Friday, April 27, 2007

Atlanta Film Festival - Lines Movies Make

The AFF blimp, a beacon of independent film, was restored to its rightful owner yesterday - the Atlanta skyline.

Though tonight was our Atlanta premiere, the day began rather quietly in contrast to the bustle that would follow that night. It rained. I saw last year's Palme d'Or winner, The Wind That Shakes the Barley. I updated the FWW site with our screening information.

Our day-of-screening promotional approach for AFF differed a bit from the past two fests. We didn't stand outside the theater right before showtime like carnival barkers trying to pull in the cinematically undecided. Our weapon of choice for Atlanta was email and myspace, targeted at family, friends, acquaintances, and friends of friends. It seemed to work because when we arrived around 8pm for our 10pm screening, there were only about 50 seats left out of 300(not 350 as originally reported).

Alex drove THE blood car used in the film to the theater and parked it right in front. Blake M., our FX man from the film, came out and reinstalled the blade that chops up human beings so they can be readily converted into a combustible fuel. We left the trunk open so passersby could see the trunk where so many promising souls met their makers in the film. Typically, you might think this would be the beginning of a rather wild publicity act to promote the film, e.g., we dress in old tuxedos and coax you into undergoing a questionnaire and some minor tests and we determine what your personal mpg would be if you were fed to the blood car. World's Fair/EXPO material if you asked me, which the US has not hosted since NOLA in 1984.

We all hung out at the Independent, which moonlights as the Filmmaker's Lounge during the day(providing free Stella to badgeholders) and is located above the theater, as the line formed for the premiere. That night, it should have been renamed Cheers. Familiar faces all around plus many new ones. Friends dragged their friends. The sky went dark. The moon went red. The line lengthened. I'm quite glad the rain subsided because then the experience of seeing a roller-coaster sized line for BC would not have happened. I felt nothing but overwhelming joy at the sight of this. I wish I could amputate pieces of each film festival we've hitherto attended and combine them into a Blood Car frankenstein's monster. The fact that we enjoyed a bird's eye view of the line form only magnified how impressive it was. My small digicam's flash doesn't have much throw, but even a panoramic camera couldn't have contained the line. It reminds me of a 360 degree picture I once saw from the top of Mt. Everest, which to Nepalese natives is known as 'the forehead of the world'. Humans are lucky to have binocular vision because that necessitates moving around to see everything. I couldn't see the entire line from one place. It was that long.

During the pre-screening gathering, Alex O. was in the theater with the festival and projection staff to ensure the film received the best possible exhibition, which this time around was off digibeta instead of HD. Alex considered renting an HD deck himself for the screening, but for some reason, that was not permitted. He was quite concerned about it because there had been several problems with the projection and audio at films throughout the festival. Great World of Sound, which Alex worked on, ironically, had some stinging audio problems during its first screening. Satisfied, he joined us in the lobby and people were ushered into their seats and the final 50 tickets were bought and sold. As in San Jose, it was a complete sellout! Festival volunteers toted in benches to accommodate more patrons. I recognized so many faces. Friends we hadn't seen in ages turned up with new jobs, new watches and even wives to see the film. Not one protestor.

I wanted to watch the film with the hometown audience and I did. We all did and we all enjoyed it like it was new. Hugh B. and Adam P. usually watch it. Katie and Tony and I watch it often, but perhaps not as frequently. Alex usually does not watch it, but he did tonight...most of it anyway. We also decided to resurrect my presidential speech from Cinequest for this screening because of the hometown crowd and the whole blimp business.

Alex saw one woman walk out of the film and look a little troubled. He approached her and thanked her for attending, stating that, "I know the film isn't for everyone." He said she seemed really bothered by the film and said the film needed a disclaimer about the content and that she didn't know the film contained pornography/pornographic material.

Most people stuck around for the Q&A. We were able to recognize a number of the crew members who worked on the film for their efforts, which was gratifying. The tone of the Q&A continues to be a balance of behind the scenes stories and stand-up jokes. Robert P., production designer, whose mother was in the audience, joined us on stage during the Q&A. I don't think the mic was ever passed his way, but several design/FX questions were asked. We threw out a few t-shirts and wrapped it up. Afterwards, down under the screen, we were mobbed and tried to carry on as many conversations at the same time as possible. It's difficult because you want to talk to everyone, but you basically have to conduct McConversations.

