An interview about 2019 Cannes Festival with Alain Zirah

1.Alain Zirah, how was the 72nd Cannes Film Festival?

As every year, this festival was all about happiness. I have been present at the Cannes Film Festival since 1983 and have always had intensemoments there. As the founder of the OFF de Cannes festival founder, I have to be present, every year, and enjoy it tremendously for the duration of the festival. This month of May was rather rainy, but don’t we say “rainy wedding, happy marriage”?

Bijou – Farah Zulaikha – Supraiya – Annie Kinnen – Ali – photo AZ Productions

2. What is the OFF de Cannes festival?

The OFF de Cannes festival is made oftalented discoverers who are at the forefront of the Cannes Film Festival and are preparing the films that will be under the spotlight tomorrow. We meet in Cannes, during the festival, for artistic events that bring together cinema, music, writing, fashion and visual arts. Since 2005, we have gathered a pool of talents who are often multidisciplinary artists with whom we intertwinein events, films projects, photo shootings, painting exhibitions, musical showcases and literary meetings, in different cities. The OFF de Cannes festival hasgrown with the Great International Web Contest, created by Anne Gomis, with a jury of professionals who select the most creative artists and monitor their work. We help them to produce their works and above all give them an international visibility on social networks, particularly among 190,000 international film professionals.

This year, the famous writer and businessman Paul-Loup Sulitzer has accepted to lead our events as OFF de Cannes festival’s patron. Known for his books Money, Cash, Fortune, The GreenKing,he created a genre calledthe “Financial Western” and sold 70 million books, translated into more than 40 languages. 

AZ in Carlton Cannes – Photo AZ Productions

3. What were your highlights during this festival?

On May 16, we started the festival with a photo shooting in the pool of a beautiful Cannes villa with dressed models swimming in the pool for advertising photos forthe champagne brand I represent.

That same evening, a Masterclass was held in the prestigious Majestic-Barriere Hotel lounge, organized by Alain Zirah and Anne Gomis with the testimonies of Tenzin Kunchap, Tibetan director and author of the book The Rebel Monk, then of Tyrone Bacchus, English director and close friend of Quentin Tarantino, and ofAlexandre Schoedler, writer and author of a book on Alexander the Great. After the presentation of his script and a statement about the differences between a script and a novel, the delighted students were witness to the arrival of actors Alain Chabat and Gérard Darmon, who came to promote the 25th anniversary of their cult film La Cité de la Peur. The students of the Noventis Actors School of Marseille, supervised by their teacher Sabine Evrard, were amazed by the advicesgiven during this Masterclass and will participate next year in Anne Gomis’ Great International Web Contest.

The next day took place our big MAGNIFICENT evening organized by Dragon Lady Productions in a luxurious villa on the heights of Cannes. The OFF de Cannes festival propelled with our British and American partners many new talents high on the screens of Cannes. Fashion designers and models paraded in catwalks around the pool where Aleah Leigh, organizer of the event with Dragon Lady Productions, Olympia andA Gellini, werewaiting for them. Gellini is thefounder of the World Film Institute and president of the jury for the Grand Concours International du Web. Since 2016, Anne Gomis and I have been co-producing with him the Family Film Awards. The next edition will take place on September, 29th in Los Angeles. Steven Nia, President of Wardour Studios Hollywood, participated in the production of the blockbuster Avengers-Endgame and announcedthe winners of the contest with Angelina Leo, for the W1 platform. The Cannes 2019 Designer showcase & film Networking Soirée werevery much appreciated by verymany guests, some of whom considered it one of the most beautiful parties of this festival.

Anne Gomis – PL Sulitzer – Supriya – Raghunath Manet – Alain Zirah – photo AZ Productions

On Saturday May 18, we were gathered around fashion by our partner Bakana on the rooftop of the Radisson Blu hotel. Models in sumptuous dresses and fashion designers followed one another on the red carpet to the great delight of photographers in a happy few groupwhich attendedsuch high-quality performances.

