Sunday, November 11, 2007

It Came from Lake Michigan Film Festival 2007

To kick off my new Blog, I'm posting my reports on the ICFLM Film Fest, 2007.  The first post is from Saturday morning, about the first day of the fest.


Trying a bit of live reporting from the film fest.

Bigger venue this year -- up in Milwaukee in the Tommy Thompson center at State Fair park -- and better organized, though it's still obviously a young festival.

Plenty of films in rotation in three rooms this year.  Plus another room for lectures -- I'm doing a panel at 1 on Sex vs. Violence in the movies.  I have no idea what I"m going to say.  I haven't met my co-host yet.  We'll see if anyone shows up.

I'm the token author at the con, so here on Saturday morning, I still have no idea how it will all work out.  Not much business yesterday, but I had some cool conversations and met some interesting people.

Peter Kokh from the Moon Society -- -- chatted with me about the possibility of colonizing the moon and Mars.  He has a really need diorama for an example, and is happy to talk about the old space missions, future space missions, and where the current version of NASA is going wrong.

Heather Lei Guzetta is an up-and-coming actress who has appeared in the horror films Exile, Rise of the Ghosts, The Awakening, and Samurai Terror.   At 6'1" she's hard to miss.  She's also both pretty and personable.  About the only thing she doesn't have going for her -- so far as I see on her handout -- is a web site.  I need to mention that to her.

The trouble with having a vending table at the festival is that it's keeping me from seeing films -- which is the best reason to come here.  My son caught a handful during the day yesterday, and he and I caught a couple together last night.

The Medium was fairly good short about a man who is inexplicably drawn to a deserted theater.  Turns out the theater is haunted and the man is the medium of the film's title.  The explanation of the haunting and how it tied in to the owner of the theater was good, and the acting was fair to good.  Though the editing was fine, the camera work was a little murky at times -- and sometimes didn't follow the action well enough.  Overall, though, I enjoyed it.

The Tree is another short film from Wisconsin -- it even included a thanks to a car dealer we pass on our way into town.  The film tells the story of a family who inherits an old farm house.  Little do they know that the huge, old tree in the yard can induce psychic visions.  Despite a somewhat predictable ending, this film was very strong overall.  The technical aspects were all excellent.  (I had worried at the start, which had a long and complex credit sequence, that all the money might have been spent up front.)  The thing that made The Tree stand out for me was the acting -- which was uniformly excellent.  Good actors are hard to find for small films, but the producers and director of this flick did great in that regard.  The main characters hearken back a bit to James Brolin in The Amityville Horror -- but the part calls for that, and the actor does well without taking the performance over the top.  Even the 7-year-old actress was good -- and anyone who's seen The Phantom Menace knows how hard it is to find a good kid actor.  Definitely check this one out if it comes to a festival or cable station near you.

Organization has greatly improved this year -- though this is obviously still a young festival.  While there are signs outside the film rooms now, telling what's showing next, there aren't enough signs actually pointing the way to the rooms, which are on 2 levels of the complex.  Also, the entryways for the film rooms tend to be on the same side as the screening.  This morning, that resulted in me walking into an in-progress film screening with director Uwe Boll ( Blood Raine).  They were filming the after-film session, and I found myself trapped behind Boll -- between him and the screen.

Having the screens on the opposite end from the entryways would allow people to come and go from the showings as they please.  Also, rearranging the room that Boll was in would mean that people going to his screenings would have to move through the vendor area -- which would be nice for all of us with tables here.

That's it for now.  My seminar is up in a few minutes.  Wish me Luck!

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