I immediately went and purchased a gallon of milk after posting my last post.
Last weekend was the Sidewalk Film Festival down in the 'ham. Great times were had by all. I thought I had posted about the pre-festival meeting, but upon review I see that I did not. The only thing of note that went on that night was I had dinner with my manager from last year. It was great to get caught up.
I took last Friday off as a paid vacation day...or so I thought. When I left Thursday, I had 37 hours in (Actually, I didn't know that at the time because there's no way to see your punches or keep up with your time that I know of.) When I got my check this week, it was short to the tune of $150. Come to find out, the way that do vacation is that if you request off, they give you up to 40 hours, so in reality, had I done a few emails from work, I wouldn't have needed any vacation time for last week. The thing that sucks about all this is that I thought that I had to make up for the day that I wasn't going to be there and so I thought I'd have the overtime. Fucking bastards! I guess vacation time only makes since if you're making excellent money or if you're salaried.
So anyway, I drove down last Thursday and stayed the weekend with my aunt and uncle who I hardly saw at all. We visited for a bit Thursday night and then I tried to get on their wireless network. Come to find out, the authentication key they were using had a 0x prefix that was Mac specific...I don't have the money for my MacBook Pro. :( Removal of said prefix allowed me to get online.
I tried to sleep in Friday morning. For whatever reason, I can't sleep in anymore. I always wake up between 0800 and 0900; it must have something to do with having to be out the door so goddamned early. The only amusing thing about this is that when I try to sleep in, I wake up in what would a half-hour late for work had I actually been required to be there. Normally, I'll just roll over and wake up a half-hour later. After having done this twice or thrice I said fuck it and got up.
Not one to eat breakfast unless it's fixed and ready to go, I decided that I'd just have a cup of coffee. The non-dairy powdered creamer was a year past the expiration date. Needless to say, I really didn't need the next cup of coffee to wake me up. I lounged around all morning getting caught up on the blogs and veggin'. Finally, I decided that I should head on into town.
I rolled in at the Alabama at 1400, but there was not a soul in sight, an inexplicable oddity given the fact that the Alabama is Sidewalk's biggest venue and they picked up a venue across the street this year. I went around the corner and found a hole-in-the-wall hotdog place, ate lunch and headed back to the Alabama. I finally found one of the volunteers (albeit he wasn't wearing a volunteer shirt). It turned out to be the signage manager. I worked with his crew assembling doors on street corners. (We would take three doors, make a triangle and screw them together by their hinges. The doors gave filmmakers a place to paper the town with their propaganda.)
We were done in less then 45 minutes, so I waited in front of the Alabama until my manager Brian showed up. From our discussion over dinner the previous Monday, he gave the impression that he would be at the Alabama early in the afternoon and that there would be much work to be done and that I could just drop by and lend a hand. Such was not the case. When we finally got into the Alabama at our 1700 call, there was nothing for us to do. All of the A/V stuff had been contracted out and was already taken care of. The event coordinator was running late and so we didn't get our materials (like programs) until a half-hour before opening the house. Dinner was late too, but I was still full enough from the hotdogs that I had no gripes.
All I can say is there's something electric about being in the Alabama. Maybe it's because there was so much history there and we were making more, maybe it was simply because I was at a film festival but you could feel it.
I began to feel a bit dropsy; all those long weeks were catching up to me. The opening film was The Ten
quite frankly a crappy movie. There were a few good jokes to laugh at, but the fillm just tries so hard to be something that it isn't. A lot of people compare it to a Mel Brooks movie; while I haven't to date seen a Mel Brooks film, I am under the impression that his films have you laughing the whole time. The Ten
was downright sacrilegious and uncomfortable at times thus not a film I'll likely watch again.
After the show, I walked the whole theater looking for programs that were left behind so that we could make our supply stretch over the weekend. When I left at 2330, I was dead. I don't regret it; walking the theater gave me time to be there by myself, take in the view and wonder what it must have been like back in the day. The property owner mentioned that Paramount built the theater in 1927 for the expressed purpose of showing film. You can tell that it was a regal place and that even though you were going to watch a flicker show, it was a black tie event with real ladies and gentlemen, not the swine that try to pass themselves off as such these days.