On May 23, the famous writer and businessman Paul Loup Sulitzer headedthe events as sponsor of the OFF de Cannes festival, during this exceptional event which takes place in the “Bar des Célébrités” in Carlton. The jury, completed by French concert pianist Eric Ferrer, Indian dancer, musician and director Raghunath Manet, American actress Judi Beecher (Armaguedon), ambassador Jessica Devillez known as “Bijou” and the famous Tony Stark introducedthemselves before the winners wereannounced. We also payed tribute to three recently deceased friends who will remain key figures at the Cannes Film Festival.

On May 26th, we werein Monaco where the Formula 1 Grand Prix is taking place. We attended itfrom the terrace on the 26th floor of a luxurious apartment in the principality, accompanied by our patronPaul-Loup Sulitzer and his partner Supriya. The most beautiful yachts werevisible in the bay as well as the boats of international billionaires. A lot of emotions duringthis beautiful day.

Alain Zirah presents Serine Kurt and her models – photo Wanda Nicot

4. Who are the winners of the 2019 Great International Web Contest’s OFF de Cannes Grand Prizes?

Serine Kurt (Fashion) for the quality, originality and glamour of the Fashion designer’s creations as well as for her wedding dresses. She came with models wearing her creations.

Fox Eye (Photo) the photographer of the stars, for the quality of her artistic photos but also for her endearing personality, her big heart and her availability.

Steven Neill(Painting) for the quality and great production of his portraits of stars, Indians but also his portraits of women expressingsensuality.

François Darietto(Literature) for his first novel ReZo on the trafficking of narcotics in Marseille and an investigation between local underworld and politicians driven by greedfor success.

Marly Ramos(Poetry) for the singing sounds of the poet from El Salvador’s Portuguese writing.

D-Lishafor the originality of her voice and the quality of her video clip “Sexy Nights” and Marina Delmonde for the accuracy of her interpretations are the two Grand Prix ex-aequo awarded in the Music category.

Alexandre Laugierreceivedthe long-awaited 2019 OFF de Cannes International Cinema Grand Prize for his film “Amour-eux”. This will certainly help him to produce and realize his new science fiction film project in the PACA region.

The OFF de Cannes were the first to highlight bloggers backin 2005 and toreward these artists with texts, photos and videos, cinema, fashion and much more. The 2019 OFF de Cannes Blog Special Grand Prize wasawarded to the sublime Candice Maury for her blog On the cosy carpets of the Carlton, she set out to demonstrate the “pimp up” created by her to dress women’s legs.

Alain Zirah – Serine Kurt & models – Photo Jimmy Turlet

After his show case, at the request of Paul Loup Sulitzer, patronof the event, the Cameroonian singer Prince Kestamg received the 2019 OFF de Cannes Honorary Awards for the originality of his joyful song launched on June 7 as asummer hit. 

5. What are your projects after the Cannes Film Festival?

Since June 7th, we have been contributing to the launch of Prince Kestamg’s Dance Dance Beautiful People, which is set to become one of the summer’s hits. On June 21 and 22, Anne Gomis and myself will be in the Royal Convent of Saint Maximin, a former Dominican convent dating from the 13th century, where the relics of Mary Magdalene are kept, for a weekend dedicated to writing, painting, fashion and, of course, the celebration of music.

In the literary field, I continue to promote my book Forbidden to Menand write an essay about Rock music. Thematically and not chronologically. The greatest rock stars seen through the prism of my encounters. Who are the stars and what influences they have had on my life?  And I also continue the novel from the film Forbidden Visions, which I co-directed with Anne Gomis and the sequel of Kat Ladies, a universe of young masked heroinsin pursuit of a serial killer, between France, India and the United States.

Another major project is the production of a web series around super-heroinsempoweredby ancient goddessesand surfing the girl power wave.

Alain Zirah – Anne Gomis – Manish Boolauck – PL Sulitzer – Alain Banon – Sylvie – Supriya – Annie Kinnen – photo AZ Productions

2020 will be the 15th anniversary of the OFF de Cannes festival and a key year. Anne Gomis and myself have already begun the implementation of a retrospective which could take the form of exhibitions of outstanding photographs of the events during these fifteen years, but also of an encyclopedic book about Cannes Film Festival.

Enough to fully occupy mydays. Yes, I admit it, I’m a very active person. More