It was a spectacularly synchronized event that began at 6:30 pm under sunny skies in Cannes. A strong sea breeze buffeted the Croisette, but hardly rocked the mega yachts moored alongside the festival hall.
Flashes from the phalanx of photographers illuminated the red carpet and climb to the gates of cinematic heaven. Heaven could wait; champagne appeared on the terrace of the Palais des Festivals, overlooking the yacht harbor.
On to the main event: the presentation of the first annual Pierre Angénieux ExcelLens Award. Cannes Festival President Gilles Jacob, General Delegate Thierry Fremaux, and Angenieux President and CEO Pierre Andurand welcomed 400 guests in the theater. More than 50 staff of Angenieux arrived from the factory in Saint-Héand.
Carmen Chaplin, Victoria Abril, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jean-Marc Barr, and John Boorman took the stage to talk about having worked with the award winner, Philippe Rousselot, ASC, AFC.
The award itself was unique. Not the usual statue. Pierre Andurand presented a totally-surprised Philippe Rousselot with a new Optimo 28-76 mm T2.8 zoom lens in a beautiful wood trophy case.