Sunday, January 20, 2013

Farewell 2013, awaiting 2014

by Nancy Borchers

The Idyllwild CinemaFest is over and we had a great time. I got to see 45 films which is 20 more than last year. The crew that selected the films did a great job.

I only walked out of three: one because of gore, one because of over the top narcissism and one due to sheer amateurishness. That leaves 42 that were either wonderful or at least just ok. Several were so professional that I hope general release is in the offing soon.

The enthusiasm and hard work of the Festival crew and leaders was evident everywhere.  Great job!!

I understand that next year the Festival might be non-profit. I’m eager to find out what this will bring to our community. I suppose there will be some changes but if it is for the better, I’m all for it. 

I really regret missing the Awards ceremony. Last year’s was a lot of fun. And I understand this year’s was too.

Sallie, Lou and Annamarie and I all agree that we are looking forward to next year’s Festival. If The Festival keeps improving at the rate it as has for the last four years, The Idyllwild CinemaFest for 2014 will be spectacular. 

I wonder when the tickets go on sale. 

From JP
Thank you very much Nancy for all your help and submissions and time to view and write.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Wow, what a Festival

By Nancy Borchers

I started out Sunday by myself. Sallie had to thaw out her frozen pipes and Lou wanted to sleep in.  I was running late due to frozen pipes also, but I got there just a little after "Seadrift vs.Big Guy" started. I’m glad I didn’t miss it. 

These folks work hard at having a good time. Jeff McAdams, the Big Guy, and director Randall Dark were here to handle the Q&A. There was never a dull moment in this well photographed and edited film.

At11 a.m., Sallie, Lou and Annamarie arrived so see four terrific shorts. "Grace" reminds us to slow down, listen to the real meaning, don’t jump to conclusions in a well-acted professional film.  "Knocked Down" dealt with parents trying to live through their kids and kids trying to balance pleasing them and self-preservation. Good acting, script and photography. 

"Genre" was really fun with a fresh off-beat presentation. The ending scenes seemed chopped off though. I enjoyed it very much.  "Sleeping with the Bear" had great acting that was very natural. It also had a great plot that emphasized changing focus from one’s self to other’s needs. 

Later, I loved "Hands Up" inspite of not being fond of gore or bad language. I guess sometimes they are necessary.  This was a very good film, hands down.

I got to talk with Scott Foster of "Success Driven" prior to seeing the film so I wanted to like it since he was so charming. Unfortunately the whole attitude of the film is foreign to me and quite repellant. The music and photography distracted me from “do anything to anybody to get ahead“ theme.

I was enthralled by "Soliloquy." I have a pro-Shakespeare bias. There’s no help for that. It was elegant and jewel like in presentation with onyx facets. The harsh lighting reflected the dark aspect of the Scottish play. Of course Josh Murray wasn’t hard to look at either.

"Road to Jacob" was touching with great character development which could have been easy for the director considering the quality of the actors. The predictable ending was avoided and a hopeful one provided. I really like good endings.

"The Trial of Ben B" was engrossing had me right up to the end. This was a very good film.  It was a bit too subtle for me, but Sallie got it right away. The Q&A made everything clear and it really lived up to the synopsis.

This was a great Festival. We enjoyed the improvements and lamented the drawbacks.  Steve Savage said that next year we will have the community wide banners back. We really missed them. 

Steve and Phil Calderon are to be congratulated for a better and better Idyllwild CinemaFest. Each year there are improvements and expansions.The amount of work needed for this wonderful Festival must be mountainous. Next year, we need to jump in and help. Phil said he is going to take a week off and before starting on next year’s Idyllwild CinemaFest .

Sunday, January 13, 2013

ICF Saturday: Day 4

This day started out Cold! It was 15 degrees and I was reminded of "Siberia Monamour."

My street’s resident coyote trotted across the yard and up my neighbor’s driveway looking alert and wary.

Sallie and I went to the Rustic to see "Condor’s Shadow," a well done, thoughtful film documenting the resurgence of the California Condor. This film was so well done and compelling I went home and compared the costs of non-lead shotgun ammunition to the standard lead ammunition used by hunters that is the source of lead poisoning of condors.

This seems to be the only danger in the wild these magnificent birds face. As much as I liked this film, the length was an issue here as in many of the feature films. As a 90 minute film, it was 20 minutes too long. This was the first film of the day; I loved the content and was engrossed by the message, enthusiastic about the quality of the cinematography, but still felt my eyelids drooping toward the end.

We snapped out of our stupor and met Lou and Annamarie at the Caine for "The Box," "Lockwood" and "Beyond the Dead End." 

"The Box" was a first attempt by a mother-son team. The acting was a little stiff but showed promise for these two very young actors. The location was well chosen and beautiful.

"Lockwood," filmed in Coloma, a historic California town showed lots of attention to historic detail. The venue was a problem with the ambient light. The last scenes were so dark that it was very difficult to make out details with the light pouring in from the door and windows. It was projected on a beige wall rather than a proper screen making it even more difficult to see. This did not affect the other films I saw there. 

"Beyond the Dead End" was a wonderful film.  Shot in Iran, it could have been from anywhere with its universal message.  This was a first film and one of the best of the Festival.

We were scheduled to see "As High as The Sky," but it was at AstroCamp which was too physically painful so we saw "One Wall" — a fascinating documentary about an obscure sport, handball played in Coney Island. The film makers held a great Question and Answer session. Film students from New York helped provide the enormous amount of film necessary to document the two years of filming. Alas it too was too long.

I’m glad that Gary King had a good time making "What’s up Lovely." The color and photography were very good but when they got to the “we haven’t bothered to write a plot or script” part, I lost interest. The use of streaks of neon used to denote the passage of time was interesting until it became just filler instead. "To Live and Try in L.A." was ok, but we’ve already seen many versions of this film.

We went to have dinner at the Bella Montana, which is quite good when they have all the things on the menu available. 

Annamarie and Sallie went back to the Rustic Theater and caught the last of "Things I Don’t Understand" and Lou and I went to the "Vertical Pre-party". Both of us have a five second background part right at the first part of the film and we just wanted to see what was going on.

There was a zoo effect getting into the Rustic to see "Vertical." The theater had to be emptied and then re-filled with ticket holders. Next year I presume there will be better organization. Steve Savage introduced Vertical as a work in progress and I could see where a little more work will be done; not much, but some.

I loved Veronica Alt as the dispatcher. She had few lines but the acting ability in her left eyebrow spoke volumes. Wonderful! It was also fun to see the locals such as Norm Dreeson.

I am looking forward to seeing the finished project since all the bones of a Steve Savage film were there. The final scene on the top of Lilly Rock was great. I haven’t seen this view for many, many years. The last time was in the 1960s when I was climbing with the Sierra Club.

This was a great day. I was so looking forward to seeing "Vertical" that I’m glad I did not wait to see it Sunday. The atmosphere in the Rustic was exciting. There were so many enthusiastic people.