Cannes: Fortissimo’s Werner Finds the Best Food on the Croisette

Hong Kong-based Michael J. Werner runs Amsterdam/HK sales and distribution company Fortissimo Films, which was founded in 1991. The company is in Cannes with its Directors’ Fortnight entry “Songs My Brothers Taught Me,” the debut feature by New York-based director Chloe Zhao; and Fortissimo will be showing footage from its documentary “Kampai! For the Love Of Sake.” The company has a long association with food and culinary feature documentaries and narrative films, including “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” “Food Inc.,” “Super Size Me,” “Foodies” and “Sergio Herman, F**king Perfect,” which is showing in the Cannes Marche. Werner also expects to announce one other new high-profile food film in Cannes. PATRICK FRATER

Recommended Restaurants

Fine dining: L’Affable. It has consistently great food, service, atmosphere and all for a surprisingly reasonable price.

Chinese: Le Jardin de Bambou, always packed, a great place to network with filmmakers and distributors from Asia.

Casual: Nothing beats La Pizza. I like to begin and end every Cannes with a meal there.

Popular on Variety

Oysters: Astoux et Brun — the freshest and tastiest. A real must-have.

Middle Eastern: Al Charq for Lebanese, and L’Armenien as a great place to bring a group for a wonderful and food-filled Armenian culinary experience.

Restaurant notes

Over the many years of attending Cannes, the offices I worked out of shifted from the Martinez to the Grand Hotel; now, Fortissimo is in front of the Palais. The restaurants I frequented also shifted, to be within a relatively similar circle of walking distance from where we were based. Of course we still go out of Cannes for special meals but otherwise, it’s now pretty much a circle between the Old Port and the back of the Grand Hotel. At the same time, our office has a terrace and we have a part-time cook to help us during Cannes; sometimes we just invite people in for a home-cooked lunch or dinner.

Cannes 2015 schedule
I’ll be in Cannes from May 10-24 — full time. Every day we have a company meeting from 8-9 a.m. to recap and strategize. As always we are focusing on sales and acquisitions but we are also meeting with financiers and companies looking to work with us from and in China and Asia, where we have a strong presence and history.

Cannes parties and events are great for networking and catching up with friends but one can only do so many. We get invited to quite a few events and parties and every morning at our 8 a.m. meeting, we discuss who will attend which parties. We have a few young executives who seemingly can stay out very late and still make that 8 a.m. meeting. I think I remember that I used to be able to do that too. More power to them.

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