19 March 2010

Tyler @ CIFF - Day One: First Impressions

by Tyler Weaver.  Follow me on Twitter.

And thus, my adventure at the 34th Annual Cleveland International Film Festival begins with... copious sneezing, the onset of coughing, and a scratchy throat.  Coupled with increasing aches and pains, lack of sleep, and the nausea of Drew Carey's "documentary web series" to save Cleveland, today was not the start I had envisioned for my coverage of the film festival. 

But, not to worry.  This Festival goes on until March 28th, and due to its length, I'll be very selective about the wheres and whens of my attendance.  Had this been a "long weekend" thing, I'd be there non-stop.  But there is good news - I was there just enough to get a lay of the land, formulate a plan, and figure out exactly how I'm going to go about covering this.


The great thing about being tiny is that I can readjust my plan of attack very quickly.  What I had initially envisioned as a new media/multimedia connected plan of attack has been revised completely.  I'm not even going to take a laptop to the fest when I go.  I'm doing this old school.  A pen, notebook, a bottle of water, and lots of medication.   Whenever I do make it, I'll post something either that day or the day after.  The Real-Time Tweet-universe thing is great, but so's being physically and mentally present to take it all in - because there's a hell of a lot to take in. 

Taking place at Cleveland's Tower City (a shopping complex with a great movie theater - fond memories of seeing many a movie 10-plus years ago - though I've lived in Cleveland for over a year and a half this time, I haven't been to Tower City in nearly 10 years), CIFF is wall-to-wall movies.   It is a festival for film-goers - not necessarily one for filmmakers.


What I'm seeing is a festival geared towards bringing films to Ohio that would otherwise not be seen in Ohio.  And that's a fantastic thing.  However, I'm in a bit of a weird position.  As a filmmaker, I love watching movies.  But I don't love watching them all the time.  In fact, sometimes I take long periods where I don't watch anything, simply due to over-stimulation of the cinema brain.  Where other festivals have been most beneficial to me (and perhaps I should try writing this as a festival-goer, not a filmmaker), have been when they have also doubled as a conference - however, the shall-remain-unnamed Festival's hard-nosed insistence on focusing largely on distribution, and not discussing how to get there, largely ignoring the stages between idea and completed film was not the finest festival-going experience.

No, where the stories lie for me in my coverage of CIFF is in what happens behind the scenes.  The random conversations that pop up, the chance encounters, the stories of people who want to go see different films (and those who want their films seen).   I neither know how to or have the interest in writing day after day of "I saw this movie, I saw that movie" coverage.

I'm going to tell stories of what I see, using the Festival as a setting for whatever filmic discussion or ideas stem from it.  There might be interviews, though they'll be informal affairs (if you have a film at the festival, and want to talk to me, please let me know - I'll frequent the food court or, later in the day, wherever beer is served).  I'm going to apply my method behind this blog (publish things I want to see by people I want to read) to my coverage - stories I want to tell about things I want to talk about.

So that's about it.  Nothing too exciting, and for that I apologize.  But I'm going to figure this whole thing out one way or another.  And hopefully get rid of this damn cold.  Oooh - did I just find my Festival coverage's antagonist?  Snot?  Wonderful!  This is going to be a virus-fighting genre coupled with non-fiction Film Festival story.  Genre mashing!  Yay!

Up tomorrow - I'll be attending the CIFF screening of MH contributor Frederick Marx's JOURNEY FROM ZANSKAR, and... well, who knows what else?

While I'm at it... what do you want to read?  Anything in particular you want my thoughts on?  Otherwise, I'm just going to babble on about things I find interesting.  

Until next time, I remain sniffly your's...

Tyler Weaver is a filmmaker, writer, contributor to the pulptone.com website, and is the founder and EIC of Multi-Hyphenate... which you're reading right now.  He's currently making new things and yaks about that and more on Twitter under the creative guise of @tylerweaver.

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