Fair warning: this is a long post filled with nerdery and geekiness. you may explode from Teh Fangurl. You've been warned.
Yesterday was the day: BleedFest. The reason I've been to L.A. three times now. I was there for the world premiere of my newest short film, A Hammer Fell in Jerusalem: and be at rest, but also because I was co-presenting the west coast premiere of I Am Nancy which is a documentary about the place of the horror heroine in today's society as told through the eyes of the actress who plays one of the genre's strongest female leads, Heather Langenkamp.
It would not be an overstatement to say that she's one of my top favorite actresses and that I'm a huge fan. The six year old in me was doing a wonderful, soul-felt Marie Lubbock-style dance (is there any other?), while I tried my damnedest to not act a fool on the outside. I think I did a fairly good job in not getting any fan on her.
As per usual, I woke up at six in the morning (Ed. Note: today was 4:30. This has got to stop...) I wrote yesterday's blog posts (note to self: proofread when you get home!) and eventually got ready (physically and mentally) and headed over to the venue. Alisha Rayne from Bzzzline.com grabbed me for an interview right when I got there. I'm not sure I'll ever get over how strange for me it is to be interviewed, even though Alisha's really good at it.
From there, I went in and greeted Lis and Brenda, who gave me a new badge. I'd actually brought the one from April with me so they wouldn't have to keep making new ones, but this time they printed one with my name on it. I then said hi to Jaye and Tony from the Zombie vs. Shark podcast, really great guys, y'all, and wandered around a bit. As I was headed back outside, I passed a petite woman with short cropped black hair who I hadn't seen before and she said, "Lori! I'm Arlene Marechal!"
Arlene is the director of I Am Nancy and was the one I'd contacted last year about playing I Am Nancy at Hallowscreen. The stars didn't align for that, obviously, but they did for BleedFest which makes me just as happy! We talked for a bit as I took her to get her badge (I know, not my job, but having run my own festival, combined with an innate desire to be helpful, I couldn't resist) and she mentioned that Heather was running a little bit late.
Zomg. But I kept it all inside.
Impact Personal Safety is this month's charity for BleedFest and director Heidi Hornbacher is the executive director of the program. She came in with some of her students and one of her male instructors, fully kitted out in protective padding, to put on a demonstration of their techniques. It was fantastic to watch and during the first break, I asked Heidi about the program and if they have any classes in Florida. They don't yet, but they get a lot of inquiries. This is a class every woman and child should take.
After that, we watched a new short by Brenda and Lis called College Girls Road Trip which features their second cousins Casey and Sarah as two college girls on a road trip. It was good fun and the girls were great! It was their first time seeing themselves on screen, too, which adds a little something extra to the proceedings.
After that, we took a break for mixing and I went outside for some air. I think I missed Candice Rankin's one woman show because I was being interviewed by the Zombie vs. Shark guys. But, then again, I missed getting my photo taken on the red carpet...again! I have a talent for that sort of thing. I was inside watching the shorts in competition, though, so at least I had a good reason.
However, while I was inside watching the other shorts, I missed Heather's arrival. And she and Arlene were outside until the last short played...which was not mine. Ah, well.
At the end of the break, before the shorts-in-competition package, I saw this tall, lanky dude wearing a Cujo shirt. I had to compliment him on it, after all it is the movie that started this whole mess for me. And wouldn't you know it, it was Lucky McKee! He's a fabulous director (May, Sick Girl, The Woods, The Woman) and, thankfully, unpretentious. I like him even more after meeting him!
I loved every short in the package, but I do have to say that my favorite was an FSU short called Teppan Dead about a chef at a hibachi restaurant with delusions of samurai who, not unlike Shaun in Shaun of the Dead, comes into his own in the face of the zompocalypse.
My short played second to last. I loved hearing the audience reactions to things like the fact that the guy is a priest and such. I didn't bother bringing up that I made it to test some new equipment because, even though that's the reason why I made it, it's still a full fledged story on its own. I got to plug my aftershock screenings, too, (A Nightmare to Remember on June 18 and Viscera on July 17! I just realized that I switched the dates in my interviews and everything! Geez Louise, I need a keeper... I should've remembered since Viscera's on my brother's birthday! I think. ;) ) And, guess what! Lucky was one of the judges for Viscera!
