower Manhattan. We love dining at De Niro’s Tribeca Grill, open since 1990.

TAMPA BAY TRAVEL UP DATE:  JUST SAY GO

Our airport is magnificent. We have seven international carriers that fly to more than a dozen cities around the world. Norwegian Air will launch two-times weekly nonstop flights to London’s Gatwick Airport from Tampa International Airport beginning this month.  Delta jumped in to the Tampa Bay/European market August 23rd and announced it has extended its international options with flights to Amsterdam. To date, TIA has opened over 60 new shops and restaurants with a new program of 40 percent local designed to reflect the Tampa Bay region, both in terms of food and aesthetics. ♦

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