Coming to Rotterdam
On the road now, I lost track how many weeks – drive from Portland to Stanberry, Missouri, where shot a new film, by title, Gentry County Stories (with Roxanne Rogers, Frank Mosley, Blake Eckard) and then went on to St. Louis Film Festival to show Coming to Terms (to about 30 people for glorious US Premiere) and receive pat on the back Lifetime Achievement Award (along with Oliver Stone). Was nice to see film on a big screen with good sound and with my final revisions of sound and pic. It was damned good. Promptly flew to Rome where I gave a talk at Roma Tre University, and screened a 2007 film, La Lunga Ombra, which was shot in Italy. Now wandering Europa, visiting friends here and there.
Following the “no” of the AFI festival and the modestly long list of other rejection slips which Coming to Terms gathered (Telluride, Toronto, NYC, Cannes, and I forget a few) I can’t say I’d begun to wonder about me or the film, but rather I’d started to think the film world was really, excuse my euphemism, fucked. I happily grant the film is not a happy-go-lucky audience-pleaser, but I’d hope festivals offered a different view about what film making can be about. But today, finally, in came invitation from Rotterdam Festival, which to my experience is one of the best ones of the last 10-20 years. They show a broad range of work, not much in the commercial realm, but interesting stuff from around the world, and they don’t consign little films to invisible little niches. They also have a real audience and almost every screening is well attended – by film people and most importantly, by locals. I recall being there a decade or so ago, plopping down on my hotel bed exhausted from travel, and perusing their catalog, looking for the place they’d stuck my film. I don’t recall which film, as I have had many in Rotterdam, but it was an under-$200 DV feature. Not finding it in one of the experimental or whatever sections, I flicked through the main program and there it was, opposite some multi-million dollar film, treated just the same. I can’t say I know any other festival that acts the same way. Anyway I’ll be off to Rotterdam end of January to present it.
Of other things, the other day Steve Taylor, who’s now been in 5 of my films (Homecoming, Over Here, Parable, Coming to Terms, and new one not yet finished, Strait Blue) wrote to let me know that as a bit of fall-out from being in them, and going to St Louis for the screening there, he landed a major role in an indie film where they’ll actually pay his travel, hotel, and a bit for him – which is a lot better than he can say I was able to do. Very happy for Steve there’s been some pay-off for being in my humble little exotic home-movies.
From here in Bologna off to Milano, where the fates have been so kind as to let me reconnect (thanks to the net) with the little girl, Tilde, who was the subject of my first film, aged 12, back in 1963, in Casina Amata di Paderno Dugnano, Milano. Tomorrow I take the train and she and her husband Lucio will pick me up and we’ll have a 50th year re-union – me an old man and Tilde 62! I kinda expect some tears. It is a beautiful story of hitchhiking and being taken into a family like a long-lost son. At the time it was a balm for a wounded soul. And at this juncture in the arc of life, it is once again. As has been seeing the string of old friends along this current journey – and more to come!
Note: I will return to the USA, Feb 16, New York City; will be in/around NY for two weeks, then probably headed down East Coast. I am looking for screenings, workshops, what ever suits your interests or needs. Can show new films or old, including Coming to Terms. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org