I was so proud to see such support for the film. Thank you to everyone who attended and expressed their kinds words about the film. I apologize to everyone who I did not have a chance to speak with and thank personally for spending your Thursday night with us. I promise you all that you will spend another Thursday night with us sometime soon, in a movie theater, with a big screen, watching a Fake Wood Wallpaper film.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Atlanta Film Festival - The Sith Philosophy

Transitioning from the Sarasota Film Festival to the 31st Atlanta Film Festival equates to a car decelerating. Overall, AFF is much smaller than SFF, but it promised to be much bigger for Blood Car. It's like being Harry Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life and Atlanta is our Bedford Falls. Friends and family, colleagues and enemies are slated to arrive in great numbers, enthused and raving for the Atlanta Premiere of Blood Car. True, we've showed the film here before, but that was an exclusive cast and crew screening. I am proud that we are part of this festival.

Arriving home from one festival during the spring of another also brought home certain realities about the film festival circuit. Initially, I marked my calender with a couple of films every day, but I quickly had to drop that to 1/day. I was festival-ed out and I was forced to act like an adult and balance responsibilities with movies, the north and south poles of a magnet. I picked up my pass on Sunday afternoon, April 22. No swag at this festival, but the pass was the flash kind - you flash it to a volunteer and they admit you to the theater.

At the registration table, Linda B. commented, "Did you hear about the blimp?" I said, "Blimp? No." She proceeded to describe to me one of the more expensive of AFF's promotional materials which was a sleek, blue, inflatable, helium-filled mini-blimp(not a zeppelin, which is a rigid airship) with the festival's name and dates on it. I inquired about it and she said it was stolen off the top of a nearby business(pictured here) in protest of the AFF's screening of Blood Car. Obviously, I was in some state of disbelief about this, given it was our first encounter with any sort of protest against the film based on politics. These anti-Blood Car protesters also taped their theft and posted it on youtube. Originally, these former enduring freedomers planned on organizing a protest in which they would "keep people out of the theater by force if necessary." Apparently, he thought more drastic actions were necessary. The orchestrator of the entire operation is a man named Ron, who writes a blog entitled, 'Are you the enemy?'. His motto is a variation on a well-known one, going back as far as the New Testament which reads "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters." Ron's reads, "Either you're with us're the enemy." Now President Bush has said this a few times, but I think the most famous use of this phrase is in the George Lucas film Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Anakin Skywalker, later adopting the Sith name Darth Vader, utters the line to Obi-Wan, to which he cleverly responds, "Only a Sith deals in absolutes." What is my point? Is George W. Bush a Sith lord? Is the man who stole the blimp a Sith lord? I'll post this evidence on a Star Wars message board and let them be the ultimate arbiters of this case. The event really galvanized members of the AFF and the Atlanta Film community and many other anonymous-ers. It's actually an interesting discussion to read. As I wrote this, I read that the blimp has been returned. I'm a little disappointed he caved in to good sense.

I've kept up my 1 film a day pledge and lucked out so far with winners. They are: Killer of Sheep, Hannah Takes the Stairs, Great World of Sound, and Zoo. I've also been riding Archie's bike to the theater almost every day. It's on the left. Alex's work postering the town has paid off as people comment again and again about seeing posters at a mishmash of businesses. One particular business down the street from me flaunts a poster at a busy intersection and it must have closed down right after the poster went up. I hope the poster manifests itself for months to come, even as the building is demolished.

Yesterday, Alex, Adam, Katie and I were invited for an interview on Emory University's internet radio station, WMRE. Clever, huh. Our host DJs were Rueben M.(left) and Ed. M(right), two young students filled with verve. We gave Rueben and Ed t-shirts and posters, a caller two free tickets to Thursday's screening, and anybody who was listening an earful of vitriolic, off color jokes. Since very few people seemed to be listening and it was their last broadcast before the semester's conclusion, the floodgates blew open and the rest was like a bad dream. I had a wonderful time and laughed quite a bit. When we told our hosts about the teen who fainted during the film in Sarasota, Rueben commented that the last film to do that was The Passion of the Christ. Another club BC can add below its photo in the 2007 yearbook.

