Sunday, August 16, 2009

Indie Gathering Day Two

My empty-ass screening room.

I’m up super early today for no other reason than my flight is super early tomorrow and if I want to have any hope of catching some Z’s before take-off, I need to be tired tonight.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this particular event is that it’s mainly a martial arts convention and tournament that happens to have a film competition, but the film part is secondary. It’s also like a huge audition for martial artists. I mainly attended films yesterday, you if it was a film festival. Often, I was the only person in the screening room with the exception of the projectionist and a couple of people who floated in and out. I never met a filmmaker after their film, though some of them were here. I met three guys here for their flick and instead of sending even one into the screening room, they sat at their table in the convention room to chat with each other and sell their movie.

During my film, it was just the projectionist and I and one guy who came in with ten minutes to go until the end. The projectionist really liked it. Really, really liked it. The guy who came in during the last ten minutes said he liked what he saw so I gave him a copy of the flick and told him to enjoy it. I also gave the projectionist a copy of the flick and my card. So it’s good to know that people who see it really like it...but they have to SEE IT in order to like’s gotta get past the selection stage and into the screening stage. Like a colleague once said, the selection process is so bloody random; one viewer might say it’s a must have and another viewer might say it totally stinks.

I toured the convention a little, bought a couple of movies from filmmakers. I haven’t watched them yet and for all I know, they’re poo. I don’t know, I was feeling supportive, I suppose.

Anyway, here’s a rundown of what I saw...

No One Island: Actually, I was on time to see A Jersey Christmas, but they’d started screening films and not telling people who were waiting in the hall that they were starting the movies so they had to restart one and lost it from there. I missed the first ten or fifteen minutes or so and was lost. It doesn’t help that the rest of the flick was vague and performed like a missing episode of Twin Peaks, but not in a good way.

A Jersey Christmas: This was about a group of people who don’t celebrate Christmas working at a Christmas store on Christmas Eve for a guy who can’t control his gambling habit and owes at least one organization $45,000. It was cute, but not laugh out loud funny so I was disappointed. They had a lot of potential for touching hilarity and it was squandered.

Hanging by a Thread: This was about a married couple whose therapist has them filmed by a reality television crew to sort out their problems. Pretty good. Well written and to the point.

Becoming Roman: This is about a left hand who wants to become a right hand and then aspires to be the person to which the hands belong. It was like a bad version of Clive Barker’s “Body Politic.”

Stuck: A man and a woman are stuck in an elevator. Short and to the point, it was okay.

White Radishes: This was about an obsessive compulsive man who helps a young woman who was trapped in her house by her mother. To go further than that would be to spoil it. It was really weird, though not in a way that makes me happy, but it was definitely original.

A Hammer Fell in Jerusalem: Anathema: I loved it, but that’s not really news. I still love everything about it, though I’m at the point now where I’m picking at the flaws, but I don’t want to change anything. I love this flick, what can I tell you? And even though no one showed up, I know people have picked up a few of the posters and postcards so at least they’ll look it up. Or use them as notepaper, but I prefer the other idea. ;D

Life, Passion, Death: I tried like hell to stick this one out, it was the film that came on after mine and I had nothing else I wanted to see for three hours, but I just couldn’t do it. It was about a Spanish woman who falls in love with an American man while she’s on vacation in New York and just thinking about it makes me want to fall asleep. I’m sorry to the lady who spent so much time on it, but I had to leave.

At this point, I left the festival / convention to get dinner and came back to watch some of the World Stunt Association’s demo / training thing. The first part was the organizer of the event telling the aspiring stunties how to audition for roles and then he brought up the pro stunties to start giving these people, including quite a few children, the basics of stuntwork. The kids should learn how to punch before they learn how to not hit people, but that’s just me I guess. The organizer was very quick to be gender inclusive for the actors and stunties, but not so much for the directors, producers, and writers.

There were a few other issues I had with the organizer’s spiel, but I won’t go into them. To each their own opinion; though I don’t agree with what he was saying, I understand his point of view.

And, finally:

The Sky Has Fallen: The world has ended, its population infected with a mysterious virus, and the survivours are seeing black figures that take the dead bodies away to experiment on them and reanimate them. One dude, and a woman he helped, set off to kill the leader of the black figures. (The revenants did look like something out of a Fulci film, so that was pretty cool.)

This was a big disappointment. It had an intriguing premise, great cinematography, a great score, and great special effects, but it was destroyed by ham-fisted direction, bad performances, and a terrible script. Almost every other line of dialogue was a question and they spoke in circles so much that they made no forward progress and actually reversed something they’d said only a couple of minutes before. It was rare that a character spoke more than one sentence in a row and the editing followed suit with talking heads. Most of the film was made up of intense, vacant close ups. And what action there was was boring.

I almost walked out, but it was only an hour. And I was the only one there and felt really bad. The film just before it was empty, too.

That was the last flick for the day. Today is the last day of the festival and includes the awards ceremony. If there’s time after the awards, there’s a flick I’d like to check out and a seminar on special effects make-up for low budget cinema I’d like to attend, but we’ll see. After that, I just have to make sure everything is all packed up and ready to go for my early-ass flight home. Needless to say, I did not attend last night’s networking party and considering how early my flight is on Monday, I will not be attending tonight’s either. I do feel a tiny bit better, though, so that’s good.

Alright, more to come later as I wrap up my time in Cleveland and at the Indie Gathering.


Anonymous said...

Elements of Metropolis in yours--Priest reminded me of the main character in M., while the Scion reminded me of Maria in M. Loved the high contrast photography, too~good job! Glad you have enjoyed your visit to Cleveland. Let me know if there are opportunities in Florida!

--The projectionist

Lori said...

Michael: It's been so long since I've seen Metropolis, I'll have to dig my copy out to refresh my memory, but thank you so much! I'll definitely let you know if there's anything back home!

Marvin the Martian said...

I bet it was a weird feeling to have empty screening rooms at a film festival. Desolate and unloved.

Lori said...

Marvin: It was...I felt really bad and wondered if these filmmakers had been to the festival before and that's why they didn't show up this time.