Schmoozing with the A-list in Cannes

It's the mega-yachts that are grabbing all the attention at the film festival.


Pirates of the Caribbean: hijacked by the pirates of the internet
(Image credit: © Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved..)

The Cannes Film Festival may be in full swing, but it's not the films that people are paying most attention to. Instead, "the plutocrats are squaring up to one another with some serious luxury yacht length", says Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian's film critic. Naturally, in the battle of the boats, "Roman Abramovich's Eclipse, at 533ft, is expected to win". However, "size isn't everything, so Lady Beatrice, the Barclay Brothers' bijou 200-footer, might gain some approving nods among the seaborne Croesus community". Bradshaw was once invited onboard a mega-yacht at a previous festival, he says, but the experience made him feel like a "tenant on the estate, allowed to attend Christmas Eve drinks at Downton Abbey".

If you are lucky enough to spend some time on a yacht, you could do worse than take some advice from "festival regular" Irena Medavoy, wife of Hollywood producer Mike Medavoy. Having "been on the biggest and the smallest and normal-size boats", she's discovered that, "at any size, the people make the experience the captain, crew and owners", she says in The Hollywood Reporter. The right amount to tip for you and your family is "about $10,000 for a week", but if you are really a genuine celebrity, then ignore this as "there are no rules for A-list stars".

If you would like to rent what has become "Cannes' hottest fashion accessory", you can get a yacht for prices ranging from "about $6,000 a day up to a king's ransom", says CNN's Jennifer Ladonne. Indeed, if you're willing to shell out $150,000 to $400,000 a week for the most "sumptuous boats", you can expect "an onboard chef, masseuse, even hairdresser, plus silk carpets and precious woods, Jacuzzis, swimming pools and helipads". If you're a real Hollywood player, however, you should forget about doing any actual sailing, since you'll be too busy cutting deals and schmoozing fellow moguls. Indeed, most of the yachts "littering the bay of Cannes won't budge an inch for the entire ten days of the festival".

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Besides the yachts and the films, the parties come a close third as an attraction. Indeed, sometimes "the verdict on the party is almost as important as the verdict of the film", reckons Halina Watts in the Daily Mirror. One legendary party that promoted the now forgotten film Vatel "recreated a 17th-century chateau and had nearly 100 actors in period costumes serving partygoers as indoor firework displays bounded around the rooms". The partying can get a little too much for some. "Having spotted a rug on the floor", 1950s film star Rita Hayworth "ordered her pals to roll her up inside it and smuggle her out undetected".

Still, running a studio isn't all about partying with celebrities. Production companies are facing threats from a new breed of criminal. Disney recently admitted that hackers have "reportedly obtained a copy of" its latest blockbuster "and threatened to leak it in 20-minute instalments unless they receive an undisclosed ransom fee", according to Newsweek. In keeping with the modern age this fee would naturally be paid in bitcoins. Ironically the film targeted is none other than Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Tabloid money "Crime doesn't pay. Well, not very well"

With 300 "close" family and friends, a £40,000 dress, a £100,000 glass marquee and 17lbs of Beluga caviar, it seems the only thing Pippa Middleton's wedding was lacking was good taste, says Amanda Platell in the Daily Mail. But then, how was Pippa (pictured) ever going to compete with her sister, the Duchess of Cambridge? "By throwing money at it, that's how!" The cost of the wedding has been put at almost £1m. "But when your intended, James Matthews, is a hedge-fund multi-millionaire, money and vulgarity are not in short supply," says Platell. "Only class is."

I was disgusted to read about Michael Dawes, a Lottery millionaire's son who blew a £1.6m gift in two years and then sued his father for more, says Saira Khan in the Sunday Mirror. He reportedly spent about £550,000 on a house, gave nearly £250,000 to friends and his partner's family, and quit a well-paid IT job. The judge called his £30,000 a month spending "astonishing". "It's not often I quote Socrates", says Khan, "but I think Michael should heed these wise words from the Greek philosopher: He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have'."

It seems the computer hackers who crippled the NHS with a "ransomware" hacking attack and shut down the systems at Nissan's factory in the northeast have so far netted less than £25,000, says Jeremy Clarkson in The Sun. "You'd get more from robbing parking meters. And it goes to show that crime doesn't pay. Well, not very well."

But when it comes to cyber security, we can't afford to relax. "I currently have £275 in my bank account (I wish I was joking). I know this because a computer says so. But what if the computer's memory were to be erased?" It's the same story with your house. "Mortgages. Pensions. Everything. It's all stored electronically and there would be Armageddon if someone deleted the lot."