Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekend Mishmash: Film Fest Wrap-up

Alright, alright, so I’m WAY late with my “Weekend Mishmash” post. As you might have noticed, it’s already Monday night, and according to the rules of my blog, I should be focused on food right about now... but alas, I’m still playing catch-up after a crazy film festival weekend. The good news, however, is that Dan and I survived. Yahoo! Yahoo! Yahoo!

Despite the stress of technical difficulties, no-show volunteers, and low attendance during the televised Saints game (darn you, football!), I managed to “enjoy all the moments,” as my pal Deb suggested. Here are the top ten reasons that I’m happy to have co-hosted the third annual Big Easy International Film Festival (even though I missed all my blogging friends amid the hullabaloo):

1. Thursday night’s party at the Kerry Irish Pub was a lot of fun. Busy, yes, but I was still able to hear some terrific acoustic music (thanks, Chip Wilson!), meet several friendly out-of-town filmmakers, and snatch a mini-muffuletta and a couple “turtles” (shortbread cookies with pecans and a dollop of fudge) from the dwindling food spread.

2. My father and stepmother attended the party, while my mother brought a friend to see a few films on Saturday. It was sweet of my folks to support our festival, and I was happy that they were able to see us in our element. So, thanks, Mom and Dad!

3. Our volunteers were awesome, as always. I loved catching up with those from previous years – like wacky Gary, affectionately known as the “dancing doctor” – and I was delighted to meet new folks, too – such as Tina, the model-turned-chef.

4. The filmmakers seemed to have a wonderful time at the festival – enjoying the nightlife of New Orleans, encountering new filmmaking pals, and getting the chance to share their stories with others. I, too, loved meeting such diverse artists from all around the country – including places like Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, New York, Baltimore, and Austin.

5. As usual, the post-screening question-and-answer sessions were enlightening and hilarious. Filmgoers heard funny behind-the-scenes tales, learned a little bit about filmmaking, and discovered the inspiration behind many of the films on display.

6. Dan and I were both exceedingly proud of the overall line-up. Ranging from twisted dark comedy shorts to engaging feature-length documentaries, the list of quality films seemed to impress the filmmakers as well as the filmgoers. We grinned every time someone told us how much he/she was enjoying the experience, but we couldn’t help but wonder... how come ALL festivals don’t present such equally stupendous films?

7. Although one feature – an amazing film called How I Got Lost – only attracted a handful of cinema buffs (darn you, Saints!), most of the screenings had at least thirty folks in the theater, and three of them – Trapped in Katrina, The Magistical, and King of Oak Street – lured well over a hundred people each.

8. Sunday night was a great relief. Following the brief awards ceremony, Dan and I packed up the festival paraphernalia and headed into the Quarter (and, later, the Marigny) to celebrate with the attendees, many of whom expressed admiration for our event. Despite its small size and intimate vibe, it’s well organized as festivals go, and we’re apparently more accessible and active than most festival directors – another reason to feel proud.

9. The theater staff – in particular, Brian, Jack, and David – were fun and accommodating, which definitely helped to minimize the stress of this whirlwind event.

10. I must admit, too, that I was grateful to David, who gave me, Dan, and the volunteers all the free popcorn and soda we could stomach. Although I’m paying for it now, I was more than happy at the time!

P.S. Isn’t it just like me to begin and end a post with a shot of food? Guess I honored "Monday Munchies" after all. Hehehe.


Stephanie Thornton said...

Looks like you had a lot of fun and now it's over. Woohoo!

I love acoustic music- it's great! I've got an acoustic women of the world CD that's nice and mellow. It makes for good writing music sometimes.

Hmmm... Why am I getting this sudden urge for popcorn?

Laura Martone said...

Exactly, Steph! Woohoo indeed. :-)

Yeah, acoustic music is wonderful - I also find it inspiring for my writing. For my current WIP, I listened to the same Tracy Chapman song over and over again. Totally cool.

Mmm... popcorn. I can't believe I'm not sick of it yet.

Mike said...

Hey Laura what's shaking? I'm wondering who won the awards. I actually had a film in the festival but am too destitute to travel.

Laura Martone said...

Hi, Mike! We had a few "Mikes" involved with the fest, who weren't able to make it. So, I'm not sure which one you are, but no matter what, feel free to email me (, and I'd be more than happy to send you our latest press release. I'll have Dan post the winners on the website tomorrow. Cheers! :-)

A misinterpreted wave said...

Seriously, your life looks hectic. It looks (ironically) like something out of a movie and I can't believe that someone gets to live that life. Fantastic and life inspiring update as usual :)

Susan R. Mills said...

Sounds like a great time! That last pic made me want to go to the movies just for the popcorn.

Natalie said...

Wow, that looks awesome! What an undertaking! I bet you're glad to have it done :)

Becky said...

Yea! I hope you're taking a much deserved break! Glad to hear it all went well :-). Gosh I bet Michigan seems as much of a distant memory for you as it does for me too...

Bane of Anubis said...

Congrats all around. Hopefully you'll be able to take a big nice break now.

L. T. Host said...

Glad it went well-- wish I could have been there!

Stephanie Damore said...

Too cool. Now take a break and chillax - you and Dan deserve it.

Laura Martone said...

Chris - Well, it's a hectic life, for sure, but I like to think of it as "rich with craziness." Thanks for stopping by - and for being so sweet, as always.

Susan - Teehee. I love making people hungry. Popcorn is the perfect snack indeed - especially when it's free. Yippee!

Natalie - It was fun at times, crazy at others, but, yes, I'm kinda glad it's over. Now, I have more time for my beloved bloggers. ;-)

Laura Martone said...

Becky - I'm trying, I'm trying. But there are other things to do still. Ugh. And, yes, Michigan seems like a loooonnnnggg time ago. Too much has already happened since leaving last month.

Bane - Thanks boonches! Oh, but what's a break?

L.T. - Wish you could've been here, too! I'm only sorry I missed Mad Libs. :-(

Steph D. - Thanks! And, yes, time to chillax... if I can remember how. ;-)

TheWordWire said...

Congratulations on a successful event! I know that must be so much work to pull together -- Hopefully you'll have a little time to rest before digging in to your next big project! Thanks for sharing the details.

Laura Martone said...

Thanks, Wordy! Film fests ARE a lot of work, but they're also very rewarding... especially when they go fairly smoothly, which ours usually do. Uh, except for the time there was a blackout in just our part of Beverly Hills. Can you believe it?!