Our 2nd screening at the Atlanta Film Festival arrived much quicker than expected. Less than 18 hours after Thursday's platinum sellout, it drew an eclectic mix of young, old and middle-aged moviegoers to its sunny 515pm start time. Two wild ladies showed up who had attended the night before, invoking the spirit of Rocky Horror without playing dress-up. Apparently, such devoted mimicry needs time to develop.
The actual Blood Car, now more an embodiment of independent filmmaking than of disturbed sociopathic violence, sat cooking under the southern sun all afternoon. The poster we tacked up in the windshield nearly peeled off. Wrinkles seemed to develop in the hood and chassis almost overnight. 'Twas dreary to behold. Fairly soon, we'll have to organize a not for profit campaign to save the car that brought us to the Atlanta Film Festival and beyond. As if flattering the car's dilapidated state, the projection at our Friday screening left much to be desired. The film had to be restarted after an incorrect aspect ratio issue and poor picture sharpness. But worst of all was the color balancing of the projection system, which egregiously rendered the red blood of the title card "Blood Car" a Barney the dinosaur purple.
Alex was furious and we were disappointed. Following several attempts on Alex O.'s part to address the problem with the help of AFF volunteers, the decision was made to let the film continue. We let off steam upstairs in the filmmaker's lounge shooting pool and having drinks, but thanks to Hugh B., who stayed to watch the film, we received text message updates that reassured us, "Crowd laughing." We returned to the theater to conduct the Q&A. We were quite warmed up for this one because of an extended interview with up and coming film mag Short End Magazine prior to the screening. No photographers or sellout crowds this time, though we did have a strong showing for a challenging slot. It nevertheless was a marked difference from the previous night. Poor 515pm. It can never grow up. It will never be 9pm or 10pm. The Peter Pan of screening times.
Nothing too wild followed. In fact, we acted much more sedated at AFF than our previous two festivals, which I believe is directly correlated to the 'out of town' factor. We didn't cut loose nearly as much, at least I didn't. Cinequest and Sarasota imbued us with the confidence of master criminals, but in Atlanta everyone knew us already so if we tried to break the law, we'd be apprehended much more easily. But what I continue to notice from festival to festival is the recurrence of various films and how it resembles a club, one I wish existed in high school. I was in the French club but never attended one meeting. It's a film festival club upon which we unknowingly stumbled, but will now desperately seek out. The great indie films travel the circuit. At first glance, this repetition might seem slack, but it feels quite the opposite. It brings these filmmakers and their films together. I missed many films in Sarasota because I knew I could catch them in my hometown. I regret missing a number of AFF's programming triumphs; Protagonist, for instance.
But Atlanta's closing brought what felt like the first leg of our festival run to a close. The culmination was the unforgettable Thursday night. You can only find that kind of support at home. We've been on the circuit since March. Only two months have passed. Winter was the pupa stage and now spring ushers in adulthood. A greater question might be how many legs there are to a festival run? Alex leaves for the Maryland Film Festival tomorrow morning, and had I known how good the program was up there I might have made an effort to attend. It's his first solo festival trip, but it won't be his last as the perks of being a film's director include free flights and hotel rooms. Anna C. will be traveling down from NYC to meet him so he won't be all on his own which should assuage your fears. Southern boys in the big city occasionally meet a Joe Buck fate, but Alex is a bit more street smart than Voight's gigolo hayseed incarnate.
.342 - Believe it or not. I don't remember what our festival BA was last time, but this is assuredly an increase over it.
Two dynamite slide shows of photos of BC at AFF can be found at CinemATL.com and cforty7.com. Kudos to the photographers. And there's a special gem on CinemATL's website for anyone who missed the Thursday night BC screening. Click here and you'll find video footage with memorable snippets of our screening in Atlanta and of me announcing my candidacy for President of the United States of America in 2008.