#FCADatCannes Part One: The American Pavilion

The following blog post was written by guest blogger Megan Laursen, a RTA Media Production student at Ryerson who went to The Cannes International Film Festival – enjoy!


An Experience of a Lifetime at the 71e Festival de Cannes

When Mark Lindsay of The American Pavilion introduced their Film and Business Program at Ryerson, none of us could have ever known how surreal the experience would be. We knew what they were telling us: we’d be a part of an internship program lead by The American Pavilion, we’d be able to attend screenings at the biggest film festival in the world and we could imagine how amazing it would be. But it never registers until it’s right there in front of you.

the red carpet at Cannes

When you enter The American Pavilion, the first thing that strikes you is just how supportive the community is. The program advisors are experienced filmmakers and professors who are always looking out for the students by providing helpful advice on careers and on how to make the most out of the two weeks in Cannes.  Although The American Pavilion is based in the United States, their inspiring team of advisors included Canadians, too, like wonderful Toronto producer Marina Cordoni. It was amazing to learn more about the American film industry and to come together with other filmmakers at the largest celebration of cinema in the world.

Selfie of Brooke Erica Rose, Marina Cordoni and Megan Laursen

Left to right: Brooke Erica Rose, Marina Cordoni and Megan Laursen

Photo of Brooke Erica Rose, Brianna Cooper and Megan Laursen at The Pavilion

Left to right: Brooke Erica Rose, Brianna Cooper and Megan Laursen

Getting an international perspective on filmmaking helps you to drop all of your doubts and just dream. I would wake up in the morning and head to my videography shift along the French Riviera, grab a complimentary cup of coffee provided by sponsor Coffee Of Grace (Grace Hightower De Niro’s coffee company) and shoot panels featuring Mads Mikkelsen, Joe Penna, Jim Cummings and more, all while surrounded by like-minded filmmakers.

A Variety newspaper and Coffee Of Grace coffee cup

Mornings at The American Pavilion

Oh yeah, and in the evening? I got the opportunity to conceptualize, direct and shoot a commercial about Coffee Of Grace for The American Pavilion.


I made friends from the states and from around the world. Sponsors and filmmakers alike would walk through the beachfront Pavilion every day, including Spike Lee, Pierce Brosnan and other big names in the industry. It was a centre for networking, learning, and if you’ve got a moment to sit during the busy festival, great food made by culinary students.

Joe Penna discussing his film, Arctic at an American Pavilion panel.

Joe Penna discussing his film, Arctic at an American Pavilion panel.

When Mark introduced the program, it was said that you’d walk away with a huge stack of business cards–and it’s completely true!

But, you also walk away with so much more:  great friends and mentors, inspiration, and a part in the #AmPav alumni family.

The funny part is, this was all just the beginning. Stay tuned for part two: Screenings, Rendez-Vous and More.

Featured image source: Amirah Parker for the American Pavilion

All other images belong to Megan Laursen.


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