Robert Ford, Howard graduate, producer of non-scripted/reality TV, and founder of Creative Minds, is not an easy man to track down just before or during the first half of Cannes Film Festival. It's not surprising, really, when you consider his remit for this two weeks is to shepherd a host of new and relatively more seasoned film industry hopefuls through the business, creative and networking side of the film industry as it happens at one of the biggest and most prestigious film festivals today. Creative Minds In Canneswas set up in 2003 when Ford was still in college writing his short film, Dorm Window, and after he had been to Cannes on an internship which he felt didn't quite live up to its promises nor give value for money. So, like a true entrepreneur, rather than just complain about it, he decided to set up his own program which has since gone from strength to strength.
Creative Minds in Cannes is delivered in three strands: Networking, Creative (filmmaking), and Business (internships), and you don't have to have made a film to apply for the program and needn't have any filmmaking experience behind you. If you're at least 18 and interested in entering the film industry or are more a experienced filmmaker wanting to enhance your industry experience you're welcome to apply.
As busy as he is though, I did catch up with him to find out more about the program and, while I hate to blame the tools rather than my own abysmal flipcam skills (yeah, I know... the camcorder for dummies – that's how abysmal we're talking), I regret that the following video has varying quality in terms of both sound and image. Although I did manage to get hold of Rob on two occasions towards the end of the festival, the footage that was most useful was shot after the very last film that most of us watched on the very last day of the festival (The Driver, starring Ryan Gosling) so not only was everyone a little tired, but it also left no opportunity for re-shoots and, rather than just interview participants of this year's Creative Minds in Cannes program, I figured it was best to have Rob appear rather than not have him in the video at all. As a forewarning then, the first section of the video is best played while listening with your earphones plugged in. Thanks to my intern, Darious Wilson (yes, Shadow And Act had an intern at Cannes, thanks to Creative Minds), we also get to meet (in higher video/audio quality) participants from the three strands of this year's program talk about their experiences in Cannes via CMIC.
So, apart from Ford himself, also featured in the following video are our very own Curtis "The Media Man" John and his writing/producing partner, Mecca Woods, whose short film, A Little Bit of More, was presented in the Cannes Short Film Corner (not all Creative Minds applicants with a short film automatically get their film accepted into the short film corner), and whose experience in Cannes they hope will enhance the development of their first feature, Concrete Pearl; from this year's creative/filmmaking strand of the program, Jabari A K Holder, an actor and wearer of many hats, who got to make a short film in Cannes which, incidentally, won the the 2011 CMIC film showcase, leaving him in no doubt that directing is his calling; and, last but by no means least, the indomitable character that is Darious Wilson, a Delaware State undergrad who was on the business/internship strand of the program and who interned for a sales company during his first week at Cannes and for S&A during his second, and who plans to become a screenwriter and director some day.
I should also mention that Creative Minds is not exclusively targeted at African Americans - in fact, it's not even specifically targeted at Americans. Anyone over 18 from anywhere in the world is free to apply as long as they speak English and hold a valid passport at the time of travel. It just so happens, however, that Ford is African American and, with this being S&A, so are the four CMIC participants interviewed for this piece. However, with Sergio's annual lamentation about the lack of African Americans venturing to Cannes, hopefully the below video might at least act as a good catalyst to get more people thinking about attending the festival themselves, whether they decide to take the CMIC route or act independently.
In addition to Creative Minds in Cannes, there's a sister program, Creative Minds in Toronto (applications currently being accepted with a July deadline), and a Creative Minds in Sundance program is currently being developed for 2012. It may be worth visiting and subscribing to the Creative Minds Vimeo channel, where you'll be able to get promotional video updates on future programs and deadlines. You can also get further information and details on how to apply at the Creative Minds In Cannes website. For specific information, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, put your earphones in, and turn the volume up, for the S&A introduction to Creative Minds in Cannes!