IT'S the playground of the rich and famous where movie careers can be made beneath the heat of the Mediterranean sun.
But there was a new name on the scene at this year's Cannes Film Festival with a background far removed from the bright lights of the French Riviera.
Handsworth director M.A Double's real life story is itself worthy of a film script.
His gangster-themed production, Ready 4 Whatever, was shot after he claimed to have spent 16 months on bail awaiting trial for importing Pounds 160,000-worth of cocaine.
He said he could have been jailed for ten years had he not been cleared after a five-day trial.
Then, just before filming began on the streets of Handsworth, M.A said lead actor Remaine Dixon was stabbed. He needed two operations before arriving on set.
Determined to get his movie noticed, he flew to Cannes and managed to have it screened out of competition in the short film corner.
To prove he'd been, M.A - real name Matthew Walters - posted a ten-minute film of himself flying over the city in a light aircraft on YouTube.
He revealed his brother was in jail but would not say where he lived, how old he was or which school he was expelled from at the age of 16.
But M.A insisted film-making was his way of changing his life - and providing an inspiration to youngsters tempted by a life of crime.
"When I went to my trial in Leamington Spa in front of an all- white jury, on the fifth day I could have bought a single ticket or a return," he said.
"I bought a return because I had faith and knew I was innocent.
"I want to be a mentor because I know you have to exist in the real world and participate in a regular society.
"Once I was cleared, I thought my motto would be '100mph' and that I was going to hit the ground running as a film director.
"My strength will be writing and working with actors."
M.A, who plans to release Ready 4 Whatever online, said he now believed in fate.
"Everything just follows its own sequence," he said.
"You can't knock it. It's going to go that way whether you like it or not."
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