Fest lunches on biz

IFC, IFG, CAA, AFI help spell 'party'

CANNES The fest’s biggest, starriest blowouts — including the post-preem parties for “Shrek 2” and “Kill Bill Vol. 2” and the IFC 10th anni fete — may get the lion’s share of the buzz in Cannes, but there’s a whole world of more intimate lunches, receptions and soirees where business cards are exchanged, trans-Atlantic connections are rekindled and Hollywood aspirants get to mingle with those who actually run the pic biz.

Take Intl. Film Guarantors’ annual lunch at the Hotel Du Cap’s Eden Roc — a who’s who of entertainment funders. As one observer noted: “If this terrace fell into the sea right now, film finance as we know it would be over. There’d still be money, but very few people who would know what to do with it.”

Some of those financiers, including entrepreneurs Bob Yari and Jim Stern, also showed up for CAA’s beachside party at Variety Village, where Richard Lovett and John Ptak hosted guests such as tennis star Serena Williams, helmer Brett Ratner and U.S. prexy candidate John Kerry‘s daughter, Alexandra.

Film festivals see Cannes as a scouting opportunity as well as a promo one. AFI, Bangkok, Dubai, Gothenberg, London and the Hamptons all had lively mixers, as did companies such as IFC and Svensk Filmindustri, which celebrated its 85th anni.

Singer Alicia Keys presided over a yacht party, while Pierre Cardin hosted a party that celebrated Salvador Dali’s 100th birthday.

There were some cutbacks: Spain’s San Sebastian Film Festival canceled its traditional beachside bash, while Spain’s biggest production entity, Julio Fernandez‘s Filmax, whittled its guest list down to 600 for its May 15 soiree. Latter still was one of the fest’s most elegant spreads: Highlights included a live Catalan rumba band, which drew everybody to the dance floor.

The Spanish sure know how to fiesta.

(John Hopewell contributed to this report.)