Sunday, July 20, 2014

Nightcap 7/20/14- taking stock of NYAFF and Japan Cuts, an announcement and links

The New York Asian Film Festival is done and Japan Cuts is all but done. Its time to take stock of the festivities and see how things turned out.

From a film stand point this was a very good year. At least as far as I was concerned there weren’t that many clunkers. I know festival organizers are at the mercy of the film companies and this year they managed to get some really good and truly great films. The real surprise this year was that many of the non-genre films were the best films. Films like Wood Job and The Great Passage and Zone Pro Site scored way above films like Monsterz or Killers.

I was not physically at the festival as much as in past years, with the result I missed much of the big events, however even allowing for that this year’s festival seemed a bit too low key. There wasn’t quite the excitement. Where last year the madness of Jackie Chan happened before the festival, thus shifting the feel of things around, this year things just felt low key. The festival felt more like just going to the movies instead of going to some sort of big to do. I’m not blaming the festival organizers since they tried very much to pump things up via intros by people like Grady and James, rather I’m blaming the audiences who didn’t bring it this year. (I mean people turned down their chance to die like a samurai on stage, where in years past people would have fought tooth and nail to do so)

Where was the excitement? Where was the cheers and the screams of delight? Mostly it was the family just hanging out and having low key fun together. That's not a bad thing, especially when you have such a wonderful family.

Actually where were the new faces? I hate to say it this year’s festivals were a tad too much old home week. I recognized way too many people. There really wasn’t anyone new in the trenches except at the odd screening. I mean that’s all well and good, but for a festival to grow it has to grow its audience and this year it seemed I knew by sight most of the people. Okay yes we did get Christina from Austin who spent the majority of both NYAFF and |Japan Cuts winning friends and kicking ass but largely it was a good number of the same people in many screenings.

Audience aside, this was a great year. The films were good, the intros were great,and the company was joyous. I had a blast...and I can't wait until next year to do it all over again.

And now an important announcement concerning the course of Unseen Film.

As most of you know we've been hip deep in festival coverage and crazy ass madness pretty much since Tribeca.  Most of the posts here between now and April have been festival posts. We haven't picked at most festivals but waded in hammers and tongs and had at them.

Because of  things outside of the film world a good deal of the heavy lifting has fallen on myself  and it's damn near killed me. While we've gained readers it's left me physically broken and not wanting to ever see a movie again.

It's no one's fault but my own since I haven't learned to say no.

While part of the problem has been the sheer volume of the films reviewed, a larger part has been that I simply don't want someone else picking out what I'm seeing. Truthfully festival watching is like being force fed one type of food. I can't do it any least for a while. I have stacks and stacks and stacks of DVDs of other types of films and I have a couple dozen books I want to read, I just haven't been able to get to them because I had to watch this or that movie for review. Yes the movies have mostly been great, but I need to pick my own stuff for a while.

To that end I'm taking a step back and away from Unseen for a few weeks. You probably won't notice it since I have things programmed until the New York Film Festival. But on the other hand outside of Fantasia, which I really want to cover, the number of festival titles and new releases are going to fall away. I just can't do it, nor can many of the other guys and gals at Unseen who have their own things to take care of. (If you're promoting stuff feel free to send it our way- just don't be upset if we say "not right now")

I don't know how this will affect anything past NYFF, though I do have things scheduled roughly and with huge holes until December (and plans into March), but it's fair warning, Unseen maybe less of the moment for a bit.
This week look for the Bill Elliot mystery films that were just released by the Warner Archive as well as more Japan Cuts and Fantasia titles
And now links from Randi

Cookie Monsters 
Can a film truly be anti-war?
monsters in the closet
Behind the scenes with BOXTROLLS
Seth McFarlane steal the idea for Ted

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