Monday, October 1, 2007


Sun 30 Sep 07

Oh, not the last day already! Mercifully the wind has stopped, but now it's rainy. Somehow manage to get out the door and into the Uptown Theatre in time – though no time for shower, did take my herbs and cold preventatives.

Got a seat for FOREVER on the front row again, then ducked across to Sweet Laurette's for a split-shot cappuccino and 2 cinnamon rolls (absolutely the best, and the only whole wheat ones, in town) to go. Apologize to Lolo for never getting in to pick up the 3 I'd reserved yesterday, just never even had a break! I manage to eat quietly next to Martha Worthley and friend.

Lovely, almost contemplative film about Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. I'd been intro'd to that place not long ago in one of the segments of PARIS JE T'AIME. I can see why everyone's raving about this one; glad Rocky'll be bringing it soon to the Rose.

Then hustle down the hill so fast I forget to even say hi to FrendL as I run past the VW on Jefferson St near the top of the steps. Must make THE TOUCH! And do, especially since PTFF wisely switched theatres with AUGUST THE 1ST, so Bergman & Gould got the Rose. And it was a good thing, as it was packed. Nancy Sendler intro'd the film, noting that she was actually – and unusually – going to get to see a film at the Fest this year, and it was this one. Good choice, as anyone's chances – besides Elliott Gould, whose print we'll be seeing – of seeing this again are virtually nil. This may be the only print in North America, and there's no plans to transfer it to DVD, though as Gould will shortly tell us, he'd love to restore it.

I saw this just a few weeks ago for the first time since it came out, and even now it's changed for me again; I thought it quite good today. Audience laughed a little more than I would, but that's just that way some express familiarity with what's onscreen sometimes, especially when it's uncomfortable. Gould was absolutely fabulous, really. I very much like the way his mind works, I know that way, with tangents & stories & anecdotes. I think it has something to do with one's reasoning abilities – that going from the micro/personal/specific to the macro/global/general, with more than a little experience with psychotherapy, spiritual consideration, and desire for connection tempering it all.

I took notes (and mini-disced) the Q&A, but two standouts were that this story was largely autobiographical (with Gould's role as Bergman's) and that up til that time, Bergman thought his best films were PERSONA and WINTER LIGHT, which Gould recommended to Dianne Diamond next to me, who in her question said she'd seen only one other B film.

We are sweetly shooed from the theatre; Gould takes his time and no one minds, but it's time for the next film's preps. Oh! I get to join the group of 2880 filmmakers to be photographed with Elliott Gould as a perk! I get to the wine&beer garden tent in time, fall in next to Peter Wiant, the only one I quickly recognize there, but he drops to one knee in front to make more room, so now I'm the one next to Mr. G, a little self-conscious as the picture-taking goes on and on and on. EG must be the one I hear chewing gum so close to my ears, and I can smell Juicy Fruit. (Hmmm... did he really want a cigarette too?)

Kelli & Frank Ross are there, Frank in for the end of the somewhat mass-photographed 2880/Gould photo op. Kelli tells me she loved JELLYFISH too. I notice she has bandaids an all these red places on her palms; after J'FISH she walked out to see all these little birds fly together out of a tree, then one hit the window of Sweet Laurette's and she thought "Oh no!" then found herself suddenly falling in slow motion. Then I remember I fell yesterday, as well as tripping up my own stairs this morning (yes, this time the dreaded left knee, oh well) and huh, that happened right after I saw J'FISH, hmmmm.

See Mike Biskup for a sec, he's on his way from the tent to another movie. Ask what he's seen? Absolutely not one single one I have! Here's a photo of Mike from a week or so ago, signing PTFF 07 posters – he's this year's artist. Have to say the little camera image from the poster looks so great on every one of the trailers announcing each venue's and film's sponsors.

CAGES now, also moved over to the Rose, yay. It was already on my list due to the word "allegory" in the first line of its description; now it's won top narrative feature award, so I'm sure more people might see it today. This becomes my second-favorite of the fest now. Another story that is somewhat magical, you could be uncertain what's real and what's imagined. Surprising plot changes. Like JELLYFISH, this could have all been taken too far, or made too pointedly, but instead the tone and mix of genres is just exactly perfectly right. Later, Mari Mullen says she kept praying for something other than a closeup, though I didn't find that troubling (and especially not alongside, say, HANNAH and several others I saw). This is one to see more than once.

Run up the steps to get FrendL now, as I have some time til the next one, and it's right here at the Rose, too. Halfway up, I look back, and it sure looks like Michael Knowles down there in the "garden" tent. So I get the little Frend, and head back down to the tent again. Wine and beer and cigars, oh my! Rich and Robert and Michael all smoking, and the women are letting them! (That's mostly a joke.) I have a cup of red and join the conversation, which is easy.

