Fin de FFF ’09

The Florida Film Festival’s final film has played, the popcorn has been dropped onto the carpet, the last ticket stub left in the jeans pocket to be washed a week later in the laundry and leaving a mess in your dryer.

There’s still the staff and volunteer party going on Tuesday, but now it’s time for me to hang up my volunteer badge and get back to the growing stack of DVDs I’ve been neglecting.

Awesome times.  Awesome films.  I saw at least one film every day of the festival except for Monday, ate more popcorn than I should have, and left work early to catch documentaries.  Fabulous.  The calibre of films I’d seen were great overall.  A handful of the animated and international animated shorts didn’t grab me, but these were ameliorated by the completely stellar ones I did see.  I got to shake hands with Bill Plympton, animation idol whose work on MTV’s Liquid Television has left an indelible mark on my psyche.  I felt I had grown up with his work, and said so.  I hope that didn’t make him feel old.  Whether I made Mr Plympton feel old or not, I did get to walk  away with his autograph to treasure for all my days.  H’rays!

Another marvelous FFF moment was getting to meet Lev Yilmaz, known for his Tales of Mere Existence.  Last year, the Florida Film Festival screened some of his animated shorts, which appeal to society’s cynics such as I.  The stories told were incredibly hilarious and relatable, and I had gotten back into his work recently online, looking at his websites (new and old) and watching his shorts on YouTube.  So, I was very pleased to not only see his work screened at the film festival again, but Mr Yilmaz was in attendance for the screening of these shorts.  I watched the Wednesday screening of Animated Shorts at Enzian, and had to ask Lev Yilmaz if he would be at the Regal screening on Friday to sell his new book, Sunny Side Down, and DVD.  

“You see, I don’t get paid until tomorrow!”

Lucky for me and my low funds, I was able to run into him prior to the Friday screening at Regal after initial hesitation, worried I might seem a bit crazy to confront this man with cash and demands for products.  But no, on the contrary, Mr Yilmaz was very kind, stopping to pick up a bookmark I had dropped while grabbing my wallet out of my cavernous bag of mischief, and imparting his own experience of being in London, warning me sternly that the British are not like what one sees on BBC America.  Lev smelled of pipe smoke, and I complimented his coat, which was a bit unseasonable in the Florida humidity, but nonetheless was a dashing fashion statement.

Oh, my brushes with fame.

proudpicgrandpaBefore I close my discussion of the animated shorts, I have to mention my joy and wonder upon seeing Don Hertzfeldt’s latest, “I Am So Proud of You.”  As a huge fan of Rejected and everything else I’ve seen of his work, this final short on Wednesday night was nothing short of sublime.  If you are unfamiliar with Don’s work, I strongly suggest you look into it.  Really, if you don’t, I’ll drive past your house and give you intimidating glances as I roll past in my car, very slowly.  At the moment, I own a DVD copy of Rejected, but I’m looking to buy the rest of his work, sans “Proud,” on DVD.  This is if I can keep Whole Foods from sucking all my money away.  “I Am So Proud of You” received the Grand Jury Prize at the Florida Film Festival, just to give you an idea of how remarkable it was.  Per the website:  I am so proud of you will come to DVD later this summer. Or maybe autumn. We’re not quite sure.

I eagerly await its release, so that I may watch it unfettered by people walking in between me and the screen.

Aside from animated shorts, I did see incredible documentaries, such as The Garden, which I talked about in my last blog post.  Anvil: The Story of Anvil was a poignant documentary about Anvil, a band that could have been, should have been, but somehow didn’t quite get propelled into the fame bequeathed to other metal brethren.

Even with all the films I was lucky to have seen, there were still a few shows I am dismayed to have missed for whatever reason.  I didn’t get to see any of the short film screenings, for example, and I heard the CGI Battle for Terra was good.  Also wanted to see Em, but that didn’t happen.  Smile ‘Til It Hurts: The Up With People Story is probably the film I most regret not seeing at the Florida Film Festival, dealing with a motivational and performance group spawned in the ’60s.  I really wanted to see the film, but, alas, it just didn’t happen.  I can console myself with reading the blog.

Overall, I was glad to have the chance to see many films I wouldn’t have otherwise known about, and was happy to have spent time with friends seeing these screenings.  Yay for Hao, Clark, Mike, Marie, Joe, Andrew and Melanie for being my film buddies for some of the movies shown during the Florida Film Festival.  You made watching sexy French film stars, animated violence and advertising executives all the more enjoyable.

I will end this with a link to Lev Yilmaz’s animated short, How To Cope With Depression.  Enjoy.

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