Saturday, December 03, 2016

AIFF2016: Full House For Opening Night North American Premiere of Sugar Mountain

Blackwater Railroad Company
Seats were getting scarce 40 minutes before things were schedule to start.  Anchorage International Film Festival director Rebecca Pottebaum enthusiastically welcomed everyone to the festival, thanked all the sponsors, and introduced the Seward based Alaska band Blackwater Railroad Company, whose music is in the film.

I'd note that another Alaskan - Portugal the Man - came up on one of the characters iPod in the movie as well.

Shot in and around Seward, Sugar Mountain was a respectable and interesting film, with very recognizable scenery for most of the audience.  I was impressed that it was made, in part, when there was snow and ice on the ground.  The main characters, facing debt and the loss of their boat, concoct a plot to have one of them get lost in the mountains and then sell their story to the media when he's found.  Things don't go quite as planned but the dig at the media's willingness to pay for such stories is clear.  The acting was good, the story had twists and turns and surprises.  The scenery was spectacular, but the grittiness of Alaska winter also comes through.

Two of the actors - Drew Roy and Haley Webb - were there to answer questions after the movie.  They talked about coming to Alaska (which they loved) to meet co-stars they didn't know, and their relief to find each other to be serious and talented actors.  Haley agreed with a questioner that her character was the antagonist - like a submarine, below the surface, but powerful in directing things.

The film opens in theaters next week, Dec. 9.

After the Q&A, there was champagne and dessert and a time to meet and talk with folks.  I got to talk to some of the programmers for features, documentaries, and shorts.  I asked the features guys for tips on movies that didn't get into competition, but were must sees.  Some suggestions:  Money, The 6th Friend, The Holly Kane Experiment, and Hunky Dory.  I also was assured the film I've been excited about from the descriptions I found on line - Planet Ottakring (Saturday at 3:15) - is a good one.  And, my assumption that Demimonde, the film by Atilla Szász who directed the festival's 2014 Best Feature, The Ambassador To Bern, is spectacular was confirmed.  It plays Saturday at 8pm at the Bear Tooth.

Alex Myung

Among the people I got to talk to was Alex Myung, whose animated film Arrival plays Tuesday night along with the feature Gayla film Real Boy.

Shot from Alex Myung's Arrival

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be reviewed, not for content (except ads), but for style. Comments with personal insults, rambling tirades, and significant repetition will be deleted. Ads disguised as comments, unless closely related to the post and of value to readers (my call) will be deleted. Click here to learn to put links in your comment.