April 24, 2009
St. Nick will next be headed East to the Maryland Film Festival, which has just announced its schedule. Our film is playing on Friday, May 8th at 12:45 and Sunday, May 10th at 11:00; tickets can be procured here. There are quite a few things I'm really excited about seeing there, such as Monster Road director Brett Ingram's new documentary, Rocaterrania, and Cory McAbee's Stingray Sam. Oh, and Andy Betzer's short film John Wayne Hated Horses, which was just accepted into Director's Fortnight at Cannes! The film was shot by the awesome Sean Williams, who also shot Frownland, whose director Ronnie Bronstein stars in Josh and Benny Safdie's new feature Go Get Some Rosemary, which is also debuting in Cannes. Wonderful news all around.
And Frownland, as most of the people who read this know by now, is playing this weekend on a double feature with the Safdies' The Pleasure Of Being Robbed at the Silent Movie Theater in Los Angeles. I'm going to the Saturday night screening - a whole gaggle of friends will be turning out, I think, so feel free to make our numbers swell should you feel your weekend needs an extra dose of caustic whimsy and misanthropic comedy (which, having seen both films several times already, I can assure you it does). In the meantime, do check out Ronnie's new interview with Mike Plante, which reads the way I wish I could make myself sound when I talk.
Posted by David Lowery at 6:59 PM
April 22, 2009
The Evening Class on St. Nick
I've done a good number of interviews for St. Nick these past few months, but have let my participation expire as soon I've hung up the phone - not because I don't appreciate them, but because I just don't feel comfortable trumpeting my own press.
I'll make an exception, though; I've long admired the interviews Michael Guillen posts at his renowned site, The Evening Class, and so I was commensurately thrilled when he called me up the other day to chat about St. Nick. That interview is now online, and as much as I cringe at my lack of articulation, such oral shortcomings are mitigated by the very thing that makes Michael 's interviews so wonderful to read. He brings his own insights into the conversation, his own points of reference, and uses them to really get to the heart of the matter - in short, over the course of the conversation, he deconstructs the work at hand as deftly as any critic. One reads his interviews for his own half of the discussion as much as any of his subjects.' Interviewing is a reciprocal art form, and Michael has mastered it. I'm happy to say that my own understanding of my work has been enriched by our discourse.
Posted by David Lowery at 4:00 PM
April 19, 2009
Freedom, my new best friend
Immediately on my mind is the troubling notion that the mercury hit 99 degrees in Los Angeles today. Marathon training just got a whole lot more difficult.
And now let me jump directly into a passage from Nabokov's The Real Life Of Sebastian Knight whose unique veracity hit me the other day straight between the eyes:
His struggle with words was unusually painful and this for two reasons. One was the common one with writers of his type: the bridging of the abyss lying between expression and thought; the maddening feeling that the right words, the only words are awaiting you on the opposite bank in the misty distance, and the shuddering of the still unclothed thought clamoring for them on this side of the abyss.
It goes on from there, and gets better and better, and reading it I thought that this was precisely why my arrival at any sort of written conclusion is always such an long, arduous and, in far too many instances, as-yet-unfinished process. And then a second realization overlapped the first: I was flattering myself. I don't deserve the luxury of commiserating over such creative pangs because these days I scarcely let myself feel them, so consumed am I with that most modern of distractions: the internet. I can't even pretend I'm browsing for information anymore: my online behavior these days is unmistakably that of an addict. In the amount of time I spend per day clicking listlessly through the same cycle of websites, I could have multiplied my output - or, at the very least, have a trail of bloody fingerprints on the parchment to prove that I'm working towards an output, multiplied or otherwise. It gets in the way of everything else, too; had I merely avoided Facebook just in the past week alone, I could have not only have finished reading Sebastian Knight, but devoured Nabokov's entire ouvere.
So I was thrilled last week when James pointed me in the direction of a program entitled Freedom, the sole purpose of which, as far as I'm concerned, is to rescue me from myself. It blocks all internet accessibility and networking opportunity for a duration of your own choosing; the only way to get around it, once it's in effect, is to hit the reboot button. I started using it this weekend. It worked! Moreso, within the first few minutes, simply knowing that I couldn't do so much as check my e-mail had a tremendous calming affect on my apparently addled brain. I felt at peace. And, indeed, I got stuff done. I used it for two hours this morning and wrote more than I had all weekend. As soon as I finish this I'm going to turn it back on again.
One note: I've noticed that the software, when enabled, has a habit of freezing up my desktop when I try to open up certain applications that automatically search for internet connections, such as iTunes. It even locked up Final Draft once or twice. A mild nuisance, but not even close to enough to get me to stop using it.
