CANNES, France (AP) — “Matt! Matt! Look over here, over your shoulder, Matt Damon!” The moment he turned with a big smile on his face, we made direct eye contact as chills ran down my spine. Bam! I captured it.
As an Atlanta-based photographer who’s covered major sports, breaking news, national politics throughout the United States, I thought all my previous experience would have prepared me for the Cannes Film Festival. But I was wrong.
This assignment was completely different. It’s completely opposite of what I normally do, screaming and shouting people’s names to look at me, is strange. My piercing high pitched voice breaks through the crowd of deeper voices and for only a second a celebrity looks at me.
Communication with the locals can be difficult because I don’t speak the language, but gestures of where to stand, where to look and where to pay, get me through. Learning a few new phrase — “Un regard par ici” (look over here), “par dessus l’épaule” (over your shoulder), “retournez vous” (turn around) — have been helpful with getting talent’s attention on the red carpet.
When I arrived in Cannes, Spike Lee’s eyes followed me wherever I would go, from a gigantic poster above the red carpet, in shop windows, bakeries, on postcards, flyers and in advertising all around town. The film festival has taken over Cannes.