Friday, January 29, 2016


* It is possible to disappear into a Film Festival black hole for days, with so many interesting films showing consecutively from morning to night.

* You can recognise someone who has just stepped out of that film festival black hole. They don't really know what day it is. Their eyes are squinting, readjusting to natural light.

* If someone has to cite their love of the source material (book, poem, play, etc) to defend a film you don't like, then perhaps the film is the problem.

* Don't be afraid to say you don't like a film, but don't be unprepared for the response either.

* Concession stands in traditional theatres should embrace cashless technology. They are literally throwing money away. And I REALLY wanted Maltesers.

* Red carpets are fine as long as they don't cause major, foot-traffic problems with their location.

* Huge, sold-out rooms, session after session, are watching the films on offer. 2300 people each time. Communal experiences. Shared laughter. Sadness and delight, in the darkened theatre. The atmosphere is truly incredible.

* It's ok to cry at a film if 2000 other people are as well.

* Scientology is scary. Especially when they surreptitiously record the filmmaker giving a talk on his expose' documentary.

* Not every filmmaker can articulate themselves in public. The ones that can are magic, creating even deeper connections with their audience.

* After parties are rarely about celebrating and mostly about scanning the room. But if you can't hold a conversation, it's all for naught.

* The person who actually maintains eye contact in a conversation at a filmmaker party is a rare breed.

* Drinking five nights in a row will add 3kgs to your bottom line.

* The standard of the films, even the bad ones, is extraordinarily high. That's what you don't know as a filmmaker when you're questioning why you can't break through.

* Not all filmmakers think about who is ultimately going to watch their film. The ones that do leave their audience members exhilarated. The ones that don't leave audiences totally unsatisfied, even mad.

* On that note, too many filmmakers are still making bleak films, with characters you find totally unredeeming and unable to empathise with.

* Scary people exist in this world, full of hatred and malice to their fellow man. Thankfully, they were on screen.

* The best film I saw at the Festival has been in the pipeline for roughly seven years. Quality takes time.

* In Australia, the government film agencies are our version of the major American studios. They have a hand in basically every film in Australia, which couldn't be clearer at the Festival.

* It's not socially awkward to see a film by yourself at a Film Festival. No-one judges in this crowd.

* Film Festival fatigue is a real thing. Two days in a row of films, from dawn until well beyond dusk, actually starts to feel like work.

* Big crowds. Engaged with the films. Curated by an adoring Festival programming team. Festivals are the present and future of cinema.

- - - - - - - - -