The Cannes Film Festival's Chicago connection--Michael Kutza

Chicago International Film Festival founder Michael Kutza calls the Cannes Film Festival "the best place to look for films and to make contacts."  He has attended this Festival 50 times!  He's been on juries there, reviewed films that have premiered there for numerous publications and according to Michael "has fallen in and out of love" there, too.

There has been tons of press on this global event that can make or break a film, so I thought it would be nice to see the Festival through the eyes of one of our own, Michael Kutza, who is there now.

"There are so many film festivals in the world, probably one new one every day of the year! Cannes is truly original. This year is no exception. The festival orchestrates a non-stop parade of films and film stars for the 10 days. Even if they have nothing to do with a film, they are here in some form of cross-promotion for a future film! Always a five-ring circus of excitement and this year is no exception. Cannes also treats film as an ART, every performance is presented as an Opening Night. You must even dress for the occasion - black tie for the men and gowns for women. It is cinema and it is France!  It has all the glitz, glam and champagne that you expect, plus more stars and better films than usual. It's looking like a banner year for Cannes. This is still the place to discover the world."--Michael Kutza.

1) What films have got everyone buzzing at Cannes?  "The films from directors like Cronenberg, Jean-Luc Godard, Ryan Gosling, Tommy Lee Jones, Bennett Miller, Mike Leigh..."

2)  What film received the biggest boos?  "Sad to say it was the Opening Night film, "Grace of Monaco".  Poor Nicole Kidman.  People didn't get it!   It was a fairy tale for God's sake!  Critics only wanted the facts.  She was terrific in the role."

3)  This year, what star has been your most exciting sighting and why?  "The "Pulp Fiction" kids.  Uma, Travolta and Quintin Tarantino.  How about a dragon on the Red Carpet along with Cate Blanchett (for "How to Train your Dragon 2" premiere).  And best of all, Sophia Loren.  At 79, looking better than ever!  Sophia and I go back a long way."

4)  What do you like best about attending this Festival?  "If you're looking for films and making contacts, it's only Cannes.  All directors save their BEST to premiere each year in Cannes.  It is THE place to be."

5)   I know you're going to "Dracula-Land" next, what for?  "Yes, I have been invited to be on the feature film jury in Romania.  I've been on all the major festival juries in the world, so when I got invited to Romania and a chance to see the newest line-up of films from that country, I said yes.  It is also in Transylvania.  Who could ask for anything more?  A chance to visit Castle Dracula!"

More Cannes Film Fest news:  Another highlight of the Film Festival is amFAR's annual Cinema Against AIDS dinner, hosted by Sharon Stone.  Movie moguls, supermodels, Russian billionaires and more moneyed types gather together at the legendary Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc for a good cause.  This year, Russian billionaire Igor Sosin shelled out $4.9 million for 42 red designer dresses curated for a runway show by Vogue Paris editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld.   Leonard Blavatnik spent $15.3 to acquire a skeleton of a wooly mammoth that had been gilded by artist Damien Hirst and a trip to outer space on Virgin Galactic with Leonardo DiCaprio sold for $975K.  Robin Thicke performed "Blurred Lines" for this well heeled crowd.  Nice work if you can get it!

Mark your calendars now to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL!  The Summer Gala will honor Kevin Kline and will be on Saturday, June 28, at the Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E. Delaware.  It will be co-chaired by Jeanne Randall Malkin and Penelope Steiner.   (For tickets and more info, call 312.683.0121, x131 or click here.

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