Producer Rosa Tran, actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, Co-director Duke Johnson and co-director/writer Charlie Kaufman of Anomalisa
I wanted to wrap up my posts about AFI Fest 2015 (previous ones are here) before it gets to be any later in the month. On Tuesday night, David and I headed to the American Cinematheque to see Anomalisa.
Part of the AFI Fest film going experience, is that in order to get a seat in the theatre, you have to get in line as early as possible. We barely made it into Michael Moore's film despite being second and third in line! We arrived about three and a half hours before Anomalisa began and by the time we were given numbered tickets, we were fifteenth and sixteenth in line (after being fourth and fifth in line when we first arrived.) Yes, the tickets are free, but this doesn't mean you don't have to work for them by which I mean standing in line for hours at a time. We do this because we want to see films that sound unique and interesting, but also for the often rare chance to see the filmmakers live.
Anomalisa was interesting. It is an animated stop-motion film, but unlike any I have ever seen. It was fascinating to watch because the characters were so life-like you had to wonder why they chose animation as their medium. When the film ended, it was a treat to see the filmmakers and some of the cast. They spoke for a bit after the film and answered questions. On his way out, Kaufman graciously signed my DVD of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (But I still wish I had a book for him to sign.)
Some folks laugh and shake their heads when I tell them that I like to sit in the front row of the movie theater. I have two reasons for this. First one: if I can get someone to sign one of my books, the front row is the best place to be for this to happen. But my main reason for sitting in the front row center is that I want to only be able to see the screen. I don't want to see other people's heads or phones or anything else other than what is on the big screen. I love the film going experience and this is my favorite way to see a film.
A bodyguard looks on as Director Ridley Scott speaks
The next night, we attended, "On Directing: A Conversation with Ridley Scott." Looking at the photo, all I can think is that I need a cell phone camera with a better zoom (we were in the front row and only about five seats from Scott.) Unfortunately, AFI scheduled two conversations on the same day around the same time. David and I always enjoy seeing Ridley Scott speak and while it would've been very nice to have seen Michael Caine, a full hour of listening to a filmmaker speak vs a much shorter talk and a film, well, it was no question as to what we were going to attend.
Scott spoke for about an hour. He was in rare form (we've seen him a few times and he's usually very stoic) laughing and smiling as he told stories and answered questions. Some things that he said that stayed with me: "If you can draw, you can do anything." "Always say yes even if you don't have any ideas." (This was in regard to being asked awhile back if he had any ideas for a Blade Runner sequel.) And "films should always be big. Otherwise, they're boring." He also excited the crowd by describing what he said was the opening of Blade Runner 2, but was actually very similar to the opening of one of the early drafts of the original movie which, despite never being used, was storyboarded and the storyboard is on Youtube. He concluded by saying we'd have to pay to see the rest.
At the end of the talk, folks jumped up for autographs. Scott signed only a very small handful of things for fans and David was just about to get his book signed when security grabbed Ridley Scott and rushed him out the door. C'est la vie.
Adam McKay, like most directors, likes to speak with his hands
Our final film of the festival was The Big Short. We arrived over five hours before the film was scheduled to start and were about sixteenth in line. By the time they handed out numbered tickets, we were 45th and 46th. We were hoping to be put in the main theatre with the cast and crew but as we watched the line grow with people saving seats for folks who weren't there (or folks who had the audacity to go to see a film and then ask their friends to save spaces for them!), we knew it didn't look good. The whole system is ridiculous. Ideally, numbers would be handed out as you get in line, especially for an premiere event like this.
While I didn't get to see Christian Bale in person (unless you count seeing a crowd of fans surrounding him, from across Hollywood Blvd.), I did get to see one of the best films to come out of Hollywood in a very long time, The Big Short, as well as the director, Adam McKay, who came over to Chinese 1, the smaller theatre, and introduced his film. One week later, I'm still thinking about The Big Short. I don't like to talk about films until I've seen them and I don't want to spoil it for you. I'd recommend not reading about it and just going to see it as soon as it's released. I had to pick my jaw up off of the floor several times during the film and I walked out both frightened and just amazed by the film I had just seen. It packed a punch and it hasn't let go of me since.
My previous Posts about AFI Fest 2015 can be found here.
AFI Fest 2015 YouTube Channel