Welcome one, welcome all to Friday Guest Blogging! Hopefully every week (for now fridays, but the day might change) we'll have a contributer from the film world, party world, music world, or, well, anyone world I choose share their thoughts. Our first guest blogger is Ryan Werner. For those who don't know him (and shame on you for that), Ryan is head of distribution at Wellspring. He has recently released such films as The Brown Bunny, Tarnation, and Palindromes.
When Jared asked me to be a guest writer on his blog, I immediately felt intimidated because I know his newly loyal readers want to hear about New York nightlife first and foremost. He suggested that I write about my experiences at the Tribeca Film Festival instead, and I agreed.
There is always major discussion about Tribeca - what it means, what it stands for and most importantly why does it have to be so damn close to Cannes. This year, a lot of the discussion started to become more positive than in the past. First, the festival moved its dates up giving exhausted industry people a bit of a rest before they start things up again. In its fourth year, the festival seemed to begin to show signs of moving into much more than a local showcase. There were more than a handful of premieres that stirred up excitement. In fact a few of the ones I attended at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center had the feeling of a first screening at Toronto or Sundance. Still, the festival has a ways to go before they can truly compete. However, I give the programmers a lot of credit for raising the bar each year. I suspect it won't be long before this festival flexes even more muscle. I have to agree with Anthony Kaufman's recent blog about the juries though.
Tribeca came this year in the midst of our release of Todd Solondz's PALINDROMES. For my money, this is the kind of bold and audacious filmmaking that I look to festivals to introduce. The closest thing to this in Tribeca that I saw was Caveh Zahedi's I AM A SEX ADDICT, a surprisingly honest and often times funny biographical illustration of the title. There were also a number of highly anticipated local premieres such as Wong Kar Wai's 2046 which just about everyone I know lined up for. I had seen the movie twice already and contemplated seeing it again. It's one of the most ravishing, romantic films ever made and something that keeps playing over and over in mind. The one film that I really looked forward to but missed was NIGHT WATCH which will also be released this summer.
All this brings me to the parties which I know Jared's loyal readers have been waiting to hear about. I didn't go to as many parties as normal, I did manage to make it to Showtime's party at Nobu which without saying probably takes the award for best party, best food, etc.. By the next week, the team behind our movie THE BEAT THAT MY HEART SKIPPED had arrived. Director Jacques Audiard (READ MY LIPS) and his gorgeous cast - Romain Duris and Aure Atika - made the trip. We had a great time party hopping with them and when we had enough of the festival events, we managed to drop by various local hotspots. This is not my speciality. I leave that to Jared and also Sophie Bouchart who is working here at Wellspring. Sophie managed to take us on various nights to Marquee, Bungalow 8, The Maritime's Hiro, Select, Crowbar and the Tribeca Grand. A real tour of the town for our friends from France, just a regular nite on the town for you, loyal readers. I should mention also our trip to the Embassy Suite's hot spot, Chevy's known world-wide for it's "fresh-mex." No Tribeca Film Festival is complete without a stop at this most fortunate chain restaurant.
One of my personal highlights was co-hosting a dinner with Strand Releasing for our our two French films at Duane Park Cafe. Strand has Cote d'Azur at the festival, a real crowd pleaser that premiered in Berlin. All of us at Wellspring really admire Strand, and it was great to see Marcus in town. It happens that Strand was the company that brought Audiard to America's attention with the release of A SELF MADE HERO. Wellspring has also released two films by the directors of COTE D'AZAUR so it only made sense that we share a dinner. It was a great turnout including many members of the press and various other friends.
The festival ended for me at a party in a hotel room at the Embassy Suites just floors above the closing night party. While I wasn't in the mood for a big party, this was a great alternative with new friends and a few old ones. I managed to eat a tray of cookies when no one was looking and then somehow we had a midnight delivery from Dominos which I probably ate 90% of. I can't say I felt proud the next morning but somehow it was a good end to the festival.