Film Scouts on the Riviera 2000

2000 Cannes Film Festival Diaries
Cannes Libre

by Richard Schwartz

Film Scouts on the Riviera 2000 is presented by:

CANNES, May 13, 2000 - Over the past few years, major stars have staged some dramatic entrances into the Cannes harbor in the name of self-promotion. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sly Stallone, James Bond, Hugh Hefner and Howard Stern all come to mind as celebrities who've arrived to greet waiting paparazzi via boat, yacht or even wave runner.

Well, don't be surprised if another harbor visitor comes floating up to shore this year on a small inner tube. Elian Gonzales.

Sound crazy? Don't put it past Menachem Golan.

Golan, after all, is the Israeli-born producer who, with his Canon Films co-founder Yoram Globus, staged some wacky events in the early '80s to establish Cannes as the promotional mecca it is today.

It might be difficult to believe, but the focus of Cannes was once a film festival. Of course, that was before the market exploded and stars began appearing in town to promote projects that hadn't been released or, in some cases, hadn't even begun principal photography. And it was Golan who set that change in motion.

After a few years on hiatus in the latter part of the '90s, Golan is back in Cannes to launch FilmWorld, his new production outfit. And to kick off a five-picture slate, Golan has chosen a film he knew would attract attention. He's calling it "Elian."

The movie will mirror the dramatic real-life events of the Cuban refugee left alone at sea and the subsequent custody battle. Timothy White's screenplay is being updated as events progress and will be held until the boy's ultimate fate is decided by the courts. That could drag on for awhile, as many pundits have noted. But Menachem Golan must know something they don't. He guarantees that "Elian" will be ready for September delivery.

Of course, there's a real question whether this movie will ever get made. Probably not. But right now Elian is the early talk of the festival. The trade ad has been displayed on, among other items, souvenir T-shirts. And the name Menachem Golan is back on people's lips.

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