Deal Making On The High Seas

Luxury Yachts and boats at Cannes film festival CBS/AP

If the maxim "don't mix business with pleasure" rings hollow anywhere, it's Cannes.

With mobile phone in one hand and champagne glass in the other, every wheeler-dealer makes sure big bucks business and hard-core partying go hand-in-hand at the world's most famous film bonanza.

True deal spinners do business down at the yacht harbor, where super-slick boats compete for size.

"There's plenty of serious entertainment, but there's a lot of serious business going on, too," Guy Russell, a London-based executive with Matrix Film Finance, said as he stood on the deck of a luxury ocean-going cruiser.

"Every day, we'll have a lunch, some cocktails in the evening, and then a couple of parties at night, but all the while we're thinking business," he said in a hoarse voice, evidently still groggy from the night before.

All along the harbor side at Cannes are monster yachts chartered by producers, distributors, financiers and any others who want a tie-in to the movie industry.

Registered in the likes of Cape Town, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, the yacht is the business accessory par excellence at Cannes, not to mention a great place to have a party.

"There's no more beautiful place to do business than Cannes, and if you're here you might as well do it on a yacht," Cindy Rakowitz, head of RaknRoll entertainment, said as she lay on a 150-foot gin palace called "Perfect Persuasion."

"We'll hold 11 parties in as many days on here and it will cost us a fair amount, but it's an investment, like in any business."

While the biggest yachts -- complete with jacuzzis, multi-gyms, speedboats and a deck with space for hundreds -- can cost upwards of $300,000 for two weeks, others go for a more modest $50,000 a week.

Of course, some don't even have to think about renting.

Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen is in town with his hulking white floating palace "Charade." That's the setting for Giorgio Armani's star-studded party for Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz..

And it's not just Hollywood millions or technology billions that buy a place on the coveted harbor -- adult entertainment is a growing business with a big presence at Cannes.

High-class pornographic film company Private has at least one super-yacht - "El Harem" - moored along the dock.

Written By Luke Baker
  • Mary-Jayne McKay


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