Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Day Five: Our First Screening

Monday, October 18.
Ignore, if you can, the two big heads in the foreground. Back by the screen are all of the filmmakers whose films were in the Colorado Filmmakers Showcase I. Brad is to the left of the guy talking, and I'm next to Brad. This was the Q & A session after the shorts were shown. But I'm getting ahead of myself!

Julie and I met Brad up at the Filmmaker's Lounge to grab a bite to eat before the screening. The Filmmaker's Lounge is cool, a small room with free food & drinks for the filmmakers; a nice place to hang out. Brad had gotten a snazzy new brown corduroy sports coat (which appears to be the fashion du jour among men at the festival ... I'll be wearing mine Wednesday night) but hadn't taken the stitching out of the pockets. Here's Julie helping him out.

Then we headed down to the theater area to wait for everyone. We had some friends show who hadn't bought tickets yet and couldn't get in, as the screening was completely sold out. Wednesday's, incidentally, is also sold out. Once we got into the theater and it started filling up, my nerves started flying. I probabaly only knew about 10-15 people in the theater, which was great because ultimately you want to see if your film is enjoyable to people who have no vested interest in you at all. Since this was five shorts all by Colorado filmmakers, I'm guessing the majority of people in there were friends of the filmmakers. It was great to see people coming out specifically to support independent film by Colorado filmmakers.

Hempmento was the third film shown out of five. The first two were White Noise and Herbie. I'm not going to spend time critiquing them here. Suffice it to say I was impressed with the overall quality of the shorts in our collection. They were all very different from one another, which was very cool.

So the second film Herbie finished. The screen went black. My heart started beating double-time. I was squeezing Julie's hand (I had spilled a full glass of wine in her lap a while ago, so I was a bit surprised she would even hold my hand). It seemed like it took two hours for our movie to start. But then the familiar piano started and the screen filled with smoke. The movie began. I nearly peed my pants.

People loved Hempmento. They were cracking up, sometimes so hard they missed dialogue. It was obvious the majority of people in the theater had seen Mememto by the "lauging in the right place" that occurred throughout our film. But you could also tell -- and this was very important to those of us who made it -- that they appreciated our film on its own and not just the parody aspect. I took it as a good sign when the first title came up on the screen, "Cinema Geeks Presents," and people laughed at that. They laughed from beginning to end.

I've seen Hempmento a hundred times, and when I watch it now, all I see are mistakes and things I'd change. Plus, the sound in the theater was screwed up -- one channel was out or something, so the volume was pretty low and some of our sound effects (doorbells, knocks, etc.) were missing. And there were some glitches with the video toward the end. But I stepped back and let the audience's enjoyment soak me. They really did enjoy the movie. Which was our simple, ultimate goal: Make people laugh. Mission accomplished.

After our film were Tiffany at Breakfast and Killing Kevin (Costner). Both very good, very funny. Killing Kevin was made by a friend of mine, and it was extremely well done, incredibly funny. Some of my friends acted in it as well. It was great to see it on screen. Then it was over. The filmmakers went up to the front of the audience for questions.

It took a while for the questions to start. Most of them were general: "What were your budgets?" kind of questions. But some were more specific to the individual films. That lasted about 20 minutes or so. Then we left the theater and headed to the Colorado Filmmakers Reception at the bar Forest Room 5 (cool place). Here's the gang there.

We got a lot of compliments that night, from the other filmmakers, people in the audience, etc. Brad had gotten me a beautiful Cohiba cigar, so we smoked those as a celebration of last night and in anticipation of tomorrow night.


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