Cambridge Festival Report

Yesterday was a busy day. It began with an English breakfast at our youth hostel where we are staying. English breakfast: egg over-easy, fruit, hash brown, cereal, croissant, and some sort of really good sausage.

From there it was off to meet up with some others including our French tour-guide, I believe her name is Hanault. Because she is a graduate student, we were able to explore a couple of colleges within the Cambridge University system. Unlike American schools, Cambridge is like a fortress. Only students are allowed within the college walls. Things are very traditional here – and when I say traditional, I’m talking about 15th century traditional. Proctors dressed in bowler hats monitored the entrances and the yards. Only professors are allowed to walk on the grass. And every effort is made to preserve a way of education and life that has proved to produce some of the world’s most noteworthy thinkers. People like Darwin, Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, and Sasha Baron Cohen, studied here. Probably the most amazing thing I saw was the copy – the one and only copy – of Isaac Newton‘s first edition of his book PhilosophiƦ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, which introduce and describe Newton’s laws of motion.

The only problem with our tour guide was the she was trying to sneak us into areas that were off limits. There were 5 of us total, including her; Adam and I, a Brazilian director named Filipie and a girl named Carolina. So when Hanault stepped over a chain clearly restricting the back side of King’s College, and we were expected to follow without question – I wondered if it was a good idea. She was yards ahead of us when Adam and I made the decision to follow. But the Brazilians, with their better judgment, lagged behind, wary of crossing the chain. As we started to turn the corner I heard a yell from a guard, “King’s members ONLY!” We stopped immediately and made our way back to the entrance. It made for an exciting outing.

After our grand tour and lunch at one of the College’s, Adam and I headed across town to meet up with a French film director, named Remy Batteault. He is working on a documentary about Super 8 film making and filmmakers for a French TV show. I spent about an hour at his hotel answering questions about my experiences with Super 8, how I started in film, and The Good Soldier. It was the first time I’ve given any sort of interview about film and particularly about how personal it is to me. The only trouble I had was when he asked me to look into the camera and pretend to be speaking to an animated Super 8 film camera, and ask “it” a question. I think I asked something really stupid like, why aren’t your film cartridges longer? I don’t know. All I could think was that this sounds very French. It was pretty funny.

After the interview we headed back across town to our room. We got dressed up and took a taxi to the Murray Edwards College on the opposite side of the city. By now, it was raining off and on in typical English fashion.

We arrived at the college and met with the organizers of the festival and several “fellows” of various Colleges within the University that have supported the festival. We had a formal dinner – Adam just handed me the actual menu from the dinner – consisting of: “Roasted Loin of ‘Suffolk’ Free Range Pork with Bramley Apple Sauce, Grilled Herb Crusted Fillet of Trout with Lemon & Parsley Pesto, New Season Asparagus, Ricotta, & Basil Bruschetta, Rosemary Roasted Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli and Carrots, Pear & Blackberry Crumble with Vanilla Cream, Classic British Cheeseboard with Celery & Grapes, and Fresh Fairtrade Filter Coffee with Chocolate Truffles.” Oh, and of course we had wine.

The festival itself followed dinner. The venue was great – just what I had hoped. A stadium-style seating arrangement that was spacious and comfortable. My film was the final in the series of films so I got to see all these other fantastic Super 8 films. I was so amazed and impressed by the quality and the craftsmanship of the films. There were documentaries about immigrant life in America and there were experimental films told through a series of colors, time-lapse elements and methods that still I’m not sure how they produced.

I spoke with the festival’s organizer about hosting a Super 8 festival using the films from the program at the Renegade Picture Show and I think we’re going to make it happen.

My film showed last. When it began I felt my heart begin to race. It was such an indescribable moment to be there among an international audience of people that had never seen my film. I had no idea what the reaction would be. And again, here I was watching the film – this time in a completely different way. It felt really good.

After the film there were some director interviews. The first was with Felipe Cataldo, the Brazilian director of Monocelular. His film was one that stood out in terms of it’s art, it’s music, it’s development…and it’s craziness. It was pretty wacky…but I enjoyed it because of that.

He did a good job answering the interviewer’s questions and a couple of questions from the audience.

Next up was me. The festival director, Thierry, asked me questions about my start in film, and various aspects of the making of the film. I felt like I did pretty well…I wasn’t too nervous…but later as I thought about it, I might have said a couple of things differently. But that’s probably a common feeling when you’re answering on the spot questions in front of an audience. I answered a few questions from the audience…all gave the impression that people must have like the film.

The feedback I received after the show all had to do with how professional it appeared, and how well produced it was. I think people were drawn into the story as well because there was some discussion with people about the themes of the story and what certain things meant. And there were some questions about the music and how it was crafted and applied.

Overall, it was another great experience that the making of this film has brought me to. Again, I have so many people to thank for helping make this possible. I wish everyone on the cast and crew, my friends and family could have been here to share in the experience. Perhaps that is one thing that I wish I had expressed while standing on stage – that it is not just me – it is important that everyone gets credit for this because everyone involved put a little bit of themselves into this as well. And I appreciate that.

So today should be a relaxed day as we enjoy exploring Cambridge, the shops and historical places. Later we’ll go to an afternoon festival viewing to watch a Super 8 feature film.

(Videos and pictures to be posted later…)

Made it to Cambridge, UK

It was a long flight – a long uncomfortable flight – but I made it to London! I met my brother Adam at London Heathrow Airport, we rented a car, and we began to make the trip north to Cambridge.

I managed to hit one curb during the drive but other than that, no major screw-ups. I heard that I would get used to driving on the left side of the road in the first 15 minutes. Not true. I drove a couple of hours and I am still not used to it.

We made it to our accommodations – a youth hostel in Cambridge and went walking around a bit.

On the agenda for tonight is to attend the Competition 2 Programme and watch some cool Super 8 films. Tomorrow, I have an interview at 2 pm and then my film will show tomorrow evening.

ACCEPTED!! – Today is a good day. (Notes 27 – The Good Soldier)

Just when I thought I would receive nothing but rejection, I opened my email to a welcome surprise – an acceptance message from the Cambridge International Super 8 Film Festival in England.

This is a perfect venue for this film as it will be among others that are shot on Super 8.

The film is scheduled as part of the “Panorama 2” on April 30th at Buckingham House (Murray Edwards College). That’s all I know right now.

They have extended an invitation to me but at this point, I’m not sure if I will be able to make it out there or not.

Check out their website.