Sunday, November 10, 2013

Nightcap 11/10/13 Between festivals- DOC NYC and the New York Chinese Film Festival

My view from on line outside Alice Tully Hall before the NYCFF
I recently had a conversation with someone I know on Twitter who,like me, is someone and wades into film festivals with wild abandon. We both see way too many movies to the point where the world goes grey as all the films blend together and you can’t always remember what you’ve seen. The conversation spun out as we pondered what we remembered of festivals earlier in the year. While we realized we lost films, mostly what we remembered was going to the festival, of being with friends, old and new, and the pleasures of being at a festival. (And what I mean with not remembering the films- the titles don’t spring instantly to mind- tell me the title and I’ll know I saw it)

The question raised it’s head again this past week as I danced between and around three festivals and wondered what would I remember when all was said and done.

First there were press screenings, screeners and much talk about DOC NYC which starts this week (our coverage begins tomorrow). This was a festival I backed into last year and I’m grateful for it. I had a blast, and so far I’m having a blast this year too. None of the films I’ve seen have been bad and I’m having a great time talking to people about what I’ve seen.  While I’m over indulging again this year- I have 15 movies to see in five days plus the day job, I know this means I’ll not remember some down the road. On the other hand it’s a great festival (one of my must see festivals of the year) and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Also this week there had been some talk about covering the New York City Horror Film Festival. Its running next weekend and they are showing a good number of great sounding films. I really want to go because I’ve had a good time in the past but it doesn't look like it's possible since DOC NYC has taken up my time. Some of the other guys are hoping to make a film or two, but we’ll see what happens.
Inside Alice Tully Hall before the crowds at the NYCFF

Lastly this week I attended a festival which will live on in memory for reasons that have nothing to do with the films. I went to the New York Chinese Film Festival. If you were there odds are you saw the chaotic happenings of the week.

There are lots of stories to be told of the events the least of which was one Q&A that was held entirely in Mandarin which puzzled some of the audience, while another Q&A didn't happen at all and resulted in much the audience simply hanging around in the lobby waiting for the promised star to arrive. I was at that last screening and there was no one around from either the festival or theater to say what was going on so people just waited.

There are more stories to tell, but not all of them are mine.

To be honest I had a largely good time, I saw some good films, I got to talk to Donnie Yen and I ended up with stories I will tell for years.. On the other hand it's clear from my own experience and from talking to other people who went that there is a reason, despite the presence of superstars, the festival is merely a blip on the radar. While I know saying things critical of the festival may not get me invited back next year,  I have to say something because there is something about the way the festival is run that is going to keep it a minor festival, when its clear its got the potential to be bigger.

Will I go again next year?  As I fan most certainly depending on the films shown. As a member of the press I don't know. I had no problem with the outside PR people (they were great), its the festival programmers I'm unsure of. I have the feeling that someone doesn't know what they are doing. I also get the feeling, owing to it seeming hush hush nature that there are motives at work beyond showing the films.

I'm sure that's going to piss some one off, and I'm sorry, but as a good friend who was in the fray more than I was said, "if this was the first year it would have been fine, but this is the fourth year, they shouldn't be making these mistakes." As for whether or not I should have said anything, I should. Things happened, I saw them, and I can't pretend things didn't happen.  Besides if someone doesn't say anything they won't fix things for next year.

Onward to DOC NYC which will devour the next two weeks of Unseen Films coverage

And now some links thanks to Randi-

John Waters at the Free Thinking Festival
A three minute trailer for the new Ghibli film. Man it's lovely

The crowd waiting to get into Alice Tully Hall at NYCFF

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