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Filmbrain -

Hope your Canadian vacation was restful.

I find your question - 'Does NY really NEED such a festival?' - interesting. Based on what I read is continually available in NY from your posts here and other sources, it seems NY doesn't need such a festival as a venue to see films that the rest of the U.S. has such trouble seeing. (Even in San Fran, since the PFA and Castro partly house our festival, the arthouses are slimmed down some by the festival taking priority for filmgoers. I think the only film really hurt by the festival this year was SISTERS IN LAW, having 2 friends tell me they wanted to see it during it's sole week showing at the Balboa but the SFIFF was their priority.)

Still, film festivals provide other benefits, promotion and community. On the promotion side, by screening at the festival, this can help boost press for later when the film is released in NY. (Of course, poor response can have the opposite effect.) And on the community side, there are the conversations that such an orgy of cinephilia causes before, during, and after the screenings and festival. People meet on route to the screenings, in the queue, afterwards at restaurants and in transit when overhearing people talking about the film, and this helps foster a film community, inspiring petty comments as much as astute ones. . .,

. . . But I myself had a positive one w/ my last screening at SFIFF. Going to see a screening of Aureaus Solito's THE BLOSSOMING OF MAXIMO OLIVERAS, I ran into my co-worker leaving a screening of Michael Glawogger's WORKINGMAN'S DEATH, a co-worker whom I enjoy talking to but don't get to talk to much since we're on different floors at work. She shared her experience at the festival, I shared mine, and there was this nice interchange of our mutual love of cinema. Along with film knowledge and the critical intertextuality that goes along w/ this Bahktinian dialogue, we both found something out about the other that, well, sure, we could have found this out some other way, but I think massive International fests like SFIFF and Tribeca allow for a greater chance of such happenings.

So, basically, film festivals serve other purposes besides just films. I wasn't thinking much about this until you posed your question, so thanks for posing that.



Adam --

You're right about film festivals serving other purposes. However, there isn't that sense of film-lover camaraderie at the TFF. Starfucking, parties, and self-promotion seemed to be the hot topics surrounding this festival.

As I mentioned in my first post, those of us covering the festival relied heavily on conversing with each other, for so few of the films in the festival arrived with any buzz.

Also, there is the elephant in the room that nobody wants to speak about -- American indie cinema is in poor shape right now. (I'm speaking of narratives, not docs.) There wasn't a single outstanding American narrative at the fest. Nothing truly visionary, or even remotely new. "Indie cinema" has turned into a hackneyed genre.

If you recall, Sundance was rather blasé this year, and it was no different here. That Jeff Garlin's I Want Somebody To Eat Cheese With was, in my opinion, the best American narrative at the fest is more than a bit sad.

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