En route to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute for the Athens, GA made Darius Goes West, we saw this sign and sighed. We went back to the hotel, checked out and got about as far as Anniston, AL when we realized the sign just said 'sidewalk' and not Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival. We turned around and made it back in time for the movie.
The venue underestimated the attendance of the film and since it wasn't a traditional movie theater but an exhibition room of sorts, seating was limited. Alex O., Katie R. and I sat on some steps which was a surprisingly not unbearable situation, partly because the film was so heartwarming. It's about Darius, a 15 year-old with muscular dystrophy, DMD to be specific, whose friends take him on a trip across the US, his first ever, in hopes of convincing MTV to pimp his wheelchair. I cried for most of it. You probably will too if you see it. Darius and most of the cast and some crew members were in attendance, all dressed in t-shirts with Darius-isms in stark black and white. A few include "Glosabi," and "That ain't no Cuba." When I saw Darius answering questions from the audience, I forgot that DMD has a %100 fatality rate. I didn't really even think about it until late that night at the after party when I was introduced to him. Then I said to the myself, "Well, humans have a %100 fatality rate." Of course that isn't during the years of your late teens and early twenties, when DMD typically reaches the point of no return. My guess is I didn't think about it because Darius doesn't think about it. He just lives his life day-to-day like everyone else.
We walked by the Carver Theater, our venue for that night, prior to and after DGW and it is also the home of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, whose most notable inductees include Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton, who played the vibraphone. Think xylophone or marimba. Later that night we would walk the same stage as Duke and sing our own brand of music, that of the Q&A. Wiki states the Carver showed pornographic films in its later, moribund years. We hoped to bring back some of that business. It also used to be the African-American theater in town whereas the Alabama was the white theater.
A Darfur documentary and Murder Party made up the second half of my movie schedule Saturday before Blood Car, but even before that Alex O. and Jeremy S. participated in a panel called The Blood and Guts of Comedy about horror-comedies on the festival circuit. Katie R. and I sat in for the first thirty minutes and by the look of it I thought they were going to do a staged reading of some Tennessee Williams. In retrospect I wish they had. Next time I festival, I'll bring a few copies of Streetcar just in case.
We did very little promotion for Blood Car at this festival because we didn't feel like working putting up posters and harassing people to see our film. Our efforts would have been limited anyway having only brought buttons, a few t-shirts, some posters and one signed poster! Our turnout was around 220 I believe. Heartburn, an 8 min. short from a FSU film student screened before our film and the director, Jesse Barksdale, was in attendance and participated in a Q&A. Alongside him were his DP and someone he kept wryly referring to as his 'business manager', who was dressed in all black. Their short was funny, but Jesse B. was even funnier during the talkback. It was their first film festival and their wide-eyed rookie swagger charmed the pants off just about everyone. It was a great precursor for BC. Many of the other filmmakers we had met the day before extended us the kind gesture of conducting themselves to our screening as well.
If I was forced to guess which talkback was better, Alex O.'s or Jesse B.'s, I'd have to think aboutit . I refuse to pick one over the other, and this reluctance you should interpret as an indication of how close the race was, if it was a race. Since most questions reappear at every Q&A, it's a bit like a broken record or a song I play so many times I wear it out. However, Alex O. managed to work in a couple new bits that rolled some heads. Since we had t-shirts and posters to give away, we asked a trivia question to the audience about where the 'oven mitts in bed joke' came from. An audience member actually asked directly about this so we turned it into a trivia opportunity. Sadly, no one could correctly reference the film, Love and Death. We were swarmed for the swag and then left.
I wish we could have stayed for the last day of the festival, but Katie R. had to return to Atlanta for a rehearsal. It was a wonderful festival and I regret I cannot attend more. I know Alex is traveling to Austin for the film festival there and he is blogging now, so we'll be able to walk in his e-shoes while Texas brands him forever. There was moderate concern about our blogs overlapping since this is the first festival we've attended together as bloggers. My knee jerk reaction was that no one would want to read about the same thing twice. Rationality won out because multiple perspectives is the best way to gather an objective impression of the events of any historical occurrence. Alex had been wanting to start a blog for a while, but he wasn't sure he was qualified to to do. I told him it's hard work, but rewarding. He asked me to give him some lessons a few times a week and we've been training pretty hard since Atlanta's last snow melted. He launched a little earlier than I would have in his shoes. I look forward to reading his version of the events of Sidewalk.