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Milia Report 1 March 9, 2009

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Letters from Kris Malden at MILIA

 

Wednesday, February 12th, quatri?me journ?e

That’s all. Today’s the last of it. Everything ends officially at noon, and I’m off to Paris and then home. Lucky for me the Air France strike is over, or I might have gotten stuck here. On second thought that might not be such a bad idea after all.

It’s unfortunate, but I’ve spent most of the daylight hours in front of computer screens instead of the sea. I’ve had enough of the virtual life for now. In fact, instead of attending the final address and closing ceremonies, I think I’ll climb the hill up to Le Suquet, the old section of Cannes, to see a 12th century church. See you next year.

Ciao!

Tuesday, February 11, troisi?me journ?e

The Pavilion des Jeunes Cr?ateurs (New Talent Pavillion) made my day yesterday. The projects were refreshing and most impressive, all the more since they were installed just across the way from terrifically well-endowed corporate projects. A journalist from Le Monde and I are taking the same path at the same speed through the young creatures’ projects. I’ll need to go back today to see more, much to see in tr?s peu de temps.

Still can’t get used to the idea of all the smokers. Indoors, outdoors, at home and the office, even here at the festival, where almost every floor is carpeted, ashtrays abound. We Americans are not accustomed to such things but have adjusted all too easily.

Monday, February 10th, deuxi?me journ?e du festival

OK. I’m ready for my first day of the marvels of MILIA. Had a few minor setbacks yesterday. My registration went smoothly enough. I, and every other MILIA participant, got a fashionable MILIA shoulder bag chock full of schedules, press releases, and telephone numbers. I also got a real, live mailbox quite literally stuffed with even more paperwork – a terrific idea, actually, as festival participants can theoretically contact one another in the non-virtual world as well.

I spent the first hour after registration getting acquainted with the enormous but rather well-organized floor plan. The name of the company, along with the country of origin is marked above the booths. Some time during this getting-to-know-you period, my festival ID mysteriously disappeared. Of course, everything had gone too smoothly before that. I returned to the registration booth and explained that, yes, it was, in fact, true that I had lost my ID within an hour and that yes, I would be more careful this time and keep it zipped safely in my bag away from the bustling crowds.

Today, I come armed with my ID, important papers, conference schedule, floor plan, breakdown of the companies I intend to visit, and I’m ready. First stop Philips. I was actually most interested in the learning about their research and visions for the future, but this proved to be a difficult topic of discussion, as most of the Philips representatives were more expert in the gaming arena.

In any case, the DVD demo comes highly recommended, so I make a reservation for the demo at the Majestic, one of the most haut of the haut hotels. Those folks at Philips sure do know how to put on a good show. The DVD and the DVD-ROM look exactly like the CDs we’ve come to love but, with room for about 9000 megabytes of data, surpasses the CD storage capacity (650 megabytes) we’ve come to hate.

OK, off I go. Having missed one of the festival’s first soir?es, I plan to dedicate the rest of the day to the New Talent Pavilion.

Premi?re journ?e du festival, February 9th:

Not quite sure what to expect, I was thrilled and, honestly, a bit terrified, to see such a crowd of people waiting at the airport terminal in Paris for flights to Nice. Even those with reservations were being turned away from mercilessly overbooked flights. “C’est pas possible!” I said to myself. “Milia is the hit of all Europe, if not the world, and I’m going.” It wasn’t until a few hours later when a Parisian woman, whose husband was also on his way to the conference, explained to me that that the crowds were not, in fact, due to Milia but rather to the “vacanes scolaires.” Oh well.

But now that I’m here in mythical Cannes, I can actually say with a certain degree of authority that at least some of the people in that crowd were headed for Milia. The city is full of notebook-toting computer types in the habit of wearing their full festival accreditation even outside the festival tents.

For now, though, I’m just beginning to deal with the practicalities: my hotel, a toothbrush, my Milia pass, and, right now, a sandwich of some kind. In a cruel but wholly predictable turn of events, the email terminals are not working properly, and I must defer to the line of people waiting to use my well-behaved computer at the Milia cybercafe.

(And writing the paragraphs above took longer than you may think, as the French keyboard is harder to decipher than the proverbial Greek.)

A plus tard,

Kris

For an update, check http://www.milia.com/live/index.html. At several points during the day, I’m told, there’s a simultaneous webcast of the day’s events.

Kris Malden is completing a graduate degree at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. She is also a contributing editor at indelibleNews!

MILIA, now in its third year, is the major international show for multimedia.

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