Day four brought another hearty dose of cinematic goodness. At 12:45pm, I caught Nick Bicanic and Jason Bourque's deeply insightful SHADOW COMPANY, which provided much needed illumination on the concept of 'mercenaries' and their role in the modern world (they’re now referred to as 'private security contractors'). Not only does the film deliver an onslaught of background and historical context; it also shows just how vital a role these soldiers-for-hire are playing in the current Iraq war. As if I needed another reason to feel depressed and hopeless about the situation in Iraq. Gee, thanks, guys. Seriously, this is an intelligent and enlightening work that needs to be seen by anyone and everyone.
At 3:15pm, I slipped into “Shorts Package #2: Deadly Encounters,” which started off quite well with Nicky Poppy’s hilarious ZOMBIE-AMERICAN. DAY OF JOHN reconfirms that Canadians are sick people (as if we needed more proof about our twisted neighbors upstairs). Starring Jennie Garth and Joe Mantegna, ‘TIL DEATH delivered a twist that clearly caught the entire audience off guard. THE WALKING INK is a staggeringly strange work that had me grinning and saying “what???” in equal measure. And while MISSING PAGES was formally breathtaking, it felt wayyyyyyyy longer than it should have. I’m sure the fact that we’d already seen four shorts before it didn’t help its cause.
At 5:45pm, I finally got to see Rory and Robin Muir’s DOWNTOWN LOCALS, which was a really, really, really well told portrait of six subway performers trying to make a living in New York City’s suffocating underground. Never condescending, yet never falsely glamorizing, the film is an honest, tenderly executed ode to the unexpected, everyday heroes that surround us.
I didn’t sit through COCAINE ANGEL again, but a lot of other people did, and I’m pleased to report that the screening went well (of course, I’m the last person to make this sort of determination, but the theatre was heavily populated and a large group stayed afterwards to hear me mumble through some sloppy explanations). This was the first Q&A where the audience really got in there and asked some probing questions, which I’ve been waiting for, to be honest. I hope there’s more where that came from! That said, thanks to everyone who came out and watched the film. I know there was so much other good stuff going on at that very moment (THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE, Steve Anderson's F*CK, Doug Pray's INFAMY, Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim's ABDUCTION), so that makes it extra special.
The awards ceremony was fun, but once again it felt like just when things were getting started, it was time to hit the road. I promised myself that I’d let loose one of these nights, which I hope will be tonight. Come on, Boston!
Shit, I just realized that I have to get ready for today, so I can’t post pictures (although they are finally on the computer). I might just wait until I get home to do a comprehensive recap like I did in Sarasota. I know everybody’s bugging me about it, but settle down. It’ll be better that way, I promise.
Here’s a listing of award winners, if I remember them correctly (and even more hugs and handshakes to Jason and Adam for their fun and painless ceremony):
Special Jury Prize – THE MYSTERIOUS GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORATIONS OF JASPER MORELLO
Grand Jury Prize – AT THE QUINTE HOTEL
Special Jury Prize – AMERICAN BLACKOUT
Grand Jury Prize – THIN
Special Jury Prize – BROTHERS OF THE HEAD
Grand Jury Prize – CHALK