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Julie Sisk / American Pavilion Founder

May 09, 1999|STEVE HOCHMAN

An American in Cannes? There will be lots for the famed film festival that starts on Wednesday. And most, from movie stars to executives to journalists to mere hangers-on, count on Julie Sisk, 43, the founder and operator of the American Pavilion. The corporate-sponsored home-away-from-home with American food, news and the NBA playoffs live on TV is now in its 12th year.

YADA YADA: "Last year we had the final 'Seinfeld' episode on. I was surprised, I thought people would tape it and watch it when they got home. I miscalculated the desire for the collective experience, and at 2 in the morning it was jampacked. We put cereal boxes on the tables, had a 'Seinfeld' trivia contest."

RED, WHITE, BLUE EYES: "The other strange thing last year was Frank Sinatra died while we were there, and journalists were pursuing me relentlessly to make a statement. How odd to be in that situation representing your country. But when people [in Cannes] want to know what's going on in the States, they seem to come to us."

MOVIE TUNES: "We're going to do a big concert this year in the pavilion. I saw what BMG did at Sundance with its music cafe. [Singer] Lisa Stansfield is performing. She has a film coming out called 'Swing' that is going to be sold at the market. Nice to have something a little different."

THEY SHOW MOVIES?: "Almost never get to see any of the films at the festival. I saw just one last year, a film called 'Shoe,' a Latvian film that was excellent. A friend of mine was involved in it. When I do get to a film, I tend to fall asleep. I'm on my feet all day and am just so happy to be sitting down."

SCHOOL DAYS: "Kodak has a work-study program with 125 film students at the festival. They work six hours a day either at the American Pavilion or with other companies. One of our students from the past, Lisanne Skyler, had a film at Sundance this year, 'Getting to Know You.' It was very nice."

HOT HANGOUT: "The Petit Carlton, a tiny, tiny dive bar on the back street behind the Carlton Hotel, is just a heaving throng of people outside, late at night. The hotel bars are also popular. But the celebrities stay half an hour out of town at the Hotel du Cap in Antibes."

SHAGADELIC: "The 'Austin Powers' party New Line is throwing at the Palm Beach casino on the other end of town should be huge. The movie's not being screened in the festival, but the party will definitely be very popular."

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