Posted by David Lowery at 10:51 PM
April 18, 2009
I think St. Nick should be ending in Fort Worth right about...now. I've pieced together fragments of what sounds like a really wonderful evening, particularly the live prelude provided by Bosque Brown before the curtains parted and the film began. Adam sent me pictures of the audience, and I sat in my hotel as the cats and dogs rained down outside and tried to make out familiar faces in the crowd.
Back to Los Angeles in the morning. I'm going to do my best to get as close to finished as I can with this script between now and the time my plane departs. Of course, I've been saying that for over two weeks now. Something is eluding me, and more than likely it's nothing more than discipline.
Posted by David Lowery at 9:40 PM
April 16, 2009
St. Nick at The Modern
I have quite the attachment to The Modern in Fort Worth; of all the contemporary art museums I've been too around the world, this one is still the only one that I sincerely feel is perfect. It's a breathtaking conjunction of curation, landscape and architecture (Tadao Ando's building is itself perhaps the finest work in the museum's permanent collection), and so it's quite an honor that, for one evening, St. Nick will be folded into its space.
The screening, presented by the Lone Star Film Society, is part of the Modern 'Til Midnight series. It will occur this Saturday, April 18th, at 8pm, in the beautiful theater tucked away behind one of Anselm Kiefer's epic canvasses. The cost is fifteen dollars, which includes admission to the museum itself.
Aside from the setting, this screening is a special one simply because most of the film was shot just down the street from the museum. This is a true homecoming, and it's a slightly bittersweet one, as it'll probably be the last Texas screening for the foreseeable future. It's a can't-miss event, which is why I'm so chagrined to say that I myself will be missing it, as I'll still be in Lafayette. Ah well. In my stead, James and Savanna and will be on hand for a Q&A. I hope someone videotapes that.
April 15, 2009
St. Nick at the Acadiana Film Festival
Two weeks off, and now back to the South: St. Nick will be screening this week at the Acadiana Film Festival in Lafayette, Louisiana. I haven't been to Louisiana in ages! The film screens at 12:45pm on Friday, and then on Saturday I'm on a panel on low-budget filmmaking at 3:45. Also, Benh Zeitlin, the director Glory At Sea, will be on hand Friday to show a collection of his short films, and Zack Godshall, who made Low And Behold, will be screening his new documentary God's Architects. In between and before and after, I'm looking forward to sitting back and soaking in the city. Also, while researching the hotel I'll be staying at, I discovered that all the rooms have bidets. How hygienically exciting! I love regional film festivals.
I'll be writing about this weekend's other St. Nick screening shortly. First, though, I have to go to bed. I got up at 5:30 this morning to go run six miles on the beach. Too early, too early.
Posted by David Lowery at 3:10 AM
April 13, 2009
Easter Basket Catalog
Let's take a hop skip and a jump back just a little ways now, to the film that paved not a few roads inland: I've been meaning to make available the entirety of A Catalog Of Anticipations for quite some time - the second part had a good run on the festival circuit, but after making its way online through IFC.com, I figure the cat's out of the bag, and anyone who hasn't seen it shouldn't be impeded from doing so, should they desire. And as for the third chapter, which in most ways I'm more proud of than the others, it ain't been seen in nigh over a year, when it had its first and only big screen engagements.
So here, in its entirety, is A Catalog Of Anticipations in the correct order. Parts I, III and II.
Turn it up loud.
April 10, 2009
Love Streams in LA
I was thrilled upon my arrival in town the other day to see that the New Beverly's most imminent double feature would be of two of the John Cassavetes films I'd never seen. Along with Husbands, Minnie And Moskowitz and Love Streams remain unavailable in the US, and so the chance to see them for the first time on the big screen was just about the best welcome I could have hoped for.
I'm chagrined to say that I wound up missing Minnie And Moskowitz due to a meeting that ran late (with good reason, I promise), but I like to think that Love Streams, in its utter emotional immensity, more than made up for it. The print was immaculate, and then there was that opening scene, in which Cassavetes grills his too-young paramour on what really makes her happy. "Cooking," she finally tells him, before quickly changing her mind to dreaming. "What do you dream?" he asks her - and then he answers his own question with a hard cut to the next scene. It sent me reeling.
