Tuesday, June 10, 2008

NYAFF Update.


What a crazy week this has been! Frantic, rushed and totally chaotic but we finally put the schedule, the program, ticket sales and the program book to bed at 6.a.m. yesterday after a final flurry of changes, confirmations and write-ups. This has become a yearly tradition though – trek out to New Jersey and do an all-nighter to finalize the Program book. It is kind of fun – like a grown-up sleepover. As of my last blog post on the 30th I think we had 31 films in the fest and were looking for another 10 or so. Somehow we ended up at 43 films and 2 Korean short programs! Trying to cram them all into the schedule was a nightmare and unfortunately there are a number of films that don’t have great screening times – there just wasn’t room at the inn.

As I mentioned before we are doing these weekday matinee screenings for the first time and we know they will be a hard sell – I mean who isn’t working other than me? Hopefully, some folks will sneak out of work to attend - and in order to make it cheaper we are doing a Matinee Six Pack – buy six tickets for the price of four or even better we are offering a pass to all matinee shows for $99. That includes at last count about 19 different films. Not a bad deal. As long as you aren’t working!

So the films came in a tidal wave. We had lots of invites out but didn’t expect to get so many of them at the last minute and we find it hard to ever say no to a film we like. It got messy though – one film we were trying to get for weeks was finally approved by the distributor and then just a day before going to press they e-mailed us to let us know that – oops – the print will be in another fest at the same time and you can’t show it. Since it wasn’t a film I particularly liked I wasn’t much bothered but the other guys like it a lot (hint – it’s a HK film with a biblical sounding title). We also had an airline who led us to believe that they were going to sponsor the fest with some free tickets and at the last minute they said no. Sorry. Who are you guys? So we won’t have many guests this year I am afraid – the cost of airline tickets is insane.

So here in shorthand are some of these last films we added:

The Bodyguard 1 and 2 (Thailand) – these are just plain goofy action films that we have been trying to show for a while now – especially the first one going back three years but we never were able to. Magnolia has them now and they were kind enough to let us show them and to get us 35mm prints at their cost.

Action Boys – (Korea) – this was a great last minute find from Goran. It is a documentary that follows a number of stuntmen from going to stunt school to working on the sets of films like City of Violence and others. It is humorous, cruel and warm and a real tribute to these guys. I think a bunch of them are flying over on their own dime for the film and may perform a few of these stunts. This is a cool movie.

Arch Angels – (Japan) - major guilty pleasure of mine – school girl super heroines – need I say more?

Chanbara Beauty – (Japan) – another guilty pleasure (there are a few of these in the fest) - just check out the poster above to see why.

Dororo (Japan) – solid fantasy sword fighting film that is along the same lines as Shinobo.

Like a Dragon (Japan) – our second Miike film in the fest and we wanted another (Crows) that we couldn’t get. It’s basically one hot night in Shinjuko and everybody is irritable and after 10 billion yen in stolen money. Liked this a lot.

Love on Sunday 1 & 2 – Yay! – I really wanted to bring these over even though they are quiet films that may not get much of an audience – watched them again the other night to write up a small blurb and liked them just as much the second time. Last night I had this dream in which I was at an airport and got a call from the distributor saying we had to pull Love on Sunday from our fest - thus combining my fear of flying anxiety and my film fest anxiety into one shuddering puddle of sweat. I had to check this morning to see if the film was still on our schedule!

Sasori (Hong Kong) – didn’t see this but two of our members did and just grinned a lot when asked about it – I have no idea what to expect.

Shamo (Hong Kong) – I may be one of the few people to like this a lot – but I think it is just brutal fun.

X-Cross - man the trouble we went to get permission to show this film, but we all just like it a lot and would not take a No answer – two girls in peril in a town of cripples who want to sacrifice them and a Lolita goth psycho with a giant pair of scissors. It is nutty.

So clearly we went from a mildly serious fest to a total fanboy blow out in the last week! We just can’t help ourselves because behind the curtain that's what we are.

Someone in the comment section asked about Love on Sunday appearing on digital beta. There are actually a bunch that are this year but only because this was the only format that these films are available in for festivals. And most of them were shot in digital. The format of a film actually means a lot to us – there are two films (Mad Detective, Dororo) that we are showing in which the US distributor only had them on digibeta and we went to the original source to get 35mm prints at a fair amount of cost to us. Hopefully, the digital formats will look fine.

Go to our site to read about the films and hopefully buy a few tickets!
That’s all for now. I desperately need some sleep.