There are approximately 700 seats available for seeing Blood Car at the AFF. Tomorrow, Thursday, you have less than 350 opportunities to see the film. Friday, you also have less than 350 opportunities to see the film. Come out and support our film, independent film, the Atlanta Film Festival and most of all...cinema. I hope to see you with one of these in your hands tomorrow. (Note: Hey Coca-Cola. This isn't They Live. Give it a rest.)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sarasota Film Festival - In closing

Looking back, I regret that I wasn't able to blog from 'the emerald city' of Sarasota each and every day as I did in San Jose. As a result, I don't think I was able to fully come to terms with the experiences of that trip and concomitant film festival. There's a void, Jerry, a void. A deep yawning chasm. Pictures are worth thousands of words and I've selected a few to sum up the trip.

No1. The SFF doled out merchandise vouchers to all attending filmmakers, which could be redeemed for a variety of items. They mistakenly gave me two, so I went home with one t-shirt and these sandals. I am rarely afforded the opportunity to spend a week without wearing shoes. Thank you Sarasota.

No2. I snapped this photo not in honor of Wachovia, but in honor of Jacques Tati's Playtime, which screened at SFF as part of the Architecture series in glorious 35mm. His film may not change your life, but it will change the way you see; and not just the way you see buildings. Until this film is as well known as Jaws, I'll consider it lost. I saw two other classic films during my Sarasota trip, of which only The Flowers of St. Francis is worth spending time watching.

Nos3-4. The next two deal tangentially with Blood Car. I snapped this photo of a UPS truck just on a whim, but today I read in Time magazine that UPS is nearly complete in its mission to phase out all left turns by its drivers to reduce carbon emissions which accumulate quite rapidly while idling at traffic lights. Astonishing. How do I know this driver is making a left turn? If he was making a right turn, the picture would be a brown blur...because the truck would be moving, not idling. Next we have a traffic update from Sarasota. I hope someone forgot to change the 'Year to date" numbers. If not, Sarasota on pace for record breaking fatality statistics.

In's a word association of things I didn't blog about: gelato, Archie's children, Noah, little hamburgers, Ellen Barkin, celebrity near-misses, Paris, Je t'aime, Ray Tintori and Death to the Tinman, Alex Ott, Swedish Weekend, time crisis, ms. pac man, talkative old people who ruin afternoon movies, film festival Bob, Of Montreal, autographs, trolleys, blondie, Jackie Treehorn's doppelganger house.

No5. Dear Sarasota, we hope to be back next year.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sarasota - Day 3 - The Faint

Sunday. The night before I had pledged to hit the streets early and really put the fire of Blood Car into the populous of Sarasota. Unfortunately, I had a rather turbulent, late night, and despite it being restful, I didn't arrive at the Hollywood 20 until after 3pm. Alex, Katie and I decided to shirk our street promoting duties in favor of seeing a film. Luckily, Hugh picked up our slack and carried the torch like a true Olympian. The film we saw was called The Prisoner. Alex and Katie walked out after 15 minutes. I don't really relish walking out on films so I stayed for the entire thing, even though the film didn't improve. Having endured some tough ones in my lifetime (Chushingura and twentynine palms are near the top of the list.), I try to give most films a chance to redeem themselves. To the film's credit, the main character does find some degree of redemption and understanding at the end.

For lunch, we ate at a juice bar/smoothie /sandwich shop that had not received its fruit shipment for the day so they could only make chicken Caesar and grilled cheese sandwiches. We saw this sign at the cash register. Wikipedia stipulates that 1 oz. of wheatgrass juice equals 2.20 lbs of GREEN vegetables and not the cornucopia you see here. I would have pulled an Archie and tried a shot, but it seems like the same truck that delivers fruit also delivers veggies.

