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Cannes According to Kent Sanderson of Bleecker Street


As president, acquisitions and additional distribution at the independent film company Bleecker Street, Kent Sanderson returns to the Croisette this year amid a recent box office boom for tentpole releases.

The busy veteran took the time to tell THR about his plans for the Cannes Film Festival and Market, as well as some of his best and worst experiences in the city. He also answered several other questions, including tips for which faux pas to avoid and sharing his “only in Cannes” moment.

Best bargain in Cannes?
There are no “bargains” in Cannes! But for a quick bite I usually head north towards the train station. There are some fast food style cafes where you can get a cheap sandwich.

Favorite meal in Cannes?
Le Maschou in the old town. It’s pricey, but the food is delicious, especially the basket full of fresh veggies. This is a very uncreative choice, but as readers will discover during this interview, I am the epitome of a boring, plain American when it comes to these things.

Most overrated restaurant?
Le Maskou. Eagle-eyed readers may have realized I listed this restaurant as my favorite, but I have to add an asterisk to every restaurant recommendation when a basket of fresh vegetables served with a balsamic vinaigrette triggers an American Express “Large Purchase Approved” email.

Biggest faux pas in Cannes?
I’m too boring to have one, I guess. Or the fact that I’m so boring is a faux pas in itself.

Best place to have a drink after 3am?
The sink in the hotel bathroom because I went to sleep at midnight? If I’m up that late, it’ll probably be at Le Petit Majestic.

Place to avoid during the festival?
The Riviera at the Palais. The people who work there are the hardest workers in Cannes, but it’s a very strange, very disorienting place.

Your “only in Cannes” moment?
The sight of stripper cops on the beach at Abel Ferrara’s Welcome to New York party is irrevocably etched in my brain.

Biggest annoyance in Cannes?
Maybe it’s different with the renovations, but the dudes who try to stop you from walking through the lobby of The Grand (The Mondrian?) towards Rue d’Antibes. The same guys also once told me that I wasn’t allowed to go to the toilet there unless I bought more than one bottle of water.

Cannes guilty pleasure?
I will only use this space to recommend a restaurant that is very easy to overeat, Le Jade.

Weirdest request you’ve ever received in Cannes?
When I was an assistant, I was trying to figure out how to get my bosses home when Iceland’s volcanic eruptions disrupted air traffic. There’s nothing like trying to figure out which direction an ash cloud is traveling on hotel Wi-Fi from the 2010s era.

Most interesting celebrity encounter?
Before I moved to LA, the exact same A-list actress was on my flight from NYC every year. I can’t imagine anything worse than sitting next to a famous person on an overnight flight, and so I lived in fear until I confirmed she wasn’t near me.

Is there one thing you won’t travel without, besides your phone?
Well, I managed not to renew my passport in time for this year’s Berlinale and had to fly to Denver during a snow storm for an emergency renewal. So that? As it turns out, no IQ test is required to enter film festivals.

How has your attitude to theater changed over the past year?
Well, last year and the COVID-laden years leading up to it left me personally wanting more to return to the theatrical experience whenever I could. From a business perspective, it was hard to see how the dedicated space returned more slowly than the tent poles, which came back to life en masse. So it’s more important now to have realistic expectations about what theater revenue actually looks like, while acknowledging the incredible impact it’s having on the home entertainment windows that follow.

Attitudes towards timing/reporting of standing ovations at premieres?
I’ve always loved the way the interpretation of different data points can help measure a movie’s success. The length of a given standing ovation is not one of my favorite data points.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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