“BATTLE IN SEATTLE,” NEW GENERATION OF FILMMAKERS PANEL AND THE CLOSING NIGHT PARTY…

“BATTLE IN SEATTLE,” NEW GENERATION OF FILMMAKERS PANEL AND THE CLOSING NIGHT PARTY…

This morning started out… wait, wrong, it wasn’t morning: it was 2 in the afternoon. Why do I think it was morning? Because my sinuses had started bugging me Friday, and when I turned in Friday night, I took copious amounts of allergy medication that knocked my ass right out. So it felt like morning, as I was still in a bit of a haze, but it was the afternoon. Anyway…

The day started out with a set of roundtable interviews with “Battle in Seattle’s” Stuart Townsend, Michelle Rodriguez, Charlize Theron and Martin Henderson. Stuart and Michelle went first, and when they came into the roundtable (with me, Cinematical’s Kim Voynar and Reelz Channel’s Heather Huntington) they were followed by a town of photographers. This was new to the three of us, as we’re normally not doing roundtables while folks take pictures, but what’re you supposed to do? Michelle joked that they could take pics as long as they didn’t shoot her fingering herself, so I informed them that they could shoot me fingering myself, Stuart said he didn’t want to see that, so I offered to let him smell my finger instead. Yeah, this is why I don’t do many roundtables, most likely.

Charlize and Martin’s roundtable was pretty playful, as they joked around back and forth. She was under the weather, though, so I felt bad that she had to sit and talk to us. Plus, my sinuses were acting up again so I was sitting, arms-crossed, sweating, eyes watering and trying my best not to sniffle, sneeze or cough.

After the roundtables, and some more allergy medicine, I made my way over to the Nasher Sculpture Center to moderate my panel on the New Generation of Filmmakers; essentially all about the the up-and-comers, focusing on some high school programs in Texas and the Mobile Film School. I got there early, and got to see some of Michael Addis, Jewel (yes, THAT Jewel) and Dolph Lundgren (yes, THAT Dolph Lundgren) do their panel on audience influence on films.

On my panel was Garland High School teacher Patty Schubert, Mobile Film School’s Lisa McWilliams and teen filmmakers Jorge Arzac and Joe Brittain. While the panel was a bit under-attended (it was 5:30pm on a Saturday right before the closing night film), I felt the panel was extremely interesting, informative and, overall, encouraging. Thanks to curriculum’s like Patty, students are learning much about both film history and production, while Lisa’s program brings filmmaking to those who may not have thought it possible. I was, and still am, honored that I got to moderate such an important panel, and can only thank the festival for taking a chance on a foul-mouthed film critic who just the night before was picking fights with audience members.

After the panel I made my way over to the opening night film, “Battle in Seattle,” and my favorite moment was when festival director Michael Cain mis-named director Stuart Townsend, calling him Stewart Copeland instead. Part of me REALLY wanted the drummer from the Police to suddenly show up.

The film? Full review to come, but I pretty much knew the ins and outs of the WTO protest of 1999 (as I lived up there at the time), so the film didn’t have much suspense for me because I knew how everything played out, but I hope it was a solid primer for everyone else though. Best quote from the film: “A week ago, nobody knew what the WTO was. Now… they still don’t know, but they know it’s evil.” Oddly enough, best quote I could come up with after the movie ended too…

After the screening it was closing night party time at the House of Blues with the band the Polyphonic Spree. Previously known for their cult-like robes, the huge band had recently gone in for a more militant look, calling themselves The Fragile Army. This scared me, because it meant the cult of happy was mobilizing, and as the show opened, my fears came true…


There was a giant heart on stage…


The band revealed themselves as a wall of choreographed march moves and sound…


Confetti fell from the sky and it dawned on me that this is what the Nazi rally of Nuremberg would likely look like, had it taken place today.


Band was a fun watch, and played about an hour before calling it quits, then returning for an encore in their original cult robes. At that point I refused to drink anything anyone gave me, for few that the closing night was to be a mass cinematic suicide.


Eventually the band invited people on stage, photographers mostly, and this guy…


Who showed his excitement, leaving me to believe that the cult of the Polyphonic Spree had recruited yet again. Can they be stopped?


Favorite pic: AFI Dallas Festival Director Michael Cain is a busy man. So busy, in fact, that even while rocking out on stage, he manages to take a cell phone call…

My evening ended back at the Filmmaker Lounge for some final Guitar Hero playing. Two challengers stepped up; one at Expert on “Holiday in Cambodia” and the other at Expert on “Knights of Cydonia.” How’d I do? The former I beat by 100K points, and the latter was beating me by 20K before I rallied mid-song and beat him by 40K. And thus, my legend remained intact. Serna beat me… but no one else…

Festival awards in 7 hours, and then I fly home. It’s been a great experience, and I’ll have more to say in my full wrap-up next week (including interviews and reviews). For now, though? Sleep.




Posted on April 6, 2008 in Blogs by
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2 Comments on "“BATTLE IN SEATTLE,” NEW GENERATION OF FILMMAKERS PANEL AND THE CLOSING NIGHT PARTY…"

  1. Taylor Fenno on Sun, 6th Apr 2008 8:26 pm 

    hey, what about the Scene It game…. Guess we should have taken pics…lol


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  2. Mark Bell on Sun, 6th Apr 2008 10:31 pm 

    Oh, I mentioned losing Scene-It in the Twitter mini-blogs. That battle was epic too, but that game plays with your emotions…


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