I wanted to see Lars von Trier's film The Boss of it All while in Sarasota so Adam and I vouched some tickets for that film. I enjoyed it. That basically brought us to the screening. As with Cinequest, our second screening in Sarasota was much better attended. It wasn't a sellout but close enough. BC tends to work backwards opening with smaller crowds then increasing thanks to word of mouth. Alex introduced the film. A short film, 'Songbird', which played Sundance this year, played before our film. It had a unique style but was a bit too disgusting for my tastes. I wish BC could travel with the short from Cinequest.

I didn't watch the film at either screening this festival. In retrospect, I missed it a little bit. I think I'll watch in Atlanta. We proudly made a little history during this screening. A 16 year-old in the crowd (Take that MPAA!) left the theater at the point in the film where Archie cuts himself with a razor and drains some of his own blood. En route to the lobby, he fainted and hit the carpet! Festival volunteers sprang to his aid and aside from a small rug burn on his noggin, he was physically unharmed though his ego might be bruised. I spoke with some of the other volunteers who were schoolmates of the teen and they said he's not prone to blackouts. Toby Sells, who created the realistic looking effect, deserves much of the credit here though I'm certain fainting moviegoers is old hat for him. Our fainter, who goes by Dr. Coolness, posted a comment on the Blood Car myspace page. It's worth reading.

Though Alex posted on the BC site that we triumphed in the Sarasota v. Atlanta Karaoke battle, I'd like to delve into that rivalry a little and how it began because it left an awful lot of innocent people in ruin. At some point during the party on Saturday night, we heard SFF programmer Tom H. boasting of his town's karaoke abilities. The scene was straight out of a movie. He was maybe twenty feet away from us and our ears pricked like a bloodhound's. We yelled out, "Hey, Tom H.!" At that point, the crowd went silent and parted in a fashion reminiscent of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The live band literally stopped playing, nasty reverb adding to the tension. Tom Hall took a sip of his Heineken. Though my Casio read just before 130am, it might as well have been high noon. Somebody from our side yelled out, "Atlanta versus Sarasota. Karaoke." Tom laughed, "As you wish. Sunday, the holiest day at the holiest bar in Sarasota." We accepted.

It was a close match at the outset, but we soon pulled away with Cypress Hill's 'Insane in the Membrane', Luda's 'Welcome to Atlanta' and Tony closed out the night with 'Piano Man.' Things spiraled out of control so bad at one point that the police pulled up alongside the patio and shined their spotlight into the bar. Hugh and Adam, in the middle of '99 Problems', were phased momentarily, but soon resumed rapping.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sarasota - Day 2 - Deja Vu and Dedications

Our first of two screenings at this festival was Saturday at 815pm. We knew we'd have some stiff competition from other films and an Edward Norton event so we hit the streets out in front of SFF HQ to fill the seats. Armed with our usual array of t-shirts, cards, keys and buttons, we stopped anyone and everyone. We started late because we were all very sleepy from the drive+party the previous day. But the sun was out and the patrons were teeming.

I confess the swag at this festival was better than at Cinequest. On check-in, a handful of us received a wonderfully convenient tote bag complete with emblazoned SFF logo, a plastic cup similarly emblazoned, a voucher for a free t-shirt and vouchers for comp tickets to the films. Unlike Cinequest, where your badge entitles you to just walk into whatever screening you want, in Sarasota you must trade in your voucher for the desired screening. Having carried around an overloaded backpack for the entire Cinequest festival, this compact tote was a blessing.

To add to the list of what I love about BC at film festivals is how we look as a group wearing our BC t-shirts. They look fabulous together. In the moon doc last night, the astronauts interviewed spoke of the unity of nature and man and all life when describing the feeling of being on the moon and looking at planet Earth from a great distance. Well, in the microcosm of BC, I feel that unity, that fraternity and solidarity, at film festivals. To make that connection might seem harebrained, but I've noticed in my travels with Blood Car up to this point that irony and coincidence and fate are prevailing winds that rustle our hair and clothes when we least expect it. Disseminating BC, on an atomic level, is an act of universality, of congregation.

