Thursday, November 30, 2006

11.30.06 Happy Birthday, Film Arts!

I promised I'd write about the Film Arts 30th Anniversary bash from the last post, but next thing you know, I was too full of turkey and stuffing to get anything down on virtual paper...

The gist of it is that the event was a smashing success...and made me feel quite proud to be part of such a venerable institution that has aided so many truly independent filmmakers, in a city where Hollywood renegades come to forge their own paths. (Sorry for the melodrama--just watched Lord of the Rings.)

The theme of the evening was Past, Present, Future and the programming reflected this. Past was represented by OffOn, an experimental short from 1972 by one of the Film Arts founding members. Present gave us the "Best of Film Arts Members One-Minute Films" that I mentioned, of which my little movie "ericka" was one. The one-minute films were fantastic, and spanned genres from comedy to animation to doc to experimental. I had an ongoing battle with my friend Shane King (from the Girls Rock! movie) about whose one-minute film was going to mop the floor with whose...and I have to admit his was pretty awesome, but neither of us won the audience choice award, which was clearly fixed ;)

The Future section presented two works-in-progress. The first was clips from an upcoming documentary--Strange Culture--about the messy world of art and politics and a bizarre government conspiracy to squash artists' rights. One of the producers is the dynamic Lise Swenson, who founded TILT, the organization I am now running. The film just got into Sundance--congratulations!!!

The main feature of the evening was a rough cut screening of a new doc about the bustling Nigerian film scene (Who knew?). This isn't Hollywood, or even Bollywood...This is Nollywood, baby, and it is pure inspiration. For someone who considers herself a guerrilla filmmaker, this really put me in my place. These West Africans churn out hundreds of movies with extremely limited resources and have made themselves a massive homegrown entertainment industry. I think everyone in the audience was impressed and energized by the film. I can't wait to see the final cut!

So I didn't even *get* to the who's who of the guest list, which included such local luminaries as former Film Arts diva Gail Silva, Oscar-nominated doc director Sam Green, film publicist extraordinnaire Karen Larsen and about 800 others, but now that my Thanksgiving has digested, it's already time to grate my latke potatoes. See you on Chanukah!

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