For as much as I watch movies, which certainly isn't anywhere near the number of films a critic watches, but lately, more than average, I've never taken that next step to complete film geekdom. I've never attended a film festival, at least, not in the serious manner of a true attendee. Not where I'm sitting and watching four films a day, every day for a week.
Of the film festivals in North America, the two that seem the biggest are TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) and NYFF, the equivalent in New York City. Sure, there's Sundance. It comes out so early in the year that some breakouts occur there before the rest of the world sees it. For example, Blair Witch Project and Memento made early debuts at Sundance.
However, from all accounts, Sundance is a miserable experience. There's snow everywhere. Getting transportation to where you need to go is a pain as well. Then, there are agents everywhere looking for the next big hit. I'd rather be in Toronto in September than Park City in January.
Perhaps one of these years, I'll find time to do the film festival plunge. I expect it's expensive. If I watch that many films a day, I'm sure to spend $40 a day for at least 5 days, and then, I'd have to pick films based on very little information. That's tough.
That's perhaps the main reason I wouldn't go. Unlike critics who average several hundred films a year, and have their ear to the ground listening to new directors domestic and abroad, I don't have similar resources. Instead, I must depend on the critics to provide me such information.
And then, am I really ready to sit through eight hours of watching movies? It's tiring enough to sit through two in a day, but four, sometimes five? Sometimes I feel like a dilettante watching films. Most filmmakers of note have a broad film vocabulary. I sometimes feel like some alumni wife who cheers for the local football team even as she knows little more than touchdowns, fumbles, and field goals.
And that leads me to an idea for my next entry...
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