It’s been a busy period and I have found it hard to keep all the balls in the air at once. Since something had to give, blogging and social media were put to the side. I have been on the circuit: Missoula, Montana and Seattle, Washington (on separate trips), New York, Paris, Amsterdam and then returning to New Haven, just in time to catch another film festival. Here’s a quick account with a few photos.
I am particularly grateful to the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival because its invitation to screen Errol Morris: A Lightning Sketch led to the final completion of the film. Their invitation meant I finally completed the film. It even inspired tightning the opening scenes in a way that finally gave the documentary a crisp opening. On the promise of a debut, I was able to raise finish funds for the sound mix and color correction. (In fact, the technology for this had changed far more radically than I had realized. An eye opening experience.)
Nothing like a deadline to focus one’s efforts.Six days before the scheduled screening, we finally got a final DVD and Blue Ray. It was a little tense and certainly intense. Attending to small glitches and issues of sync can be nerve racking and exhausting. Thanks to Lee Faulkner and Louisa de Cossey, we made the deadline. In the old days, we would have talked about “answer prints.” I showed the third answer print of Before the Nickelodeon at the New York Film Festival press screening. And the final (fourth) for the premiere. We no longer have prints and I asked various people what they call the present-day equivalent. Uncertainty prevailed. Lee Faulkner proposed “release candidate” as in Release Candidate A, Release Candidate B. If so, we got up to about Release Candidate J before calling it quits.
Big Sky Film Festival was terrific as I reconnected with people from my past. Nick Doob, who taught me some of the basics of synching dailies when he was a graduate student and I an undergraduate at Yale some 40 years ago, was there to screen Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life & Times of Katrina Gilbert which he produced and directed with Shari Cookson. Jan Krawitz, who runs the documentary program at Stanford, was there with Perfect Strangers. We had last met at the 1982 New York Film Festival where she screened Little People (1982) and I screened Before the Nickelodeon (1982). In fact we were on a panel together.
Another unexpected pleasure was to discover that there were three other New Haven filmmakers at the festival, with two other films. Gorman’s wife runs the coffee shop around the corner from my office. Despite his remarkable productivity, we had never met. He was there with his documentary Every Everything: The Music, Life & Times of Grant Hart (2103). Jacob Bricca was there with his documentary Tatanka (2014), a portrait of his father who had been a political activist in the 1960s. I have known Jacob more because of his wife Lisa Molomot who did a fabulous job filling in for us, teaching Documentary Film Workshop and another course at Yale. Typically, we find it hard to meet in New Haven and had a dinner together in Missoula, Montana!
I was out at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference in Seattle Washington, March 19-23rd. This was my first father-daughter conference–both immensely pleasurable and at the same time sobering for all the obvious reasons. As it turned out, we booked the same flight from Newark Airport.