Thursday, September 07, 2006

Screening and Ranting

It's been a while since I've posted. There's an exciting reason for that, and I plan to unveil it soon. In the meantime I just wanted to send out a little announcement that a couple of my films are going to be screened in the San Francisco Bay area as part of the MadCat Film festival:

MadCat Program

I must add a rant. While I had agreed that any of my silent films could be accompanied by live music, "Europa" is not at all silent. Its soundtrack actually incorporates Voyager recordings of the magnetosphere of Jupiter- pretty cool stuff. I'm kind of sad that it will be turned off and replaced with something else. I mentioned this twice to the festival director to no avail (with twelve programs, I'm sure she has plenty to worry about- I just let it drop). Still, it's listed as a "silent" film, which gives the wrong impression. It's like billing "Raging Bull" in a comedy program and replacing the dialogue with slide whistles. It's okay, though. I'm usually rejected from women's film programs because my films do not obviously deal with "issues," so I'm glad to be a part of this.

I mentioned this to a friend of mine, who joked and said it "served me right." I imagine he was referring to the fact that because I had agreed to let my silent films be shown with music and thus violated "my" artistic integrity, I had no right to complain. Fine. This is a fairly common view in the experimental film world (which at times- I will take this opportunity to note- can be more rigid than the "traditional" film world from which it claims freedom). Music video is often viewed as the lowest of the low, so musical accompaniment probably hovers just above death. Now, I love my friend and we see eye-to-eye on most things, but I also like music videos. Some of them are brilliant, in my opinion. I also admit that if I could actually compose music, I would probably be a musician, so I admire anyone who chooses music as their canvas. I can play a mean Bartok and sing all the Tori Amos songs I want, but most of my "original" compositions turn into "Mary Had a Little Lamb" after a few measures. I would love to direct a music video for any one of my favorite musicians.

To defend the experimental film world:

A. This isn't everyone's view. It's just a very vocal subset (and don't even mention George Lucas or Spike Jonze to any of them). For the most part, I love my imaginative and supportive experimental film community.

B. I understand their frustration. Many people would rather organize pocket lint than sit through a silent film. These people inevitably ask, "have you ever thought of, like, putting some techno music or something to that stuff?" As if techno will make anything bearable.

Still, I grow tired of hearing that I've sold out every time I find a penny on the sidewalk on my way to a screening. It's exhausting to sell out so frequently and never reap the benefits. At times, I wish I could just sell my screenplay and direct my narrative feature for a few million dollars. That way, when I'm accused of being a sell-out I can at the very least afford to drink a good wine while listening to the accusation! After a good sip of a Ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape, I could just smile, nod, and drift off into my wildly landscaped dream world where I don't have to alphabetize nauseatingly colored file folders all day so that I can afford to paint on strips of film! As it stands now, someone accuses me of selling out because I have a fancy web site and all I can do about it is dig in the cracks of my car upholstery, looking for enough change to by a box of Mac and Cheese! Of course, things have gotten a much better since I've really sold out and taken a variety of jobs that have nothing to do with anything I am interested in. Now I can eat at Qdoba (sometimes).

Many people see the mind-numbing day job as necessary. "Yes, but we've all done that. None of us cares about spreadsheets." Fine. Then we're all sell-outs. Let me design my web site in peace.

Humor aside, this MadCat program looks like fun. The rest of the programs look great, too. I really have no problem having my work integrated into someone else's artistic vision (sound). I wish I could be there to see the results.