During the day, I felt like our film might get lost at this festival. It's big and there are many important films and filmmakers here. Well known celebrities attend. I think we also felt like the demographic for the festival might not be right for a film as niche-driven as ours. Sarasota is not a young people town and our film, though its appeal certainly spans ages and races, is certainly more oriented toward a younger, cultier audience. We screened in one of the Hollywood 20's smaller screens with 110 seats. I put that out of my mind as I passed out postcards and buttons all day long. It's one of my favorite activities at film festivals. I love it. I particularly tried to approach some of the older folks to see what their reaction might be. Most were very nice. One woman I handed a postcard to took one look at that blood spurting gas pump and said, "Ew!" She made a face like I handed her a picture of raunchy zoosexuality.

Our number one job at festivals is to make sure each and every festival volunteer wears a Blood Car button on their shirt or lanyard. We stop them and affix them ourselves. At Cinequest, we had other filmmakers out on the street promoting their films. Not here. We were the only ones. In this picture, Emmi is sticking some young Russkie's backpack with a BC button. Make note of her awesome earrings.

We met two groups of folks who drove from Tampa to see the film, which is about an hour's drive. The first group was a trio of fans of the genre. The second was my Aunt and Uncle. I see them only a once or twice a year and I was happy that they were able to see the film on the big screen, where all films are meant to be seen. As 8:15pm approached, we tried to pull in people who were going to see multiplex movies. I was almost able to convince a triad of teenyboppers to ditch the abomination Disturbia and see our film, but I failed. Oh well. I went back to the inn where Hugh and Emmi were staying and changed into my suit. Suggested attire for Saturday night's party was 'chic-casual'. I wore my presidential suit hoping to deliver my speech to the BC crowd, but given the small size of the theater, Alex and I thought maybe it wouldn't fly. At this point, we really weren't sure how the film would be received. Attendance came in around 65-70, which was a little disappointing, but our grassroots work on the streets really paid off. We recognized over half of the audience as people we spoke to that day. We talked the film up to this guy and look what he bought. Squint and you'll see the words Blood Car. He doesn't look happy because I told him to look hip-hop and flash those tickets at me.

Before the film began, Alex was invited up to introduce the film and he dedicated it to his mother and...believe it or not, Mary Wick, the cab driver who drove us home that same morning. She was in the audience with her daughter. Holly Herrick, the festival's other great programmer, at the sight and sound of the cab driver dedication, said, "You got your cab driver to come?! That's awesome."

After the screening and Q&A, we were transported via Mercdedes to the local ABC affiliate, where Alex was to be interviewed on the local news. Though they couldn't show a good clip because a good BC clip doesn't exist that isn't offensive or disgusting, the interview went well and you will be able to see it on our website very soon. Seeing Alex with that brassy BC t-shirt on live local tv news was quite a treat. I watched it from the green room with our Mercedes driver, who, in his early days did theater with David Strathairn. After the interview, he drove us to the after party. Unfortunately, Alex and I missed the Edward Norton auction in which some woman paid $7500 for a two hour lunch with the man. Katie was there and she witnessed it. They one-upped the extravagance tonight by holding the party in conjunction with a tour of homes in Sarasota, which are currently on the market. So we walked around in homes we'll never be able to afford with free drinks and jumbo shrimp in our mouths. Plus, SFF hired girls dressed as mermaids for festival goers to take advantage of with photo-ops. I happily obliged them.

On a final note, the dive bars here have the creepiest, most ominous names, e.g. Memories and The Witness Cafe.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sarasota - Day 1 - Road Trip

In a red Volvo station wagon, Hugh, Emmi, Katie, Adam and I departed Atlanta just after 5am for the resort city of Sarasota. Having spent a few great years of my youth riding in my parents station wagon(a woodie) with its long bench seats and commodious trunk space, I couldn't help but compare that wagon with its modern day Swedish counterpart. Our ride was like a pair of tight fitting CKs whereas my parents ride was like a pair of sweatpants. Here is a picture from the road.