Two hours and twenty minutes later, as the antedeluvian credits began to roll and Bo Harwood's score rolled gently and tenderly from the soundtrack, a voice rang out from the back of the theater. Seymour Cassel had stood up in the audience, and now he was slowly walking down the aisle, talking about the film; about how hard it was for him to watch, and how he truly felt it was Cassavetes' best work. About how lucky he was to have known him. He kept talking through the credits - we could only half hear him, but that's what made it magical - and he kept talking after the film ended and the lights came up, a Q&A turned monologue, full of tangents and repetition and bittersweet jokes. He rambled on (admitting at one point that he'd had quite a few glasses of wine prior), and everyone could hear him now, but it didn't entirely matter. After a while he said he'd answer any questions any of us happened to have, and as arms shot up a I got up and slipped out. It was the most perfect ending to the movie imaginable.
April 9, 2009
- Great waves of congratulations to Clay Liford for wrapping the first week of his new feature film, Earthling, and for also getting his short film My Mom Smokes Weed into [redacted until the lineup is announced]! I'm getting the impression that this film is developing a groundswell of well-deserved support in certain circles. It's taking a while, but it'll get out there. And as for Earthling, I can't wait to see more footage - the tiny bit I've glimpsed looks beautiful. It's strange and exciting to know that close friends are off making a movie right now, and going through that entire rush of experience as I sit here chained to my computer halfway across the country. The sense of disconnect is giving way to anticipation.
- Speaking of anticipation, the intense head-scratching that accompanied the discovery of the After Last Season trailer has been carried over into deep analysis. I hope the director, whoever he is, is googling himself.
- Jody Hill's Observe And Report opens today. I saw it at SXSW last month and had a blast with it, but the fact that I passed up a secret screening of a print of Todd Haynes' Superstar has been weighing on my conscience as of late. Oh well.
April 7, 2009
Now I'm in LA again. On the drive out here, Toby and I listened to November Rain ten times in a row while speeding through the desert. It was awesome.
Also awesome was the Sarasota Film Festival, which I returned from late on Sunday night. Much has been made about the recent shifts in the festival landscape, both in terms of shifting personnel and vanishing funding; after the economic woes of late, Sarasota's entire future was in jeopardy, and this year's operating budget was slashed by quite a large margin - but Tom and Holly and the rest of their team knew exactly how to spend what they had and, as ever, provided an absolutely outstanding venue for visiting filmmakers to present their work to one of the most appreciative audiences in the country. Particularly amazing was the technical side of things; I was thrilled to see my film look and sound so perfect. Tom told me that the one area he refused to make monetary cuts in was the presentation, and he even went so far as to bring in famed Chicago projectionist James Bond to run the projection booth. That sort of care and attention could be found in every facet of the festival, from the parties to the transportation to the quick conversations with staff in the halls of the theater, but it was a comfort and joy to know that the heart of it all was, indeed, with the films.
I will leave out the details on the absinthe-fueled rollercoaster that was Saturday night (in an attempt to keep tabs on myself, I made regular Facebook updates throughout it all, one of which simply stated: l"7", which in saying nothing says it all) and turn instead to what was the most satisfying part of the whole venture. I mentioned the appreciative audiences; let me add to that considerate, and intelligent, and curious. Even those who admitted to not getting the film stopped me in the aisles of other movies afterwards to talk to me about it, and try to get to the bottom of it. I missed my shuttle to the airport after the second screening because I was standing in the lobby, still discussing details that I had never even noticed in the movie before. One gentleman wrote me an e-mail after seeing the film, a letter whose contents pretty much validated this entire venture. He wasn't a distributor with a contract to sign, or someone with connections to offer or make; he was just an audience member, but to say he was just an audience member implies a deficit import. This is diametrically converse to the heart of the matter, which is that it's for folks like him that I made the film in the first place. It made my day.
Next up: the Acadiana Film Festival in Louisiana, the screening at the Modern, and the Maryland Film Festival. More on those soon.
In other new, I just registered for the Chicago Marathon, which takes place on October 11th. I'm kinda hoping to be in Europe at that point, but just in case I'm not...
April 2, 2009
More AFI Dallas
I'm sitting at the Sarasota airport, getting ready to head back to Texas. More on this festival soon, but first a recap of AFI Dallas. We went out on a high note, winning the Grand Jury Prize in the Texas Competition. It was a pretty swell surprise. Walking up to accept it reminded me a little bit of the first time I went bungee jumping.
And now for some pictures!
The last picture there was taken in the green room, moments after the winners' photographs were taken. Depicted here, from left to right: John Wildman preparing a press release on the awards, programmer Sarah Harris realizing that the festival is actually almost over, and James Toback himself, beckoning his assistant. Speaking of which, I can't believe I've missed Tyson twice now.
In any case, a huge thanks to James and Sarah and everyone else at AFI for showcasing our film, and to everyone at MPS Studios for furnishing our coffers with such a generous prize.
My plane is now boarding. Away I go.
Posted by David Lowery at 4:22 PM