'Cannes-do' Irish go networking

Over 200 Irish filmmakers, screen writers and producers hit the ground running at the Cannes film festival this weekend.

No time to ask Angelina Jolie how the house hunting is going or when the twins are due, it is all about sell, sell, sell.

Not for them the yacht parties, the excitement of the red carpet events, or photo shoots with film jury president Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, Dustin Hoffman, desperate housewife Eva Longoria or Julianne Moore.

"We'll be working hard trying to bring in the buyers," says Rick Larkin who is in town with actress Amy Huberman and their low budget gem Satellites and Meteorites shot in Dublin last July. Lots of networking is done in the Irish Pavillion where Marcus Quinn from Connemara runs the best bar in town.

Victoria Smurfit and husband Doug partied on board the Pegasus yacht at the Quintessentially party for Africa Aid hosted by young Italian designer Marguerite Missoni.

"I'd forgotten about the festival, said Victoria. "We're on holiday. But when we boarded the Aer Lingus flight in Dublin and saw all these industry people, it was like being on the school bus" she laughs. "This is my next project" added the Trial and Retribution star patting her neat bump, the baby is due in November.

Only a beauty like Marguerite Missoni (25) could wear her grandmother's silk flowered nightgown to a party. "It is original 1950s" she said revealing the lace top covered by a gold bead encrusted vest.

She has designed a 600 dollar gold and diamante bracelet with green silk thread band to raise funds for her charity.

"We need ongoing funds for our projects so every three months we'll have a new design with an African theme, something that's cool to wear and supports African Aid."

Although he left Kerry for New York 16 years ago, Oscar celebrity stylist and dresser Edward O'Sullivan hasn't lost his Castleisland accent. His sister Mary Owens is the set designer for Sex and the City.

Good pedicures are essential for yacht parties, as no shoes are allowed on the scrubbed deck. And it was a chance to see Mick Jagger's delightful tootsies as he bopped on board the Oasis at the Madonna party. Guests included Indiana Jones star, cigar smoking Harrison Ford, his partner Calista Flockhart, and birthday boy Dennis Hopper.

There was no sign of Madonna's first hubby Sean Penn, but they are staying in the same hotel. Madonna has a film project and will be on the red carpet this week with her best pal Gwyneth Paltrow.

Also in Cannes is film maker Jim Sheridan, producer/director Tom Collins promoting Kings starring Colm Meaney, and Miriam Allen MD of the Galway Film Fleadh is doing the rounds short listing her invitations to the prestigious annual event in the west of Ireland.

Meanwhile, on the red carpet, Julianne Moore wore lemon from Paris designer Christian la Croix, Cate Blanchett looked amazing in peach Versace, and Faye Dunaway wore a Dior two-piece in pearl pink. The carpet is replaced every day to protect the hemlines of the borrowed frocks.

There were lots of girly screams for Brad Pitt who was sporting a designer beard. Radiantly pregnant, in flowing green, Angelina rested her hand on her bump and posed with a panda. She does a voice over on the animation feature Kung Fu Panda and also stars in Clint Eastwood's film Changeling, wearing the most beautiful Oscar contender 1920s outfits.

The only Irish film in competition at Cannes is Steve Mc Queen's Hunger based on the final months of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, which has received mixed reviews.

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