2011 PHOENIX FILM FESTIVAL – THE VICARIOUS EXPERIENCE: DAY TWO

You know you’re in for an interesting time when your hotel’s parking lot is full of Harleys. Apparently this year’s PFF coincides with Biker Week, so the population of the Scottsdale Sleep Inn is evenly divided between filmmakers and Hells Angels. Apparently I missed some sort of lobby brawl last night while writing the previous installment of this blog, but this morning I got to witness a rather large leather-clad and heavily tattooed gentleman making himself a waffle at the complimentary breakfast buffet.

Program Director Greg Hall lurking about...

First on the day’s agenda was an educational outreach panel for middle and high school students, set for the seemingly reasonable slot of 11am. Of course, after a late night at the Tilted Kilt, getting there in some sort of coherent state of mind was still a challenge. I was thankful the festival booked me onto the documentary panel – the narrative one started at 9:45am, and its participants remained at the Tilted Kilt later than I did.

During a brief visit to the ticket office I glanced at a table littered with the requisite promotional postcards for films screening at the festival and noticed a rather large plastic display stand. Situated upright, it nestled its cards with an easily accessible slot, a larger piece of art behind them.

The large and curious display.

Fascinated, I studied it further and suddenly realized that the movie featured in this display was not one programmed into PFF. It was a big ad for someone’s Kickstarter campaign that had been snuck onto the table, taking up prime real estate. Some of the quotes on the back of their postcard read: “the best PROPOSAL I’ve ever seen”, “If this is their trailer, I can’t wait to see the final project.” There were no attributions attached to these quotes.

Quotes without attributes. Or an actual film to base them on.

Very quickly, the staff discovered and removed the display.

As with any festival, you want to see a lot of movies, but you also have to pace yourself. I caught the excellent FALLING OVERNIGHT at 2pm – masterfully told with a cinema verite’ style that would’ve made John Cassavetes proud. My frequent cinematic collaborator Scott Storm met up with me afterward and we hit the Party Pavilion’s still-open bar, where all tweets with the hashtag #phxfilm were streamed and projected onto a giant screen. (If you want eyeballs at the Phoenix Film Festival parties on your tweets, use it.) Scott and I then hit the doc EXPORTING RAYMOND, about EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND creator Phil Rosenthal’s hilarious attempts to develop a Russian version of his sitcom. Rosenthal, who also directed, was in attendance and held court at a Q&A even funnier than the film itself.

The sellout crowd for EXPORTING RAYMOND. Sellouts are common for PFF, but they're happening much faster this year.

As the evening ended with more partying, drinking, and pointless attempts to shout over an increasingly deafening band, I became aware that I needed to preserve some of my voice for my panel tomorrow afternoon, and a modicum of energy to stay awake during the late night screening of THE PEOPLE VS GEORGE LUCAS, for which I already have my much sought-after ticket.

AZ actor Alex Gonzalez discovering the company you get to keep here at PFF.

Coverage will continue with Day Three…

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Paul Osborne is the director of OFFICIAL REJECTION, the acclaimed documentary about the experiences of independent filmmakers at film festivals. He also wrote and produced the indie feature TEN TIL NOON, and is currently raising funds via Kickstarter for his new film, the suspense drama FAVOR. Follow him at www.twitter.com/paulmakesmovies.




Posted on April 2, 2011 in Blogs by
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