WELCOME TO JACKSONVILLE

DAY III (5/21/2005): PARTY IN A BUILDING

The next screening I ventured to was “Stephen Tobolowsky’s Birthday Party.” The film is just about an hour and a half in length, consisting of stories about Hollywood, life and death told by Tobolowsky on his birthday. Everyone and their mother can tell stories but few do it the way Stephen does. Every story, no matter what it’s about, keeps you interested until the end. It is a spectacular film, both humorous and touching.

Feeling in a musical mood, I headed to a screening of Rusty Nails’ swan song to the Ramones, “The Ramones and I.” This short was followed with S.A. Crary’s “Kill Your Idols.” This film exposes about 30 years of New York’s underground music scene – or the “No Wave” scene as it became to be known as – featuring interviews with members of Sonic Youth, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, and The Contortions. Also interviewed are newcomers to the scene, like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Any viewer that may have wondered where their name came from will have no problem drawing a conclusion once you hear Karen O’s (lead singer) stuttering speech and nowhere dialog. Another apt name for them would have been the Like Like Likes.

That night, back at the illustriously grand Florida Theatre, a VIP Reception was held in honor of Academy Award nominated actor Graham Greene. He gave a typical speech about his early days and how he fell into acting, then took his newly glass tortuga award and exited the stage.

Eric Fleming then screened his ode to 70s comedy, “The Almost Guys.” Prior to the feature was Steven K. Tsuchida’s “SpamKu.” This short examines the effects of winning a lifetime of Spam could have on a person after entering a haiku contest. Never before has Spam looked so unpleasant on the big screen.

Afterwards, we headed to the 12th (or was it 14th?) floor of the Aetna building where Grey Goose sponsored the best party of the festival. The drinks were plentiful, as were my encounters with various filmmakers and stars.

Here I met up and chatted a bit with Melody Gilbert who directed a new documentary called, “A Life Without Pain.” This documentary, funded in part by a McKnight Foundation Artist Fellowship for Filmmakers, chronicled the day-to-day lives of a couple of children that can’t feel pain. Sadly, I missed the screening at this festival, but I will be on the hunt for it so I don’t miss it again.

The last encounter was with director Beto Gomez, director of “Punos Rosas.” The film was well received at its showing and is currently making its rounds at other festivals.

DAY IV (5/22/2005): THE FESTIVAL CONCLUDES

There were a few showings of note on the last day – including “Brothers,” “The Civilization of Maxwell Bright,” and “Me, You and Everyone We Know” – as well as a documentary panel and a panel about women in film by critic Molly Haskell.

The winners were also announced this day.

BEST NARRATIVE: “Brothers” (Directed by Suzanne Bier).

BEST DOCUMENTARY: “Murderball” (Directed by Henry-Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro).

BEST SHORT: “While the Widow is Away” (Directed by Adam Reid).

For a festival only in its third year, they are growing rapidly and doing a great job of getting a unique mixture of films. Jacksonville is also such a nice city – rarely any traffic it seems – complimented by some nice Florida weather. I walked most of the time and thankfully, I never got caught in the rain that we are so infamous for this time of year. I met a lot of great people, both the filmmaking types and the festival employees, and I look forward to heading there again next year.




Posted on May 26, 2005 in Festivals by
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