Friday, December 03, 2010

AIFF 2010: Charles Burnett and NightJohn

Film maker Charles Burnett after NightJohn Showing

Although the Festival doesn't officially begin until Friday night, there was a pre-festival showing at the Anchorage Museum of Charles Burnett's NightJohn Thursday night.  I heard someone describe Burnett as the best American film maker that no one knows.  But the other film makers there all talked about being in the same room with a legend.

Here, for example, is Fanny, Annie, and Danny film maker Chris Brown talking about Charles Burnett.  (This is a very short video.)

This is a 1996 film about a slave who'd escaped to freedom in the North on his third try and then came back to the South so he could teach other slaves to read.  This was a Disney film, but with a black director and tells the story from the slaves' point of view.  Powerful stuff. 
But I don't have time to do too much except put up some pictures.  I'm not putting up any pictures from the after film talk because even I have some standards about photo quality and the ones I took, well the documentation of the event doesn't erase the low quality of the pictures.  But here are a couple of the reception afterward.

Anyone complaining about the expense of $8 festival tickets should have been at the museum tonight.  Not only was this 1996 film free, but so was the spread afterward.

I've pretty much given up eating cheese for health reasons, but I'd talked to Fromagio owner Helen Howarth last summer before the store was open and when I saw all the exquisite cheeses there, I was pretty sure I knew where it came from.  And I tasted some.  I completely understand anyone's addiction.  This is not your typical packaged American cheese.

Here's Burnett with a film festival volunteer.

And here he was good enough to pose with film maker Chris Brown, whose Fanny, Annie, and Danny plays Saturday at 5:30pm at the Bear Tooth.  I got to see it on dvd this week and the characters were so real and compelling that they seem like people I actually spent a couple of hours with. 

And the third person is Dawnell Smith, the Festival general manager.

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