Last night I just came back from my first ever sporting match here in South Africa: Brazil versus Bafana Bafana. What a great night, incredible atmosphere and such pride for our boys who did us proud even though they lost 1-0. But then the Tweets and Facebook status updates started coming through…Michael Jackson was taken to hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest.
As soon as I got home, I switched onto CNN. They were going with him being taken to hospital. But Sky and BBC were saying reports from celeb news site, TMZ, said he was dead.
Could it be true?
Then CNN said he was in a coma – for a brief moment, I thought there might still be hope…
Thriller was released in 1982 – the year I was born. My mother gave me the song as part of a CD compilation for my 21st birthday. He was a part of my music DNA. A younger colleague of mine updated her status saying, “So Michael Jackson died, what’s the big hoo-haa?” Despite all the controversy we’ll never know what truly went on in that child-adult mind of his. Perhaps she doesn’t get it, but I hope many others do.
RIP Michael Jackson: 1958-2009
So it’s been a few days since I was bathing in a sea of celebrities.I have literally gone, in the space of a few short days, from Cannes to Sebokeng to Auckland Park. That’s one of the best parts of my job. I get to see so many places in the world – and indeed South Africa – which is what I want to do.
The boys from Brothers&Sisters popped in for a visit the other day – and caused such a stir among the ladies in the office. Luke McFarlane and Dave Annable say the new season of the show, which airs in August, is filled with more even more family drama. Wouldn’t expect anything else!
The trial of the former matron at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls has been postponed again. It’s so strange, sitting in that empty white room, to think that such a big story takes place in such small surroundings. Virginia “Tiny” Makopo looks very much like a school girl herself, with her braids and small stature. She’s been accused of 13 counts of abuse, including one claim that she rubbed custard in the girls’ hair. The case starts up again at the Sebokeng Magistrates Court at the end of August.
The Auckland Park trip came about because of the protest march by a whole lot of actors, directors, writers and producers to the SABC HQ. I had never walked from Milpark along Kingsway Avenue to Auckland Park before so that was a new experience! Gotta love having the unions there – no-one knows how to protest like they do! Letha imali yami!
And that’s it folks. Another Cannes Film Festival done and dusted for another year. In spite of all the global financial woes, it was still an eventful festival, with many a deal signed and many a connection made.
A big thank you to Amarula who helped send me to cover the world’s biggest and most popular film festival. It really doesn’t get any better than this when it comes to movie-making and filmstars. Highlights for me this year include:
* Seeing the strides South Africans are making in terms of getting their film projects and ideas out there into the world. I am particularly looking forward to seeing our own animated feature on the big screen, as well as the ‘Spud’ movie.
* Sharing a laugh with Robert Pattinson: This guy is such a cutie, but he really doesn’t have it all that easy. Wherever he went large crowds of girls followed and screamed their hearts out for him. Speaking to him, I found him to be a really down-to-earth guy who just likes having fun and playing music.
* Bumping (literally) into Joshua Jackson – aka Pacey from ‘Dawson’s Creek’ – he was wondering around the Carlton hotel where his girlfriend Diane Kruger was giving interviews for ‘Inglourious Basterds.’
* Being among the first to see Quentin Tarantino’s newest film, ‘Inglourious Basterds’ and witnessing firsthand the passion he has for making films.
* Feeling the magic that descends upon Cannes this time every year – there really is a certain je ne sais quoi in the air. A floral smell envelopes the Palais de Festival which is the hub of it all, and there is an excitement that fills it too. Don’t get me wrong, it can be crazy dashing from one place to another and trying to hold your own when 3 999 other journalists are trying to get the same story as you, but it’s worth it in the end.
Last night I made one last walk down the red carpet for the closing ceremony and last film screening. The jury, headed by French actress Isabelle Huppert, came out one by one and sat on stage. They handed out a number of prizes, including best male and female performance, which went to Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) and Charlotte Gainsbourgh (Antichrist) respectively. I was incredibly happy that Christoph was recognized for his role in Tarantino’s film because he has been the talk of the town as the show-stealer of the film. You have to see see him when the film releases later in the year.
