Well, it was great. All worries dropped the minute the party started. Although I do worry like a grandmother with an ulcer before a big event, I have the uncanny ability to stop worrying the minute the action gets going. Phew.
Our pre-party at the Lucky 13 Bar was fun. The bar has a rocknroll vibe and a good jukebox so that helped set the tone. This crazy old hippie-punk-activist guy called "Diamond Dave" showed up--a true Bay Area character--and he told me that the bar in its former life used to host some of the area's wildest punk shows, so I guess we were paying a homage of sorts. Our drink sponsor was He'Brew (The Chosen Beer) so that in and of itself was pretty funny. I didn't have time to drink because I was too busy being a hostess and greeting all of the AMAZING peeps that came out. We definitely had a good Jew/Punk/Jewish-Punk mix going on. There were some friends there that I hadn't seen in a couple years (Jo!) and some that I hadn't seen in about TEN years (Tal!!!) so that was a treat.
We headed over to the theatre a bit earlier than the rest of the party to set up and then, BAM! Movie time! There it was--Jericho's Echo on the huge, luminous Castro Theatre screen in front of a 400-or-so person audience. Wow.
(The Castro crowd gets ready to watch Jericho's Echo!)
I wish I could say that NONE of my fears were confirmed, but unfortunately my concerns about the lateness of the hour were pretty spot-on. Not only was the film programmed at 10:30 PM on a Wednesday night, but they played a 20 minute short beforehand so Jericho's Echo didn't even start until 11! That meant that people did have to get up and leave to catch public transportation before my film was over. That was definitely a bummer, as was the notion that had the film played a couple hours earlier, there probably would have been a much bigger crowd.
That being said, it really was awesome to screen there and the people who did come were very enthusiastic. Nancy Fishman, the programming director for the festival, introduced my film and called me a "filmmaker to watch." Oooooh, I like the sound of that! I got some questions during the Q & A (my favorite part!) that I hadn't been asked before, so that always makes it more interesting. Someone talked about the association between punk rock and certain drugs, like heroin in NY, and if there was a particularly Middle Eastern drug associated with Israeli punk. I was glad about that one because it gave me one more chance to bust stereotypes. I could honestly answer that aside from the massive amounts of beer and vodka consumption I witnessed during my shoots, I never saw one illegal drug being used the entire time I was in Israel.
All in all, the best part about the screening was feeling so supported by my community, like I really have a place here. There were so many excellent people in attendance from all over the Bay Area and from all different parts of my life...my favorite waitress Mary, Steve from the Landmark Theatres, my college pal Ryan, my high school pal Hannah's parents, my in-laws, Floyd from Fat Wreck Chords, Jericho's Echo's editor Joseph and motion graphics designer Phil, some of the middle-school teachers to whom I have given media workshops, Rachel and Carlton from the Mission Minyan, lots of friends...the list goes on. It's pretty amazing to think I have only been here 5 years and I have somehow touched so many lives.
To me, the term INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER isn't really accurate, because really we are dependent on that kind of support from our communities at large. Thanks, San Francisco, from the bottom of my heart.