Do ask MK how different was making a doc from a feature, and sounds like mostly it was that there's no script, and you don't know what of what you shoot will be kept, whereas he always knows with the feature, especially since he sticks to what's written, and asks this of his actors. I answered my own question of "so was it kind of... scary?" by remembering aloud his advice to filmmakers from our interview: "Trust yourself."

He leaves to see the SHOP LOCALLY shorts, we all recommend Gabe Van Lelyveld as someone to meet. But he returns a bit late, as Pope Marine was (unsurprisingly) full; even asking "Do you know who I am?" got him nowhere. I run up and put F back in the van and get in to see the Charles Burnett shorts, apologizing to Catska next to me if I reek of cigars.

I'm most taken with the second on, THE HORSE. It is fascinating to see the development and change in the vision of a strong filmmaker. Think I liked the older, more abstract stuff maybe best? And how cool, that was Baba Olatunji in WHEN IT RAINS! Wish Burnett was here still to talk about these, even though I think he may be someone who's much more articulate with his filmmaking than his talking about it. Which is more than fine.

Afterwards friend Kay from Poetry at Lehani's and I talk with a woman wearing a PTFF hat about the shorts. She wonders why, of all the moments in the world to choose to make a movie about, Burnett would choose that one, say, about shooting the horse? Kay says I should answer that one, and I find myself saying that I think some filmmakers find things important that the rest of us might not, or might not at first. For me, seeing those callous bored not-nice white men lounging, waiting on that rickety porch for hours just to see a horse shot, juxtaposed by the boy who quietly cares for the horse the whole time and doesn't even want to hear the gunshot, but then inadvertently does, is welcome. I am grateful usually to get to witness, even from afar or within (depending on my preference and/or that of the filmmaker), the lives and moments of others.

Now, thinking more about that film, I am quietly stunned by its power, the metaphor, the shots (film shots, not the gunshot).

Then as we have to leave, I learn this woman is not, as I thought, a friend of Kay's. Cool, we had a spontaneous film conversation, and I realize I've gotten to have more of these than usual at the PTFF. Maybe it's because they have done some things to encourage this; maybe it's because I've become identified as a serious film freak here – more than 2 people told me they enjoy seeing my film e'mails, and many complimented me on the articles I wrote for the LEADER.

Back to the VW for FrendL, as that was a very short set of shorts, back to the tent, this time with my Mac so I can blog a bit. Friend Melinda who appears to be in film pig heaven from what-all she's gotten to see borrows my cell, and when she returns it I finally call Sherry the G to let her know I've been blogging, mostly with her in mind. So so so good to hear her voice. I've missed her and Max on the Film Fest streets this year.

Get wi-fi barely, get a draft for yesterday's blog on, run up steps once again with Frend. Run to Rosebud for last film of the fest, MANHATTAN, KANSAS after the really excellent short ORPHAN. Both films about people who have a mother or a father, but it's almost worse than if they didn't. The second one is a doc, a first-timer, so there is a bit of charm to it, freshly sweetly self-conscious, but when we meet mom, oh wow. This is some big brave filmmaking. I realize after that though I was able to take notes, copious shot-by-shot ones with dialog even, for all the films, this one I just put the pen in my lap finally. I was rapt, I think, not tired. Want to write a couple of the filmmakers, and this Tara in particular.

Suddenly I'm almost yanked over into the Rose, where there's disco pumping and friends dancing on the stage! Gary Engbrecht's on the tunes, and volunteers, theatre managers, and others (like me) dancing our little hearts out. "Hard Day's Night" takes on a whole new meaning for me amidst these hard, hard-working fest folks. So yeah, Rocky and Renata, Tana, Betsy who I just met serving up wine, those two cute teenagers in tiaras who so beautifully managed the Q's outside all weekend, and about 20 others boogied or photographed or clapped or just sat and smiled for a loud, fun while.

That done, I moseyed over to the Upstage, but found that party near done. Soooo glad to catch the divine Ms Leo leaving, who says to please tell Peter Simpson she was so sorry never to get to meet him. I tell her back that Rocky, the owner of the Rose, was sorry he didn't get to meet her. She says over her shoulder "Him too me!" which I will tell him, word for goofy perfect word. She said she'd be glad to do an interview, she had my e'mail (from the bookmark I'd given her) and within 2 days I'd get something in my hoo-hah. Ya gotta love this.

And ya gotta love this Festival, and this town. I do so. So do I. Do I so. I so do. So I do.

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