Day two of the festival let me sample the sensation of a little opening night nerves, although on a smaller scale.
My heart fluttered a little faster as I hosted Reel Asian’s Industry series panel on Social Media Strategy for Film Makers to discuss how the role of digital communication can impact marketing and engage audiences with story telling alongside guest speakers Anthea Foyer, Shasha Nakhai & Sol Friedman.
The love theme from the festival movies spilled over in to the debate with Anthea’s companion piece to Sarah Polley’s forthcoming Take This Waltz, Conversations About Love using the core theme elements of the movie to be supportive without directly referencing or spoiling the actual feature. Shasha from The Sugar Bowl discussed the approach from a perspective of entering the festival with a film & the lead up from initial funding processes to dispensing content at a rate of sustaining interest. Sol, who won last years winner Reel Asian Movieola Best Short Film or Video Award for Junko , talked about Junko’s Shamisen and the perfectionist involvement on behind the scenes footage as well as some of the tactics behind getting your film seen in contrast to the art of the piece.
Mumbling to myself about the wet weather that had appeared while inside I headed to the Innis Town hall for Summer Pasture which abruptly put my spot of rain complaining in to perspective. Documenting the life of a nomadic couple in Tibet with their small daughter their daily routines are intimately captured with an amazing openness and stunning visuals. The tasks of living in this manner is fast changing with traditions being eroded as modern life is reaching out. The advantages any family would want for their child are at the core of surviving. I never thought trading & yak poop spreading would sound like something appealing to watch but Locho & Yama are captivating characters. You can view the question and answer session here.
Normally it’s sweet sixteen but The Sugar Bowl brought more than a spoon full to the table of the 15th Anniversary for the first set of shorts I’d seen at the festival in the Trailblazers presentation alongside A Drummer’s Passion, Totte Mitsu, Let’s Go To Russia, Grandpa’s Wet Dream & Granny’s Rock.
I’d previously watched these alone so was craving to see these super charged seniors dashed across the big screen with extra audience involvement. It was definitely an added experience sharing the movies en masse. Grandpa’s Wet Dream provided the most laughter as a 76 year old is documented on his secret accident life as a mature star of a niche adult porn film industry. The juxtaposition of his collected vintage movie posters with his own catalogue of X-rated accomplishments were an interesting legacy to be left behind. Another less secret legacy came up in A Drummer’s Passion. Mr. Kwon is the name of the Korean Drummer who set a beat to over a million views on YouTube. While it was easy to smile and share the clip, this was the time to hear about the reason behind his style and his life before the internet shone a spotlight on him. Stealing the show is what he does best as a personal warmth transcended the screen. Granny’s Rock reminded me of a real life Harold & Maude with a true bond between young and old generation. With an outsider art style of capturing portraits Miya Yumemi is the streaking legend who’s work can be found worn on people’s t-shirts & scattered all over bars in her area. Satoru Yasuda befriends her and joins her drinking & art antics making his film in to a gallery of her work and personality. The Sugar Bowl was the most anticipated section of the series for me. Having seen their winning pitch in 2010’s So You Think You Can Pitch contest it was very satisfying to have seen the start of the journey come to conclusion in the same event space. The Negros Island, provider of the sugar supply to America is a prince to pauper story on a grand scale effecting everyone of the inhabitants. The lavish lifestyles that accompanied the plantation abruptly ended as Government and sweet alternatives sunk the price of sugar like a dissolving cube in a cuppa. The industrial elements remain on the lush green island as rebuilding and hope returns. A once decadent dwelling is now a museum and the occupier now the tour guide advanced in years that provided the eccentric fit in to the overall presentation.
Age really is just a number. What do you think you will be like in your twilight years?