#FCADatCannes Part Three: Lessons from #AmPav

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 the third and final blog post in the series!


Nobody is ever as inaccessible as you think, so start reaching out instead of holding back.

At The American Pavilion, an awesome supervisor told us a story:

A professor gave his class a challenge to reach out to an A-lister. The person who got the furthest in communication would win a vacation. When the students came back for the deadline, it turned out that no one had had the courage to start. But here’s the catch: if one student had just sent one email, they would have won.

You will miss every chance you don’t take. In Cannes, you learn how open the film community is to encouraging the next generation of filmmakers. We’re all human, and the majority of those you feel are too high up to talk to are willing to share their experiences with you. After all, they were in your shoes once.

Paul Dano in front of a crowd

Paul Dano discusses his film Wildlife at The American Pavilion


Dream it and do it!

Being an emerging filmmaker can be daunting, and that’s something every film student knows too well. Your school equips you with amazing skill sets and connections, but it’s always scary knowing how difficult it is to break into the industry.

But when you see these screenings, when you hear these acclaimed filmmakers speak, when you test your videography skills at The American Pavilion like I did, you see your future. Cannes immediately drives you to dream, and work harder to have your film in that competition someday. Understanding that the elites of the filmmaking world are people, too, gives you hope that you can be sitting in that chair if you work towards it.

Keep creating, keep doing, and you will get there.

The red carpet at Cannes


Always remember that change is possible.

During the festival, 82 female leaders of the film industry stood on the red carpet to encourage change for the amount of female-directed films being showcased in Cannes. They represented the total of 82 female directors who have walked the red carpet in contrast to the 1688 male directors since 1946.

Following the #MeToo movement, the festival opened a sexual harassment phone line.

The Cannes jury, lead by Cate Blanchett, was mostly female and included three POC, two of which are female.

This shows us that although we still have a long way to go in our industry, steps are being taken to steer the system towards inclusivity and equality. We can be a part of that change as we follow in the footsteps of those who lead these movements before us.

82 female directors on the Cannes Red Carpet

Credit: NBC News


Last but not least, remember to have fun.

As a filmmaker, it’s so easy to get caught up in all the technicalities of your work and forget that childlike curiosity that got you into the field. But enjoying a wide array of films and stories from around the world, seeing all the after-parties and being a part of the red carpet experience reminds us why we’re all here:

To speak our truth, to own our voices, to be curious and explore the world through our own lens. Because we love what we do, and we love supporting one another. We love connecting with our art.

And that’s something worth celebrating.

Megan Laursen and friends raising their drinks in the air to cheers

Thank you so much to Ryerson’s Career Centre, The American Pavilion, the faculty at RTA Media Production and Dean of FCAD Charles Falzon for all of your support and for teaching your students valuable lessons that will last a lifetime.

All images belong to Megan Laursen unless stated otherwise.

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