Film Fest Stuff

What would the fest be without the crazy audience members? You just don’t get people like this in multiplexes. Here’s my five favourites:

The Gesturing Guy
During the two “Rural Americana” documentaries, the gesturing guy would interact with the on-screen action. In “Dancing Outlaw” Jesco mentioned that he’d waved to his mother wearing handcuffs. The gesturing guy held up his hands together and waved. Later some people were waving at the camera. He waved back. In “Okie Noodling” Mr Gesture appeared to be excited by a really rockin’-looking dude and did that “hail Satan” sign.

The Girl With The Loud Laugh
The female who annoyed the hell out of me last year during “Nowhere to Hide” was back for the movie marathon this year. Also of mention was the woman who, during “Spike and Mike,” laughed at stuff that wasn’t funny, but had to force herself to laugh with the rest of the audience at the genuinely funny stuff.

The Moaning Guy
During “Rated X” there was a guy sitting a mere two seats down from me who let out small moans at various parts of the movie. He seemed to moan the most whenever there was porno action, but also moaned when the director called his mother for advice.

The Over-Prepared Girl
Before “The Experiment” started a girl sitting behind me rattled off a big long description of the set-up of the movie (mostly culled from the festival programme). After about five minutes of constant talking, the guy she was with said, “yeah, I deliberately don’t find out much about films before I see them.”

The Actual Crazy Guy
He wriggled around in his seat all the time. He wouldn’t sit front on, instead he faced towards the right, often looking at the audience. He frequently yawned loudly and stretched his arms out. He occasionally muttered to himself. Once he brought out a piece of electronic equipment that beeped and flashed a green light (and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a cell phone). He engaged in a hardcore nose-picking and snot-eating session. He slapped himself.

Hardcore film fest attendance is all-consuming. Sacrifices have to be made. Here’s five things that just don’t fit in with hard-core film fest lovin’:

Eating Well
There was one point where I was feeling a bit sick and I was trying to figure out what I’d had to eat that day. I realised all I’d had was three cups of coffee and a Kit Kat. Last year I seem to remember fitting in proper meals and eating well, but this year I was so hungry one time that I stopped off at McDonalds on the way home. Urgh, never again.

Doing a Job Skills Course
In a case of synchronicity almost on par with “Dark Side of the Rainbow,” the three weeks that bIFF took place on also happened to be the same three weeks that Work and Income NZ ordered me to get my unemployed arse on a three week job skills programme. I found it difficult to concentrate on anything that was happening (“Turn your weaknesses into your strengths!” “You are a marketable item!”) because I was usually more excited about the line-up of films I’d be seeing later in the day.

Editing a Film
A friend of mine volunteered to edit a low-budget film. As he’s working full time that means he has to spend all his spare time hunched over his computer trying to fit together pieces of what looks to be a really bad film. I fear for his mental health. I kept trying to lure him away with exciting descriptions of films in the festival, but he’d always reply, “nah, I can’t. I’m editing.”

Having a Social Life
I managed to see a few films with friends but most of the time I was on my own. It’s hard to convince people to come along and see three films in a row (“It’ll be fun!” “Uh, I don’t like films with subtitles.”) Fortunately every film I saw on my own had a bunch of other film geeks sitting on their own so I didn’t feel all that sad. I’m kinda pleased, though, that I managed to fit in a friend’s birthday dinner.

Giving Up Caffeine
About halfway through the fest I decided that I was consuming too many caffeinated beverages. I went cold turkey and suffered with the most unpleasant headache for two days. By the third day the headache had gone, but I found myself entice by the espresso machine at the Chinatown cinema. Yes, of all the potential sources of caffeine, it was the coffee machine at the fest that broke my resolution.

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