Saturday was an early call. I had to be back downtown at 0900 to reserve seats for the 1000 discussion panel because stormreaver
was coming into town with an ex co-worker for said discussion. This was a director's panel; they showed three short films, criticized and circuited each and then opened the floor to general questions.
The next discussion panel about No Budget Filmmaking didn't start 'til 1300 and we were dismissed by 1100 so the three of us walked around downtown and finally found a Quizno's.
The No Budget Flimmaking discussion was great. The presenter, Mark Stoloroff had worked for an independent company who worked with a lot of now great filmmakers including Chris Nolan (they gave him finishing funds for his first film, The Following
), Darren Aronofsky (I don't think the company every did anything for him though they were in discussions for a long time) and Craig Brewer. (Funny, I had just watched Black Snake Moan
a few weeks ago and we spent some time discussing Hustle and Flow
which arrived in the mail while I was at Sidewalk; I watched as soon as I got back.)
At that point, stormreaver
and Michael had to go back to Cullman. As we were crossing the street to go to the parking deck of the McWayne center, I ran into George the signage manager. He had what looked like a White Owl cigar. I asked him what he was doing with that and he said he was Jonesing for a smoke and that's all they had at the Jazz festival. (The Jazz festival is an annual event that coincides with Sidewalk.) I had parked on the street and we were next to my car, so I hooked him up with a Da Vinci right then and there.
I caught an interesting documentary Saturday afternoon entitled The Devil Came on Horseback
, documenting the Sudanese civil war. Even though my dad was there during the time the documentary takes place, I didn't know that China had an oil pipeline in Sudan. That explains a lot, particularly why we don’t get more involved with Sudan. The Chinese buy oil for cheap, the Sudanese government uses the money to fund its genocide. If you're ever flipping through channels and you see this playing, drop what you're doing and take a look--what see will sicken you.
It had been my intention to go to The Fish Market at some point during the festival to get some more trout. I wasn’t really feeling up to it, but I said, "Hey, I've got the time and I'm in town" so I went and have no regrets. I think I'll make this a Sidewalk tradition.
The last film of the evening was Mexican Sunrise
, a noble effort that if nothing else was raw authentic reality. Earlier that day I had run into both the writer and director of American Fork
. They were both nice great conversationalists and we chatted about working with Alec Baldwin and Bruce McGill. After Mexican Sunrise
there was an invitation only party and since I had an invite I decided to go on anyway. I found Hubbler Palmer and Chris Bowan hanging out by themselves so I walked over and struck up a conversation. Shortly thereafter, Rowdy Stovall director of Mexican Sunrise
was wandering around so I waved him over and the four of us enjoyed a wonderful conversation. I also learned that Robert Rodriguez was as much of a prick as George Lucas, not surprising as we're talking about a love child here.
Sunday morning I attended the How to get Picked Up sidetalk and learned a lot. Amongst other things, I learned that it is ok to go ahead and write adaptations of books and that the only ramification is that you might not get to make the movie/sell the material. Sunday afternoon, I headed over to the Alabama for what would be my final film this year, American Fork
. American Fork
is commonly compared to Napoleon Dynamite
which I have not seen. All I can say is this was a great little character movie that oddly enough I think kids who were sheltered can really relate to while at the same time being entertaining for the rest of the audience. It was the perfect way for me to end Sidewalk 2007.
I drove home so I could get in and veg or what-have-you for a bit Sunday before having to be back at it. My only regret is that I went and bought smokes for the festival and still haven't smoked any of them. I have a lot of writing to do so that I can have something to show; I think that the next two years will determine if I get into film or not. There are more personal thoughts on that to come, but I need to run to work, this entry is rather lengthy and dealt specifically with Sidewalk 2007.