7 Ways Cannes Has Changed: Fest Vet Gordon Steel Remembers

Steel first came as a buyer's rep in 1982

Gordon Steele

Gordon Steel first came to Cannes as a buyer’s rep for Germany’s Scotia Films in 1982 and has been back almost every year since. With clients including Portugal’s Zon Lusomundo, Ster-Kinekor in Africa and M Pictures in Asia, Steel looked back on 30 years of Cannes to tell Variety what has changed, and what has stayed the same.

1. The only way to contact anyone was by calling hotel rooms at 8:30 am or 7:30 pm and hoping this would not be a wake up.
2. Stores had original fashion creations. Now it all seems to be the same worldwide.
3. Smart phones and iPhones mean you don’t need to learn French anymore.
4. Some of the best restaurants still only accept cash, but fewer than in the past.
5. Getting into parties is still the priority. I never understand how girls that seem to have nothing to do with the film business not only get into every single event, but seem to spend more time talking to the important people than anyone else.
Parties used to be full of good looking girls surrounding Japanese men. Now the minimum number of beautiful girls is five, all of whom are at least six feet tall and wear six-inch high heels while surrounding one five-foot middle aged Russian. The whole group is also surrounded by at least ten 300-pound young male gorilla body guards.
6. A Rolls Royce used to get attention. Now a 3m Euro Bugatti barely gets a glance.
7. The position and power of women has dramatically increased and is now totally different worldwide on a power dealmaking basis.

The future: When I first met people at Cannes, I would talk to them politely while trying to figure out who they were. By next year, I’ll have Google glasses that can Facebook stalk while I chat.