You know you've been at a festival a long time when on day 3 you say to someone, "You know, I vaguely remember watching a zombie movie, like, a week ago." Such is life in the festival world where you routinely watch films from noon until nearly midnight, drink alcoholic beverages, and talk to fellow festival goers about what films they saw that you completely should have seen. Depending on your level of cinephilia, it's either completely awesome or a bit much.
It helps, certainly, when you've got a film in competition and the badge of honor to prove it. Everyone makes a point of telling you they liked your film (even when they didn't), or how they wish they could have seen it. It's no wonder filmmakers love going.
For the inaugural Festivus Film Festival, we hit Denver around 10am Mountain Time and promptly hit a local micro brew house that featured a beer dedicated to the late, great Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. From there, we hit the festival, housed (for our purposes), at the historic Oriental Theater.
The festival kicked off with Wasting Away, a zombie movie about from the zombie's point of view (they see themselves as "super soldiers" and everyone else is infected) and Kill Kill Faster Faster, which looked really cool, but I came in half-way through and was too tired from the jet lag to follow it.
Saturday, we screen bright and early at noon as part of the "Popcorn Matinees" with Maine Story, Taken, In Times of War: The Ray Parker Story (winner for best documentary short), Simulacra, PK-Granny, and Revolver. The screening went well. Maine Story is clearly the best film of the set (or maybe I'm biased because it's set in Maine and the accents aren't all screwed up), but the important thing is that gravida isn't the worst. No one walks out. No one boos. Well, except for these guys:
Then, a Q&A (that's yours truly on the left wearing a "Debs '08" shirt, even if you can't see it):
There were basic questions about budgets and cameras and whatnot, and we got a few questions asked specifically about our film (such as, "Where did you find a pregnant actress?"). And that was it. A number of people came up to me over the course of the day to say how much they enjoyed the film and we were able to make a number of contacts with other filmmakers and pick their brains about the whole festival sequence. Part of the value of going to this festival was to see what other companies do to support their films, and I think we've picked up a number of good ideas we can use for next time.
But there were 2 more whole days of films. Notable films were Avec la Moustache (the best film in the entire festival, I thought), Cabbie, Partially True Tales of High Adventure! (the narrative short winner), Hope Springs Eternal (animated winner), Beauty 24 (a bad documentary about a fantastically interesting photography project, also the documentary feature winner...go figure), Indestructible (a heart-breaking doc about ALS), and Life With Fiona (I didn't see it, but the filmmakers were really nice and helpful).
And that is about it. Don't forget to purchase a DVD or a tshirt. Be one of the cool kids.