Friday, August 28, 2009

Film Fest Fun

At long last here is the account of my weekend at the San Diego International Children's Film Festival.

As the plane touched down and I saw the boats in the harbor and the palm trees among the hilly landscape I was slightly reminded of when I touched down at the Guarulhos airport in São Paulo eight years ago. I felt a sudden warmth and excitement and a song from one of my all-time favorite films popped into my head. "By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea, you and me, you and me oh how happy we'll be" Any guesses? Well--it just so happens that it was filmed partially on Coronado Island off thew coast of San Diego. I'll give you one more hint, Billy Wilder directed this unforgettable Marilyn Monroe comedy.

Well, I didn't have time to go see Hotel Coronado or dance along the shores where Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis donned their most brilliant disguises, but I did have a wonderful weekend stay. Just as last year's trek out to Long Beach, NY was my first-ever encounter with the ocean, this was my first-ever encounter with California. I was pleasantly surprised by the comfortable yet sunny temperatures, the open skies despite big city establishments and the freeways as wide as the Nile River.

I stayed with a wonderfully hospitable family, Sam B.'s parents, and they were warm and kind. A nice home away from home. I included a picture of the view from their terrace--talk about temptation to move to SoCal. Who knows, it could happen if I worm my way into some television writer's room out there and settle in a bedroom community outside LA, but first things first.

The festival itself was fun. The New Children's Museum is nestled into the Gaslamp District on West Island Avenue, rather close to the harbor. It has interesting open architecture and is filled with fun places for children to explore. Pas de Deux screened in a studio space (Studio Q to be exact) and it was screened three times. They held a Q&A after two of the screenings and it was really fun when some kids were amazed when they found out the director was present, excited kids can be a real ego booster for an artist. The questions were mostly about how it was cast, where we filmed, how long did it take. I was interested in one response from a set of parents who thought it should be shown in elementary schools and the mother came up afterward and said it had a good message about bullying. I had never thought to promote it as such, but I could see how it would work. It was great to have people see it, most enjoyed it, and I met some other talented filmmakers in the process, two were even from São Paulo.

The Best news of the weekend was when I spoke with the programmer who is also in charge of the LA International Children's film fest. I said, "Is it too late to submit for the LA Fest?" His response: "Oh don't worry about it, we will show your film there in October." So, ladies and gentlemen, watch for more details as my little film makes its way to Hollywood.
(Please forgive the lesser quality photos--I took these with a mini SD video camcorder)


Kevin said...

Sounds like you had a great time. Glad you could make it out there!

Sandy M. said...

It sounds like you did well Justin - and had a good time :) We'd really like to see your film.
We'd love to show you the beaches here too, if you ever get to down under!

Twinmomwv said...

I'm so happy for you! Sounds like you had a great experience. I'd love to see your film. Will it ever be available for purchase?