We played a car game called "Numbers." In this game, you basically have to count as a group as fast as you can. It sounds simplistic, maybe even Neanderthalic, but it's actually quite fun. While we laughed and drove by the stinky chicken farms, Alex was in the air. The festival paid for his plane ticket and he wanted to arrive early to poster the town with BC. The drive took 7 hours after subtracting a one hour Cracker Barrel stop.

Sarasota is the town that the Ringling family built so gaudy statues of clowns line the streets. Jerry Springer, Stephen King and Brian Johnson of AD/DC all have homes here, in addition to the thousands of snowbirds who migrate here during the north's frigid winter months. The Sarasosta Film Festival is one of highest attended and well financed festivals in the United States and some say the world. Mercedes is a sponsor and provides a fleet of 14 cars to the festival for its transportation needs. You just call up the transportation coordinator and tell them where you are and they'll send one of these luxury vehicles to pick you up and take you wherever you need to go.

When we first arrived in San Jose for Cinequest, I described it as a Blood Car kind of town. I didn't expect to say the same thing about Sarasota until I saw the front page of the Sarasota Herald Tribune. Alex corroborated this because while we were on the road, he put up a BC poster in nearly every shop on Main St.

They also have recommended attire for the parties that are held every evening after the films. For the Opening Night Gala last night, upscale evening wear was suggested. Before we left Atlanta, Alex, Hugh and I went shopping for suits in Little Five Points and at Ragorama I found a stunning 3 piece cream polyester suit. Alex couldn't find a suit so he went to Macy's and bought a $200 Hugo Boss suit he plans on returning after the festival.

We dolled up for the Opening Night Film and Gala and made our way to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright's studio and conceived based on a shell his wife found. We arrived early and met Geraldine, a member of the PR staff for the festival. In her enchanting voice, she invited us to walk down the red carpet before the film began. It was the beginning of a series of bizarre experiences at the Sarasota Film Festival. Flashbulbs went off all around us, microphones were shoved in our faces. Even though the red carpet was only fifteen feet long, it was a frenzy.

In the Shadow of the Moon was the opening night film and I was the only person of BC who seemed to really like the film. I'm a great lover of the moon so the mounds of archival footage was quite a treat. NASA turned Buzz and Neil into filmmakers, strapping cameras to the their chests for their first steps on the moon. And those cameras were not little. They poked out nearly a foot from the outside of their spacesuits and would probably give you a bloody nose if you jumped around. A Q&A followed with the film's director and the sixth man on the moon, Edgar Mitchell, moderated by one of the festival's great programmers, Tom Hall.

Our next stop was bizarre experience number 2, the party. I guess parties in Hollywood are like this all the time. The only things that seemed to be missing were hard drugs and I attribute that to the older, respectable demographic of Sarasota. Words like 'extravagant' were invented for events like this. It was held at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, a palatial, sprawling museum once owned and lived in by the circus king of America. In the center in the very back of this picture is a replica of Michaelangelo's David. Live band. Free champagne. Open least six of them. And this bar wasn't just open, it was gaping. Free food and if you think I'm talking about cocktail weenies and cheeseball(which I love) then you're wrong. Think sushi, hundreds of jumbo shrimp, raw oysters, maduros, Cuban sandwiches, a gigantic veggie table and more. For dessert, servers seemed to float around like angels handing out mini-cups of Dippin' dots. I am not lying. Dippin' dots. Stephen King couldn't make this up. I thought the moon was a far away place, but this event made me feel like I was in a different cosmos. It was wonderful. Katie and Adam chatted for a while with Elias Koteas, who has a film in the festival. They kept referring to him as Casey Jones, who he embodied in the live action TMNT years ago. We also met a really cool individual named Ryan O'Neal who looks like Jack White and the lead singer of My Chemical Romance had a baby. His girl, Rachel, works for the festival and has championed our film.

After the party wound down, we moved to chez Ryan and Rachel and stayed up until five am talking about BC and many other topics which I cannot recall. They have two of the largest and loudest cats I've ever met. When they woke us up at a quarter to eight in the morning, we decided to cab it back to our hotel and sleep. While we were in the cab, Alex invited our driver to our first screening that night, as it was now Saturday. He said to her, "If you show up, I'll dedicate the film to you." She had heard about the film and said she would. We'll see if she shows.

