Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Catching up on CENFLO

I just realized that I never followed up on my promise to talk more about the Central Florida Film Festival (CENFLO) where we presented "Ten At The Top In Tampa Bay". I also noticed that I have only posted twice in the last two weeks and both times I bitched about what was on television, which would indicate that I've done nothing but sit around and watch TV. Far from it. So as promised previously, here's what happened at CENFLO.

  • The festival runs during the Labor Day weekend, so it started Thursday night and ran through Sunday. I had to work Thursday so I didn't get to Kissimmee until late. I did get there in time for the gala at the Osceola Center for the Arts. K and R were already there but had car trouble earlier in the day. Everybody was kind of wiped and we didn't feel like sampling any night life and we didn't stay very long.

  • Saturday and Sunday we hung out and watched tons of films. Some better than others, but I honestly didn't see anything I hated. This is unusual for me as I have an innate ability to find something to hate in almost anything, and I enjoy doing so. As a result, I was both pleasantly surprised and bitterly disappointed.

  • We didn't go out Saturday or Sunday evenings either. I didn't feel well all weekend long for some reason and I don't think K & R did either. It kind of goes without saying that it's extremely challenging to find good food in the Kissimmee area. It's Disney's doorstep so the whole area is choked with kitsch and clutter. And in an environment like that, it's no surprise that almost everything is served either in a plastic bag handed to you through a window or from a trough on a steam table, which is enough to make anybody feel queasy. I had very little appetite so I didn't eat much of that crap but something got me. I had to call in sick to work later that week. It was definitely a disappointment to not spend at least a little of the weekend partying up but none of us were really up to it.

  • My favorite film of the weekend was "Kreating Karloff" (you can watch it in it's entirety by clicking the link). I got to meet the star and creative force behind it, Conor Timmis. I had hoped to just say hello and compliment him on the film but we wound up talking for quite a while about all kinds of stuff. Conor's an interesting guy, with lots of opinions on a variety of topics. He's been doing the festival circuit for some time and had some great stories, successes and disappointments, about his experiences.

  • "Ten At The Top..." was shown twice and both times there were glitches in the presentation. The first time was in a small room that I think is a music rehearsal studio. Just after the film started, someone tripped and fell over some chairs. Then a couple of minutes later somebody hit the light switch which was actually in a tiny hallway outside the room. The next day in the big theatre, it started with audio but no picture. It only lasted about five seconds but it felt like hours. Plus, the color was kind of washed out for some reason. I think the DVD projector was over-adjusted for another, darker film. It was still a thrill to actually see it on a real, full-size movie screen.

  • Another thrill was autographing our poster for festival director Bob Cook and his wife and deputy director Ginger. I tried to think of something deeply meaningful ("War Is Over If You Want It"), spiritually cryptic ("May U Live 2 C The Dawn"), or sarcastically smarmy ("Get Well Soon") but couldn't think of anything that hadn't already been done or didn't sound full of shit so I just went with a sincere "Thanks!" and my signature, which sort of looks like "Clk Buh". I suppose I should probably be too mature (jaded) to get an ego stroke from being asked to autograph something but I'm not.

  • The festival closed with an awards ceremony. In spite of the fact that we didn't win anything, R wouldn't let me throw my program on the floor indignantly and storm out. Uh, hello? I thought we were filmmakers. If we're not going to storm petulantly out of awards ceremonies, what's the point?

Bottom line, CENFLO itself was terrific. Great films, well organized, beautiful facility, and extremely friendly and hospitable staff. I hope we have something to take there next year. I'll just bring sandwiches from home.

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