Neither Inglourious Basterds nor Antichrist picked up the festival’s biggest prize, the Palme d’Or. That went to Austrian director Michael Haneke’s pre-Nazi drama called The White Ribbon. I unfortunately didn’t see that one. That’s the problem – it may be a film festival, but you are so busy running around that you don’t necessarily get to see many films.
Christoph Waltz wins Best Performance by an Actor
I went to the closing party which was held by Audi and featured a DJ set by Will.i.Am of the Black Eyed Peas. Apparently Kylie Minogue played at the club, called VIP Room, on Friday. Will is one talented guy – not only does he perform musically, he can also act. His role in Gavin Hood’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine was fantastic.
Over the course of the weekend the people that I had come to know here in Cannes made their way back to their home countries – Croatia, Germany, the UK, the US and Sweden – and others just headed back to Paris. To end, I think another classic Cannes image is required…
Crowds mobbing Robert Pattinson
Only kidding – this is the true classic image: Cannes, you beauty!
What a night! I went to the annual amfAR charity event where they raise money for Aids research. When I say ‘they’, I mean Sharon Stone and her celebrity buddies. But for one moment, just forget the celebs and take a look at this view:
And that doesn’t even do it justice. I feel incredibly lucky to call this the office for my job last night. Hotel Du Cap where the black-tie dinner and auction took place is one of the most exclusive spots in this part of the world. The celebs head out there when they want to stay away from prying eyes. But last night it was the venue for the annual amfAR charity event – hosted by Sharon Stone, to raise funds to HIV/Aids research. The special guest last night was former US pres Bill Clinton but he didn’t walk the red carpet – which was actually black. I think it’s because his security must have been really tight.
However, these stars and more did walk the walk…
Hayden Pannettiere and David Furnish
Diane Kruger avec Joshua Jackson
Dita von Teese
50 Cent: smooth
Local gal Charlene Wittstock – who walked away even while I was calling her saying I was from SA, not cool.
I could not believe the shouts and screams that came from the paparazzi to get the celebs to pose in certain ways. These celebs must learn pretty quickly to drown it out because it can get very scary – each one shouting at you to look in his or her direction (yes, the female photographers can be just as rough!)
Oh, and must mention what a sweetie Mike Myers is. With radio it’s usually quite a tough job to get any of the people walking by to talk to you because they mostly go to TV and then straight to the photographers. But as I was trying to lean over while Mike was doing a TV interview so I could get some sound, he grabbed my mic and put it right up to his face so I could get him loud and clear. Finally, a celeb who actually helps me do my job – haha!
I have been really impressed with the South African films that are being shopped around here. ‘And There in the Dust’ is a short stop-frame animated film looking to become a feature. It’s based on the play ‘Tshepang’, which deals with the unspeakable act of child abuse. The director and producer are here in Cannes because the French Institute of the French Embassy saw the potential and selected the film to take part in Cinema Du Monde, which is the World Cinema section at the International Village. There’s also two more traditional animated films in the pipeline that look splendid. One even features the voice of Freshlyground’s Zolani Mahola. It seems comedian/actor Joey Rasdien has also been mingling with the right people here in Cannes; so much so that he wants to be walking the red carpet next year for a film he’s in…
Joey Rasdien contemplates his next move, with some Amarula by his side.
Today, after an interview with the passionate Quentin Tarantino, I met Damien Rice, my favourite singer. He did the soundtrack to the movie ‘Closer’, among other things, and is dating French actress Melanie Laurent who is in Tarantino’s movie. Now you must understand something: we all have that person in life we are just dying to meet. He is my person. And so, my knees were shaking and my feet could hardly walk on over to him, that’s how nervous I was! Damien told me he doesn’t like taking photos because the music doesn’t really come from him so he likes to remain low-key. Or something along those lines. He did give me a hug though and I told him he should come perform in SA for his fans there. At least he knows he has one crazy one there, haha!
Straight after that I bumped into Joshua Jackson – who is just ten times more gorgeous in real life. Something tells me I may suffer from withdrawals when I am back home and not bumping into stars all over the place…
Oh, and for more of my Cannes stories filed for Eyewitness News, click here.