I made a few resolutions for this festival based on my Cinequest experience. One: Eat three square meals a day.(Broken on the first day) Two: Not stay up partying until dawn.(Broken on the first day) Three: Do not injure myself. (Depending on how you look at it, I've either kept this one or broken it. For my own moral support, I'll say I've kept it.

This is what Adam looked like driving home after staying up all night.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sarasota Diffusion

If you're a baseball fan, you know how easy it is for a batting average to plummet; by contrast, you also know the difficulty of raising that same average even just a few thousandths. Last time we talked, our festival BA was .250 and sinking. Today, I proudly declare we're at .333. It took a little research because a number of festivals seemed to have completely forgotten to notify us(Brussels and Gen Art, I'm talking about you). Not bad. The balance swings in our favor.

There is palpable excitement about the deadCenter Film Festival in Oklahoma City. America's breadbasket awaits. And I must personally thank the rookie French fest Festival de la Peur for inspiring the title of this post. It was he who wishes to 'diffuse' our film in the south of France. The actual geographic center of the lower 48 states of the USA is Lebanon, Kansas in the middle of a hog farm. For all fifty, it's just outside Castle Rock, South Dakota.

The latest addition to our promotional materials family is the press kit. Now, I had this item completely wrong. I thought it was a colorfully decorated folder you opened like a flower to reveal glossy production photos, rich filmmaker bios printed on 45lb paper and a polished DVD screener of your film. Nope. It's just a common word document. But within that simple file extension is your film in prose, like a Hemingway short story. Alex worked tirelessly on it. I gladly contributed some of my recollections of how the film came about and how I came to play Archie and so on. Our current screener, which is sent to media outlets and any eager distributors, is also rather comprehensive. It contains the film, a press kit with stills on CD and a small note with our festival laurels and laudatory bullet points from the various reviews we've received.

My brother Greg, a relentless promoter of the film, recently handed me an article about some technological breakthroughs at his Alma mater, Georgia Tech, that are somewhat related to BC. The headline reads, "'Nanogenerator employs human body as battery'". The first line of the article reads, "Someday, you may be able to charge up your iPod or cellphone just by taking a walk or even plugging in to your own bloodstream." Read the rest here. The scientist behind all this is Zhong Lin Wang, whose specialty is nanoscience, which is the science of very, very small things, i.e. objects measured in nanometers like atoms and molecules. For a primer, read here. To those who aren't big science fans, it might kickstart your ADD, but be patient and read the whole page. Fascinating. And if you really have a lot of time on your hands, you can read the article on Georgia Tech's website and compare it to the AJC article. Georgia Tech's article has better pictures like this one.

Chris, another avid promoter of BC and brother of mine, recently put up a poster for the film in his classroom. He teaches 10th grade English at a public school just outside Atlanta. The heading for the bulletin board where the poster sits reads "Man's Inhumanity To Man." Hidden meaning? No. Just coincidence.

In less than four hours, Alex, Katie, Adam, Hugh, Emmi(Hugh's wife), and I will depart for Sarasota, FL for the film festival there. Alex is flying, but the rest of us have opted for the classic road trip via station wagon, which leaves at 5am. I don't know how anything can live up to Cinequest, which was like seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. Nevertheless, the program at Sarasota is stellar with new films from cinematic giants like Lars von Trier and Aki Kaurismaki, and classics from Norman Jewison, Francisco Rosi and the inimitable Jacques Tati(I speak of Playtime, screening in 35mm). Honestly, looking at the program, I'm not sure exactly how our film snuck its way into this one. We're in exclusive company. On Saturday, we screen opposite Lars von Trier's new film, The Boss of it All. Head to head with Denmark's finest. Personally, I'm thrilled about the films showing. Alex and I plan on staying for a week and renting scooters and maybe retiring.

Closing note. I donated blood yesterday. My blood type is O+. It's also CMV-(cytomegalovirus, which is a type of Herpes virus found in nearly 60% of the world population aged 6 and over). So this means my donation usually goes to patients who are immunocompromised (chemo patients and babies). If you have the time, you should donate, too.