Nov 122012

The last day of the festival was a mad rush of shorts, features, outings, and socializing. Tony and I decided to try to go to the beach one last time, finally procuring a festival shuttle to get us there for all of 20 mins. He jumped right into the water (the only one swimming) proclaiming it was warmer than Irish waters in July. It was nice just to see a different side of Wilmington.

Wrightsville Beach

A bunch of us watched a shorts program of doc shorts, that included one of Alfredo’s two shorts that were playing the festival. His was good, but the program as a whole a bit problematic (first time I’ve seen a commissioned museum video included in a film festival – would have been ok if it had been an amazing piece, but unfortunately this was not the case).

It was finally time for my own screening! I made my way to the City Stage Theater, a funny place up on the fifth floor of an unassuming building. You have to take a tiny elevator up and it’s not well marked. But once you get up it’s pretty impressive with a big bar with views of the river and the steeply pitched screening room.

My short The Whale Story screened in front of a documentary about surfing called ‘Raw’. There were a lot of people – the place was maybe two thirds full, but everyone, of course, had come to see a surfing documentary, not an animated short. They screened the short and then did my Q&A right after, instead of waiting for the feature. This was good because it means the whole audience was trapped, they couldn’t get up and leave like sometimes happens as soon as the lights go up. But the downside is that everyone may have been a little impatient for the feature to start. But myself and the MC got people warmed up and then people started asking questions and it turns out that a lot of people liked it. Overall it was pretty well received and people came up afterwards to talk to me about it.

The surfing documentary was basically a string of very impressive, well shot scenes of people surfing. That’s it. For 60 minutes. A few talking heads thrown it (most of whom I couldn’t’ understand because of the thick Australian accents and poor sound quality). And weirdly, the only non-surfer who was interviewed was a local Indonesian banana seller, and they asked her to say a certain phrase over and over again, because she said it funny. She was laughing too, but still, it was little….odd.

the steep seats at City Stage Theater – used to be a Freemason’s Hall

After that I finally caught a fiction feature! Up until then I’d only seen docs. And it was great and had an actress I really like, Lizzie Caplan. It’s a romantic comedy (but good) called ‘Save the Date‘ and I think you can find it on iTunes.

The final program of the festival was a screening of films made in 5 days as part of a fest competition. Fun, and a great way to involve the town, but overall it was basically an hour of youngsters’ first films, and as many of you know that can get tiresome. Especially after a long day. It was preceded by a strange ritual that I won’t even go into it was so weird. It involved ashes and porn. I was a little confused.

Ritual kicking off the last program of the festival

Everyone gathered in Jengo’s backyard party area (the space with the firepits) for a last exhausted socializing session. It’s really amazing how many people I feel like I got to know pretty well in such a short time. The whole experience was almost like a mini intense artist residency, expect instead of making work we talked about work.

I will really miss my B&B buddies, and hopefully will bump into them at future festivals or in their respective cities. Turns out a few of them are going on to other festivals in which my film is also playing! But they get to attend and I don’t. Mostly these are the Europeans who can buy an easyjet ticket for $50 and bam! they’re in Berlin. But for us here in the US, not so easy. Oh well.

Two hours of sleep is all Alfredo and I got (we were on the same flight), after which we had a mad mad travel day. The festival driver was a little late picking us up and the airport was packed (at 6AM). It took us forever to get through security, so long that we had to run to our gate. Then the plane sat on the tarmac and left an hour late. At Atlanta I barely caught my connecting flight after running down the terminal. I hope Alfredo caught his flight to LA!

See lovely Mt Rainier above the clouds on the way in to Seattle. It’s good to be back.

Rainier above the clouds – home sweet home!


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