My short won Best Ongoing Vampire Saga! The only problem? It's not a vampire saga...and Lis could tell from my expression as I went up for the Q&A. I didn't say anything, it was still amazing to receive an award, but she mentioned it before dinner. I understand where she's coming from with the mistake; the first film was accepted to the Vampire Film Festival, but in the Gothic category.
Just before the break, Lucky was presented with the Inanna Partnership award for his work, all of which features strong female protagonists and he took some questions from the audience and talked a little about his new flick The Woman.
After the shorts, there was another break during which Arlene grabbed me so she could take a photo of Heather and I. Oh gosh...twist my arm, why doncha? We took an epically awesome photo in front of the BleedFest banners which I'll post when I get home (you can find it in my Twitter feed, though, if you're not on my Facebook) and then Heather and I talked about my work for a little while as Arlene took some photos of the outside of the venue. And Heather remembered that I gave her a DVD of my work when I first met her. This made the harsh realist / voice of doubt in me shut up for a minute.
After the break, we were given a special treat: Jamie Coon came in and performed a special version of her song "I Am Nancy" for us, and Brenda and Lis presented the audience and Film Radar awards (the audience award went to Zeke and the Film Radar award went to Cindy Baer's Slashdance.) Lis and Brenda also played a short film Lucky made called Blue Like You. I loved it!
Then it was time to get my co-presenter on as I stepped on stage next to Brenda and Lis for the I Am Nancy introduction...which Lis asked me to do. On the spot. I babbled on about how I first heard about the project and joked about how I needed to see it right then and there ("why were they still filming?!") and how I tried to get it for my festival and while the timing just wasn't right for me, it worked out for BleedFest and I couldn't be happier!
Pretty smooth for someone as socially awkward as myself...
The movie played (it was my second time seeing it. I watch lots of movies over and over because I tend to catch things, even in A Nightmare on Elm Street, that I never caught before) and everyone loved it! Then it was time for the Q&A and the presentation of the Inanna to Heather and Arlene. I did not go up on stage for that. I honestly didn't know if I should or not so I erred on the side of caution, and my shyness, and stayed in my seat.
No one had any questions for Heather and Arlene so Lis, wonderful Lis, says, "Lori! Don't you have any questions?"
"Umm...no?" was my eloquent and thought-provoking reply. I'm the kind of person who'd rather sit down with my favorite people and drink coffee (or water for me) or have lunch and talk. I say this even though I now have seven autographs from Heather (even I think that's a bit excessive, to be honest, but two of them came with DVDs and according to Evy that means they don't count.)
Afterward, we all went outside because they were selling, and signing DVDs of I Am Nancy. I wanted to get the new DVD because I love the new cover that Heather designed. She offered me a free photo, but I asked instead for her to sign my BleedFest program. It's a nice memento of the festival and of the amazing time that I had. And I asked Arlene to sign it, too! And they gave me the new DVD, signed by Heather. And Arlene gave me a shirt emblazoned with the legend "Be Nancy" on it! Unfortunately, when the label read medium, they really meant California small. I may have lost 100 pounds over the past year or so, but not enough to comfortably wear it! Makes me a sad panda! I'll just have to see if they'll let me design my own...
And here's where I point out that she said I could call her Heather. In private conversations like with my mom or with friends about Elm Street or Ten of Us or whatever, I refer to her as Heather. When speaking to her, I remind myself to call her Ms. Langenkamp. I slipped yesterday and accidentally called her Heather, then apologized. She was nice enough to say, "Oh, call me Heather, please!"
Yay for social awkwardness!
We wrapped up outside and I gave Arlene a good-bye hug as she and Heather left. Finally, just the ten of us remained *ultimate nerdy gigglesnort* as we all headed to Midori for sushi (yes, I tried some. It was actually quite tasty!) The ten of us consisted of Jaye and Tony, Ray from Film Radar, Lis and Brenda and their two second cousins and their friend, Miguel from Monster Island Resort, and myself. Dinner was fabulous, the company was fabulous, the whole freaking day was fabulous!
Today, I go pick up my badge holder for E3 and proceed as if I didn't just have one of the most fantastic weekends ever. I got to celebrate one of my favorite actresses of all time as well as one of my favorite characters of all time. I feel honored and blessed (and only slightly embarrassed ;D) by the whole experience! Thank you, Lis and Brenda, for yet another amazing BleedFest!