Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The 2011 Milwaukee Film Festival is Here!

Saturday, September 24 - Day One
12:45 pm
Back at the North Shore Theatres. Circumstantially, I wasn't able to make the opening movie the first two nights, so this is my first foray into the festival this year. So, henceforth, my day count is actually two behind the actual day count of the festival. Get it? Got it? Good.

Unfortunately my first experience here waiting for the first movie to start is the woman standing right next to me talking loudly to the woman sitting a couple of rows behind me. She's so annoying and pervasive that I can't even give her any slack for wearing a Brewer's t-shirt.  Ugh, now I remember why people consider me anti-social...I'm a magnet for obnoxious people, which, mixed with a low tolerance for bullshit makes for a mighty horrendous cocktail.

Anyway, despite the harpy in my ear, I'll try to concentrate on the task at hand - the venue is the same, but the theaters are different. In fact, we're in a pretty big auditorium and I'm wondering if more people are going to get here because there are some reserved seats behind me that may be for people connected with the film, which would be kind of embarrassing with a half empty theater. (It turns out they just stayed free, much to the consternation of the people around them.) It's not so much that there aren't a lot of people here, it's just that there aren't 300 here to fill up the auditorium for a 1pm matinee about an amateur symphony in the Congo. Go figure.

One thing that's pretty cool is that the poor people behind me that the obnoxious woman honed in on were actually talking about the festival before she started jawing and they apparently got festival passes for the first time and are THRILLED about it. They were talking about the two films they saw at the Downer Theater the night before, and how they had 4 or 5 movies to see at the North Shore today. I think it's really cute and I love that this couple and their friend are so into it. 

Philosophically, I'm kind of zen about this year. I've found that I really push myself every year and then just get completely burned out, between the time invested in the screenings and writing. Not to mention just getting there - it's an hour round trip and the weather has been crap; I got caught in a severe rainstorm with hail going 70 on the freeway on the way here. Anyway, last year I kvetched about "only" having seen 18 movies. But really, in 10 days, that's pretty damn good, especially considering the half-assed attempts at blogging I try to do, not to mention the reviews I eke out. I am planning on going with the "not so comprehensive" review structure again this year because it's just impossible to invest the time and effort into a huge review for every film I see and still get my writing done in a timely manner. Besides, sometimes there's not a whole lot to say about a movie, regardless of how critical you are. 

Anyway, I'm planning on scheduling full slates of films every day and if I decide to see all of them, fab. If not, oh well. With the constant "go go GO!" I deal with daily in my professional life, I refuse to stress out on what is supposed to be one of my vacations! So, lady, get your abdomen out of my face, and in the immortal words of the great philosopher Henry Rollins, "Sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up!"


Three films into the day and I'm doing well. My festival comrades from the unfortunate jawing lady incident are behind me again, where they've been all day, regardless of the screen. I have no intention on engaging any of them in conversation, but it's actually a little comforting to have them hanging out behind me and talking about how many movies they're planning to see. It kind of makes me feel a little less freakish. Let's face it, the third time the volunteers say, "Aha... back again, Ms. Press?" is, well three times too many really because it's kind of a dumb thing to say, but they're all really nice so I just give them the sheepish thing and say, "Thank you, I'll be here all day folks" and then regret it instantly because it's just lame. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm glad that more people are getting singled out than me. Because anyone who knows me knows how much I love to be singled out. Despite the fact that my tailbone is starting to sing protest songs due to over usage, these guys inspire me to trek on.

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