Rickey decided that he wanted to sit this one mostly out so I got up and headed over to the theatre for a day chock-a-block full of indie movie goodness. I caught the shorts package that had Renee O’Connor’s new short film in it. I’m a fan of hers from the Xena days and it was so wonderful to see something new from her as a writer and director as well as an actress. After that, I watched the shorts package from BigStar.tv, some good stuff in there, but it was a long pack that felt longer due to how short the films were. My favourite part was how they used a PS3 to play the movies. I think it’s an ingenious use of the system and I love that they did that! Made me wish I’d brought my copy of Ghostbusters: The Video Game.
After that, I popped into the other theatre to watch the end of The Mandala Maker and all of Somewhere Beyond and The Cab Ride. I missed most of The Mandala Maker so I can’t comment on that one comfortably. Somewhere Beyond was very good.
The Cab Ride, however, annoyed me. It was slow and they cast a young woman to play a senior citizen. Why not actually hire an older woman? The young woman wasn’t bad so much as she was very obviously not old and the way she chose to play the character was unrealistic. Also, the young man they cast as the cab driver was uneven in his performance, but I think that had a lot to do with the script, which I think needed some more polishing before lensing.
After that, Rickey joined me and we decided to go have lunch. Unfortunately, that made me late for The Death of Alice Blue, which I missed on Friday and really wanted to see, just not enough to walk in an hour or so into it. We hung out in the lobby until the documentary Judy Toll: The Funniest Woman You’ve Never Heard Of came on. Very good documentary, very touching and heart-felt. I hope it gets picked up somewhere.
After waiting in the crowded lobby for a while after judy Toll, it was time for the awards! I was pretty confident that we weren’t up for anything and when Rickey asked me why we were going if I didn’t think we were getting anything and I replied, “To support the other filmmakers.” That was a message Bob Cook kept repeating through the weekend and is something I agree with wholeheartedly.
Anyway, the lights come down and the Oscars-like pre-show starts. Bob’s wife Ginger edited together a collection of shots from all of the films and she edited together scenes from each of the finalists in all of the categories. No, we weren’t finalists or nominees or whatever you want to call it, but the awards ceremony was a lot of fun anyway! There was only one winner I was surprised about even though I hadn’t watched it: Scare Zone won Best Florida Project. I was slightly surprised that it won because it’s a horror flick, but I was mostly surprised because the clips and trailers I saw made it look cheaper than a normal cheapy horror flick. My opinion was further dragged down by the filmmaker’s acceptance speech which essentially said, “Woohoo crass commercialism rocks!!”
Thanks, bro. You’re part of the reason American horror sucks right now.
Feeling pretty let down by that speech, I decided to forgo the screening of the film and head back to the hotel for the post-festival party. Since the awards ceremony got started pretty late, the party was a bit of a downer, but we sat outside and talked to the Aerojet Dade people for a while and were invited to the “exclusive” party in one of the Courtyard Mariott rooms. We went, of course, and I’m glad we went, but I hadn’t slept much during the weekend and I really just wanted to go to bed at that point so I was probably not the best company. I wasn’t cranky or anything, just tired.
The next morning, we checked out and came home!
I had a fantastic time! The festival was wonderful. The seminars were wonderful. The host theatre had comfortable reclining seats that weren't broken and their popcorn was far better than any I've tasted in a long time, including the popcorn from the theatre where I work. This was a fantastic experience and I thank Bob and Ginger Cook for creating and maintaining such high quality in their festival! I recommend it highly for any filmmakers looking for most festivals to enter!