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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

have you ever attended a film festival?


Press screenings for the London Film Festival start today, and I am consumed with excitement for the 14 festival movies on my agenda between today and Friday (and the two additional regular press screenings in there, too) and already exhausted by what’s ahead in the month to come. (Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for instant reactions after each screening. And I plan to post quickie reviews each evening, if possible. If I’m not too burnt out. Stay tuned and find out how quickly my brain gets fried!)

In honor of my incipient cinematic fatigue:

Have you ever attended a film festival? If you haven’t and you’ve wanted to, what’s stopped you? If you have, how did you like it? How did it differ from ordinary moviegoing? Would you attend again?

(If you have a suggestion for a Question, feel free to email me.)

  • RogerBW

    It’s a pleasing idea, but it’s a huge time commitment to do it seriously. I never got round to it while I was living in London, and these days I’d need to commute too.

  • Bluejay

    I haven’t done anything as exhausting as watching 14 movies in a week, but my family does watch at least a couple of films offered by the New York International Children’s Film Festival every year. We love it! Our recent picks have included Miyazaki’s From Up On Poppy Hill, Mamoru Hosoda’s Wolf Children, Le Tableau, and A Cat in Paris. I believe we saw all of them in the original Japanese and French with subtitles, which is a refreshing change from getting the dubbed re-releases later on. And it’s nice to see films before they’re more widely released in the US as well as films that, apart from the Festival, might not get seen here at all.

    Also, the audiences are great. Everyone, including families with kids, seems to know that Festival Films Are Special and makes a real effort to stay quiet and pay attention. And sometimes the filmmakers are on hand afterwards (like Mamoru Hosoda, still bleary-eyed from his flight) to answer some really smart questions from the kids.

    Also, survey cards and free posters in the lobby and free T-shirts if you can catch the ones tossed into the crowd. Fun.

  • David N-T

    I’ve attended the Montreal international film festival once, and make it a point to watch some films at the Fantasia Film Festival every year. The former is sort of like any movie, except that often enough, the filmmaker is present. The latter is a film festival for genre films, and the audience really gets into it and sometimes even participates in it, so the viewing experience is often enough enhanced by the crowd.

  • My wife and I just did our second visit to the Toronto International Film Festival last week… it’s a blast. The main difference between a festival and ordinary moviegoing is: No babies in the theater! Also, the people there have often spent a lot of money and travel time to be there, so they shut the fuck up and enjoy the movie.

    Also, often there are Q&As afterward with the director and stars, which are pretty interesting if sometimes awkward.

  • bronxbee

    i have only ever attended the Margaret Mead Film Festival but i never get to see everything i want to see, especially since it used to be at least two weeks and now is down to one-four day weekend. i will probably attend this year at least one of the days if i can. but the kind of marathon that MaryAnn does? no way.

  • MisterAntrobus

    My hometown of Indianapolis surprisingly plays host to several film festivals, and I’ve been privileged to attend some films at some of them. In fact, the Heartland Film Festival, the biggest of these, is coming up next month. It focuses on independent films that reflect “positive values,” and refreshingly, that statement isn’t code for “conservative Christian values.” Anyone who finds themselves in the Midwest in October should consider dropping in.

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