Cannes Film Festival, Me, Chivas Regal and Robert De Niro – well almost!

The 64th Cannes Film Festival kicked off on the 11th May 2011, maintaining a breathtaking schedule of film premieres, VIP parties and press briefings over the last few days.


Representing Lussorian, I was lucky enough to participate in this year’s activities courtesy of Chivas Regal (official partner of the festival) who conveyed us on a 24 hour whirlwind tour of pleasures on the Cíte d’Azur.

Having never visited Cannes before, I was a little under prepared for the sheer buzz surrounding the Festival. The streets throng with a heady mix of tourists, locals, film executives, press, aspiring actors / actresses and a sprinkling of star dust. Then throw into the mix a Hells Angels gathering and a World War II vintage vehicle procession and you have a flavour of the incongruity of it all.

I was whisked through all of this to the legendary Hotel Martinez located on the Boulevard de la Croisette, with it’s entrance enveloped by hundreds of hopeful star spotters. This luxurious hotel was obviously labouring under the strain of movie stars, body guards and anybody else scrambling for a piece of the action. Apparently Robert de Niro was in the area. Would I get to glad hand Bobby? Sadly not. We narrowly missed our press briefing announcing a link up between Chivas and Film Aid in which the great man was due to make an appearance. Oh well, the legend from Goodfella’s, Raging Bull and President of the Cannes Film Festival jury etc etc slipped through my fingers again… But the important thing here is that Film Aid, a wonderful organisation doing great works all over the world, delivering film entertainment and education to deprived areas, secured a significant donation from Chivas and the support of one of Hollywood’s true greats.

Then began the build up to my red carpet appearance. A brief visit to the Chivas Salon for a very close shave, followed by some Chivas cocktails near the hotel pool. These included various mixes and fruit infusions of Chivas 18 and 25 year old blends, put together by global brand ambassador, Max Warner, and Rich Varga,
California based brand ambassador. Delicious and dangerous in equal measure. Then on to a gastronomic dinner at the Michelin starred La Palme D’Or hosted by Chivas and including Film Aid board members Sharon Swart and lliane Ogilvie Thompson.

Our penultimate destination that evening was to be the Palais des Festivals. A vast temple for the movie masses and an even vaster red carpet leading up to it! As soon as you step out of the car the whole red carpet experience is pretty surreal. With the intense bright lights and camera flashes popping off left right and centre, I was tempted to slip on my shades, but common sense dictated that I would almost certainly look like a complete dick! Anyway, after lingering on the red carpet soaking up the adulation, we were treated to a viewing of Polisse de Maiwenn, a very good, if pretty harrowing account of a child protection unit in Paris.


Our last destination of the evening was a visit to the “Chivas House”, a pop up bar, restaurant and night club, where we were ferried into a VIP area. Here we saw out the early hours of the morning with a glass of self replenishing Chivas punch! Absolutely lethal! Apparently, Owen Wilson stood near or next to me at one point, but I was destined to miss my second celebrity spot of the day… C’est La Vie.

The following day we were hosted at the Chivas House restaurant and plied with an incredibly refreshing Chivas cocktail, infused with lemons or mint I believe. Either way it helped gently lift me from my mid morning stupor. Then onto Chivas laced Gazpacho, fabulous scallops and finally a perfectly cooked sea bass. The pinnacle of lunch was a revelatory tasting of the Chivas 25 year old, paired with an ingenious pipe like device that delivered layers of fruit emulsion, silky buttersctoch and chocolate, to bring out the relevant notes in the whisky.


The crowning glory of our visit was intended to be a spectacular helicopter ride over the Cite d’Azur to Nice airport. Unfortunately, inclement weather put that to bed, but it failed to dampen what was an extraordinary glimpse into the rarefied bubble that is the Cannes Film Festival.

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