How About the Local Film Festivals?
I started to go to film festivals showing short projects, always a wonderful opportunity for a “workation”. You are out-of-town, can focus on the films, and it’s easier to keep up with all the networking. Somehow it’s different for me with New York-based festivals: when there isn’t a specific project to push, it’s easier to overlook the screenings happening on the other side of town. To remedy the situation… I contacted the Big Apple Film Festival, and ended up moderating some of their post-screening Q&A. Exciting!
The first feature I saw was shot in Haiti: “In The Eye of the Spiral” is a collaboration between director Raynald Leconte and writer Eve Blouin. A first feature for the pair, but you can feel the years of experience in advertising, resulting in a documentary with unusually stunning visuals. Exploring the intricate relationship between art and the divine, the narrative takes us on a multilingual ride across social classes and the rich history of the island. It’s as if we are experiencing Spiralism, the literary movement rooted in Haitian culture about the interconnected, unpredictable and chaotic nature of our universe. Foreign thinkers, a fluid edit without conventional structure, and the almost-proof that that spirituality can be a direct source of inspiration… so much resonated with how I see the world. And attending the premiere of a film narrated by Annie Lennox in the intimate setting of a New York festival, also being the first to ask questions to the filmmakers about their picture is priceless. Period.
This year was the 11th edition of the Big Apple Film Festival, a family operation that attracts a different crowd every year. The founder of the festival Jonathan Lipp and his right arm Aaron Levine, present a cocktail of films with New York overtones from different genres. Most of all, the festival—whose claim to fame is Filmmaker’s Magazine top film fest worth the entry fee, as well as some high profile Emerging Award recipients such as Alan Cumming or Jesse Eisenberg (mainly guys)—is a tremendous opportunity for New York film talent to network and support each other. Ok now, where are the other alumni of the festival? It’s always really helpful when we get in, so it feels good to be able to support the festival back. I ended up chatting with Brian Smith over pizza. He has written three horror screenplays. So different, I didn’t except it. It made my day. To be perfectly honest, most of my friends I met at film festivals.