Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Travels: Film Fests and Lighthouses

This past weekend, I had to put my Florida Keys travel guide aside and focus on one of my other ongoing projects: the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival, a small independent film festival that my husband and I began five years ago. For this year's fest, the opening night party took place at Hollywood Billiards, while the actual films were screened at Raleigh Studios on Melrose Avenue. It was inevitable that filmmakers would ask about the origin of our name – given that the entire event took place in Hollywood, not Beverly Hills – but a change of venue was unfortunately required this year. Hey, better to have taken place in the wrong neighborhood than not at all, right?

Anyway, despite the fact that I'm stressed out from my never-ending travel guide work and still recovering from a head cold, I enjoyed plenty of moments from this weekend's event. The party on Thursday night was, of course, a highlight – as were all the informative, funny, and often poignant behind-the-scenes tales revealed during the post-screening Q&As. One particularly touching moment occurred after the first drama program on Friday night, when Pauley Perrette (zany Abby Sciuto on NCIS) revealed her own personal connections to To Comfort You, the short drama in which she stars as a dying young woman.

The rest of the festival was just as memorable. Although our attendance was lower than in previous years, those festival-goers that did attend seemed pleased with the film selections – which always makes me and Dan feel proud. So, despite snafus like having the wrong HD deck on Friday and fighting L.A. Marathon traffic on Sunday, it went fairly smoothly.

And, as always, we couldn't have done it without our awesome volunteers, especially Jen, Angel, and Doug (thanks, guys!).

But, of course, now that the weekend is over, I've had to double my efforts with the travel guide to make up for lost time. Although I was able to get a little bit done in the projection booth – including a post about other film festivals – there's a lot left to be done before I can put the Florida Keys behind me for a little while. Of course, it doesn't help that Dan and I will be in Michigan in roughly two weeks – a fact that has already conjured up visions of lighthouses and tall trees and places that are a world away from southern Florida. I swear, the life of a nomad sure takes some getting used to – for one thing, it's hard to leave our friends and family behind in each port of call – but at least the scenery changes a lot.


Donna Hole said...

You know what; Michigan sounds like a place I'd like to visit when my novel sells. It just has a homey feel to the state.

If you ever decide to do a photo post on Lighthouses, I'm here for the viewing. I just love lighthouses.

I wish your filmfest went better; but you know, not everything is a 100 percent hit. I guess if the economy can suffer, so must the creative arts. You'll be back on top in no time though.

Thanks for all your tidbits and thoughts.


Laura Martone said...

Hi, Donna! You SHOULD visit Michigan someday - it truly IS a gorgeous state... very homey indeed. That's why we live there during the summer - well, that, and the fact that we avoid extreme heat that way. :-)

As for lighthouses, I'll be sure to post something like that in the not-too-distant future.

Yeah, I wish the film fest had been more successful - creative endeavors are, in general, suffering in this economy - but I'm still proud of the hubby for pulling it off. Anyway, thanks for the support!

R.R.Jones said...

Wow, your own festival! Nice one!
It sounded great and I get the impression everyone came out a winner in the end by just having a good time and being among like minded people.
I'm still impressed about the festival thing actually, lol. Well done you two.

Becky said...

2 weeks?! Oh my! Is that for the rest of the summer? I can't wait to read about how the place is doing! Get better, and safe travels!!

Laura Martone said...

R.R. - Thanks for the kind words about our film fest. Although my hubby is disappointed about the lower attendance numbers, I keep trying to tell him that it's still a success - for the very reasons you stated. People DID seem to have a good time - at the party AND at the screenings. And several attendees complimented us on our selections - so, despite the setbacks, I'm proud of our achievement. Besides, doing a film fest year after year, for five years, is an accomplishment, too. Either we have serious endurance or we're major gluttons for punishment. Haha!

Laura Martone said...

Hiya, Becky! Well, from here, we're headed to New Orleans briefly (to see the family) and then we'll be off to Michigan. So, despite a quick jaunt down to the Big Easy for French Quarter Fest and/or Jazz Fest, yes, we plan to be in Michigan from April to September or October. Think we'll get tired of all the beauty and solitude?

Becky said...

Nope! ;-) Missing it myself right now!!

Laura Martone said...

Yeah, you're probably right, B! It's a hard place to get tired of.

Bane of Anubis said...

The only time I remember being in Michigan was when we were visiting some colleges for my older brother -- went to some giant sand dune... awesome memory, but have no clue where it was.

Thanks for evoking a random good memory - those are always nice :)

Laura Martone said...

I love the sand dunes in Michigan, Bane! Even climbed them last summer. Your memory was probably about the dunes along Lake Michigan, maybe Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore... which are, incidentally, the largest freshwater dunes in the country.

And I'm glad that I evoked a random good memory for you - always happy to help!

A misinterpreted wave said...

It seriously seems like only yesterday that you were talking about a film festival you and Dan were running. Good luck with the next couple of weeks.

Your last pic looks like an awesome setting for some sort of 'haunted narrative'. Maybe it's the angle the shot is taken from, but it really suggests voyerism *stalker ghost style*. Hope that makes sense.

Laura Martone said...

Well, Chris, that's not too surprising. We run two of them! One in New Orleans in the fall, and one in Los Angeles in the winter/spring. So, it does sort of feel like there's always one happening - or, at least, being prepared for.

Anyway, thanks for the luck (good to see your name here, by the way!) - hope you're doing well, too - and thanks for the compliment about the lighthouse photo. I totally agree with you - it's the kind of dramatic angle that you often see in those haunted-house type shows on the Discovery, Travel, and History channels.