Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I am returned (and discuss a bit about why this was fun)

No matter what they do to make flying better, its still stressful.  I am well aware they put bars in airports for a reason, but I never drink while flying, just in case they need me to take over in the cockpit.

I had an absolutely terrific time in San Francisco, helped along by Jenifer, Doug, Kristen, Lauren and non-Signal Corps member, Morgan.  I am not sure if I mentioned the SF Sketchfest, but Doug got us to RiffTrax Live, and it surpassed any expectations I had.  Our hosts were Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy, but we also had guests such as Eugene Mirman, Bruce McCulloch, David Cross and Paul F. Tompkins.  Not bad.

I am still pondering many of the geographical, historical and cultural differences between San Francisco and Austin.  I have to tip my hat to the city, but I have always been most comfortable here in Waterloo, warts and all.  But we could certainly learn from San Fran.

I've been thinking a bit about the difference between something like the Noir City Film Noir Festival and the fact that Austin has SXSW, and the difference is that Austin's festivals, Fantastic Fest included, are really industry shows.  You can buy a pass for SXSW, but its a pass to get into things that people with the industry badges won't fill up.  Consequently, you tend to hear people telling you about this great documentary they saw about Peruvian peanut farmers or whatever, but there's not much in the way of just celebrating film.  Its all about selling films.

And that's true of Fantastic Fest, in a lot of ways, too.  These aren't festivals just for the love of the medium, genre, what-have-you.  And they aren't even really programmed for anyone with a 9-5 job to participate, kicking off screenings at midnight, etc...  There are so many barriers for participation, even if you wanted to be interested, you're sort of being told you aren't welcome.  Or, at best, you're getting the scraps (which people get really excited about, and I just try to be happy that they're so happy, I guess).  And that's, sincerely, too bad.

But I think there's something to the model of showing a couple of pictures a night over a week, all on a theme, that's probably a selling point in and of itself.  And San Francisco is lousy with these kinds of festivals and events.  I know its neat to bring in the big stars and hobnob, but at some point it needs to be less about the people either making money or hoping to make money off of the film industry (or express their vision regarding Peruvian peanut farmers), and it would be nice to have a festival about the movies themselves.  And maybe respect the history a little, as well as the fans.

If you read this far, you deserve a bonus.

As promised, here is a link to the pics I took in SF.  You are welcome to peruse them.

I'll be talking about the remaining movies I saw at Noir City, ponder further a question Lauren lobbed on the table at dinner (always good for the imponderables, that woman), and continue to avoid discussing comics for a bit longer.

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