Monday, March 12, 2007

Cinequest - Day 12 - The Un and the Fathomable

Last night at the closing ceremonies for Cinequest Film Festival 17, Blood Car won its category. BLOOD CAR WON AN AWARD! THE NEW VISIONS AWARD!

Before I get into all the gory details, I must go back and start at the beginning like in Double Indemnity. The Blood Car team has a collective gunshot wound in its belly and I'll do my best to recount to you the story behind this momentous, wonderful day. I hate to compare the winning of an award to a gunshot wound, but it was that unbelievable, that shocking, that triumphant. Just imagine the greatest, feel-good bullet wound you could ever receive and that's what it was like.

Now you're probably saying Alex and Katie were supposed to fly back to Atlanta on Saturday night. Well, for some reason, they decided to stay an extra night and complete the Cinequest 17 cycle. Let's call it guilt. They'd been there the entire festival. What's one more night? A no brainer. Adam and I were in San Francisco on Saturday night when Alex texted us and said he was going to stay for the last day of the festival and the closing night ceremonies and parties. He said we should come back down. Another no brainer.
This brings me to Sunday. Adam and I awoke in San Francisco and walked to a breakfast place to get a bite to eat before heading back down to San Jose, which everyone calls San Jo. I snapped the first two pictures in this blog during the four or five blocks it took to arrive at this breakfast nook. The first has a key cinematic parallel to our trip which for my mother's sake I won't delineate. The second picture, of the phrase carved into the sidewalk, was taken on a whim. I didn't realize I had captured a prophecy for that night's revelation.

Tova, our SF friend and Blood Car crew member, drove down with us to San Jose, which took about a hour and was very calm. It made me sympathize with people who move to Atlanta and complain about the drivers there. There was a palpable sense of safety on the road. Maybe it's because everyone rides bikes in SF and you generally have to be more cautious. I also think they drive slower to indulge SF's scenic vistas and fashionable citizenry.

Now we hadn't expected to win anything at this festival. We hadn't expected Blood Car to win anything ever. Period. Around day 4 or 5, we talked about the possibility of winning an audience award but once we saw some of the other films and the audience reactions to them, we pretty much wrote that off. After each film you receive a ballot and a pencil and rate the film you saw as either poor, fair, good, or excellent. Cinequest then determines the audience award based on an average of all the ballots received. I've heard our film really offends some viewers and I suspect they gave the film a poor rating. Even though I shouldn't be surprised the film offends people, I still am. I don't want to ruin anything for any virgin eyes, but Blood Car is first and foremost a comedy and one way to make people laugh to is offend them and follow the mantra, "Nothing is sacred."

6pm - We lined up at the California. I should have tilted the camera down just a tad to catch Alex's shoes. He bought a pair of cool looking Vans that today. Inside we sat with all of the other filmmakers from the festival. There was one other Blood Car t-shirt in attendance, worn by one of Cinequest's greatest ambassadors, Chris G. He was dressed very similar to Adam as a matter of fact with a green jacket, BC shirt, and jeans. If you put a long, light brown Gandalf beard on Adam and took away his glasses you probably have a pretty accurate picture of Chris G. Picture it...right now.

Before the awards I became terrified and nervous. I know many people have liked our film and supported us. Cinequest has been very good to us. Still, I didn't know if we had a chance. But what if? What if? Things were flashing before my eyes and I began to think I needed therapy.

They brought all of the filmmakers in attendance on stage for the awards presentation. Adam was positioned behind the speaker at the podium and the award plaques were sitting inside it, face up. You could only see the very top plaque.

Reader, he peaked!

It was for Blood Car. We had won. I smiled, but remained nervous. They announced a few other winners before ours, one of which was for Best Maverick Documentary. This was probably one of the happiest moments of the entire festival. Just thinking about it right now nearly makes me cry. Monster Camp - Winner! Cullen Hoback - Winner! You should have seen the look on his face. I'll never forget it. Emotion strengthens memory. He was a good friend of ours at the festival. We would see him nearly every single hour of every day we were there. We promoted our films together, drank together, talked about movies together.
When they announced Blood Car, I covered my mouth with my hand. It's something my friend John Dixon used to do when he would laugh really hard. I'm not sure why. I guess he didn't want people to see into his mouth when he laughed. I picked it up involuntarily over the years. But I wasn't laughing on the other side of that hand. My mouth was wide open in shock. I wanted to scream or swear or invent a new sound, but I didn't. Alex said he tried to think of a joke to say if he won an award, but if he did, he never said it. He humbly accepted the award to applause. He was gracious and kind and dressed like a 70s lounge singer. It was a shell shocking experience. Our friends from Indestructible also won an award, which was very gratifying.

We stepped backstage for a few photos. Stephen Baldwin was there. He co-starred in a film that won an award. They started the closing night film while we were back there, so we missed the beginning and decided to leave and go to a bar. Before we left, I took this picture of Katie. It's like the last shot in an Antonioni film.

At the bar, Adam and Katie were pretty relaxed and cool about the win, while Alex and myself were a bit more introverted, quiet. It means so much. It means we have something to give to the cinema. We always knew we had something to give, but to have someone take it was another story. What followed that night included dancing, free booze, open bar tabs, laughing, theft, threats, injuries, congratulations, gaiety, flashing the A-town hand signal, and two mysterious lewd pictures. For more details, you'll have to ask me in person. I must protect myself.

Today was the last Cinequest blog. The daily blogging will cease, but you'll hear from me again whenever there's relevant Blood Car news. It's a busy time for Blood Car so I imagine the gaps won't be too long, but I do need a break. Check for updates.

Many thanks to Cinequest for hosting us and putting on a fabulous film festival. I hope to be back.

Thank you so much for reading and supporting Blood Car and Fake Wood Wallpaper Films. And thank you for supporting the cinema.

Yours sincerely,


Anonymous said...


Congratulations to you guys and it was nice reading about it.

Next time you see me...I want to hear the details of which you typed.

Can't wait to see BC myself.

Martin Kelley
CinemATL and ASG

MidnightMailman said...

well hot-shit, that's some great news. great great great great.

i wish i were there so bad you don't even know.

christy and dan said...

Wow - way to go Mike - you must feel on top of the world. Wish I had some clever,witty way to say congratulations but my brain's a little fuzzy now (and I'm not even the one drinking :) ).... suffice it to say we are very proud of your accomplishment, and enjoyed immensely getting to spend some time with you.

Rod Pocowatchit said...

Congratulations!! You're flick sounds great, hope I get to catch it some day. Enjoyed your fest posts. Keep the Blood pumpin!!

All the best to you,