Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Fun Times at LAFF and great eats at Animal

I had a great time out at LAFF last week, although I neglected to take more than one filmy blog photo.

Anne Cecere (BMI), George Shaw (Film Composer),
 (Damn, what was her name!!), Peter Paul Basler (Producer, Big Heart City.)

I had a great time catching up with the very excellent 2008 sxsw premiere, Medicine of Melancholy. I was thrilled to be there supporting the two Austin-made LAFF premieres: Trinidad and I'll Come Running. (I'm particularly proud to have a prominent "Thanks" in the Trinidad credits. I fell in love with this doc early on, so remained an active, vocal rough cut screener. I think all involved -- directors PJ Raval and Jay Hodges, editor Kyle Henry, composer Frank Alexander, and executive producer Matt Dentler did a great job on a really fascinating subject.) Enjoyed the doc Paper and Plastic, and Sundance narrative, Frozen River. And what I really went crazy for was the fantastic new Werner Herzog doc, Encounters at the End of the World. As I've written before, I've a deep soft spot for Herzog. I love the sound of his voice, I love his narrative voice. This recent doc in Antartica is a particular delight. I highly recommend it.

~Encounters at the End of the World~

I was out at LAFF in my new festival programmer role - catching up with films, but really more, this time of year, catching up with old and new contacts. There were plenty of filmmakers, press, and industry - all easy to see, and wonderful to engage with. I attended the Financing Conference, the Texas Film Commission Brunch at Spago, the Austin Film Society party celebrating the Austin films, lots of moments in the Target Red Room, The Cinemocracy Party, and IFC Film's particularly fabulous soiree at the Sunset Marquis, celebrating their two recent sxsw premiere acquisitions, Medicine for Melancholy and The Pleasure of Being Robbed.

Lots of conversations. Lots of time management. At the AFS party, I was deep in talk with Eddie Schmidt and AJ Schnack when I kept spotting IFP's Amy Dotson out of the corner of my eye. I couldn't break away. Finally, as the party was ending, I managed a quick, "You hungry?" and next found myself in a car with Amy and two strangers on our way to Fairfax, two doors up from Cantors. It turns out one of the "strangers" was producer Sarah Hendler, and Animal is her boyfriend's new restaurant. It was delicious!! The company and conversation were grand, but the three of us newbies went crazy for the food. Definitely worth the trip.

Producer Sarah Hendler and Chef Vinny Dotolo at Animal

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