Wednesday, December 07, 2016

AIFF2016: Catching My Breath - Prince Achmed, Best And Most Beautiful Things, Real Boy,

I've got lots more video than I have time to go through without staying up to 3am each night.  I'll get it up when I can.  I accidentally got my Rebel to get into this 3X digital video (don't know how I got there or how to turn it off) that works great for after the film Q&A.  But what I got is long and needs editing.  Unfortunately a project I've been working on since last spring or so, requires more of my time just this week.

But this has been a great festival so far in terms of the quality of films and the film makers here.  So here are some glimpses of things I haven't put up yet.

I haven't taken pictures during the movie for a very long time, but it just seemed I had to do it with the Adventures of Prince Achmed.  I'll get more up soon (I hope.)

This was the 1926 German animated film created by Lotte Reiniger.  They say it's the oldest full length animated film in existence. It was wonderful, paper cuttings animation.  The Milestone Films (where you can buy the DVD)  says:

"This cinematic treasure has been beautifully restored with its spectacular color tinting and with a new orchestral recording of the magnificent 1926 score by Wolfgang Zeller."

Miles and Karina with AIFF director Rebecca Pottebaum

Well, we didn't get the 1926 score by Zeller with the film.  Instead we got an enchanted score by Miles and Karina (David Keenan and Nova Devonie).

They are pictured here after the film with AIFF Director Rebecca Pottebaum.

Putnam and Hunter

Prince Achmed was followed by The First Girl I Loved - a beautiful and touching . . .   ok, it's hard to write a short description of a movie without sounding clichéd and hypish.  It's the story of a high school student and her first love, told in a way that makes them any two awkward high school students exploring their feelings and how to connect.    The picture is of the film's producers Ross Putnam and David Hunter.

Tuesday night (it's the beginning of Wednesday as I write) we  The Best and Most Beautiful Things paired with Real Boy.  The two films complemented each other perfectly.  In both documentaries the film makers essentially moved in with the families whose stories they were capturing on film.  In Best and Most Beautiful - the focus was on Michele Smith who, while legally blind, is determined to be herself and live a full and rich life.  The producer/director Garrett Zevgetis - on the right there - said one way they were able to get the trust of the family and the intimacy they got, was by having female camera folks.  I have a close friend who is blind and I appreciated how well the story demonstrated the kinds of barriers society puts up for blind people.  Michele finds an accepting community in the local BDSM community, where, as Garrett explained in the Q&A, people are very accepting and non-judgmental and there is a structure that offers control and safety.  Michele's sign for the gay pride festival says "Redefine Normal."  That's appropriate for the next film too.

Credits Real Boy
Real Boy shares a very similar documentary style of the filmmakers living with the family for a long period of time and capturing candid and difficult conversations among the family members over Rachel's name and body change to Bennett.  An incredible scene shows Ben talking to a bunch of transitioning teens online demonstrating how modern technology is making finding like souls much easier than in the past.  He even finds a close friend named Dylan who is having his surgery the same day and place and they travel together.  I've got some video of Ben's Q&A afterward and will try to get it up before too long.

Real Boy's subject Bennett Wallace was there for the showing, sang a couple of songs and then was joined by animator Alex Myung, whose beautiful short animation - Arrival - showed before Real Boy.  There's a short video of Alex I got opening night here, and I've got video of the Q&A that I'll get up eventually.

Finally I got to talk to John Serpe whose film The Happys I missed last Sunday, but which will show again Sunday [Saturday] at 2pm.  I'll put up the video of his pitch before then.  Of interest to me was the origin of the name - The Happys - which John said was a rough translation of the part of LA where the film was made - Los Feliz.  It's also a part I know from growing up in LA and living in nearby Silverlake before we came to Alaska 39 years ago.

I was going to add dates of the second showing of the movies mentioned in this post, but when I checked, it turns out that most aren't having a second showing.  There are some feature films showing twice, but not most of those in competition. I highly recommend Planet Ottakring which plays again on Saturday at 7pm.  Some of the award winners will play again Sunday night, but there won't be much warning of what they are.  I'll try to live blog and tweet the awards ceremony.

1 comment:

  1. The Happys 2nd screening is actually Saturday 12/10 at 2pm (not Sunday).


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