Friday, May 22, 2009

The High Falls Experience

So It's been awhile. To tell the truth, I haven't really missed blogging much.

High Falls is a nice local festival geared toward older people. I'm glad I got a press badge, because in all honesty, I'm not sure if I would've wanted to spend the $175 on it. At the risk of losing my press credentials for next year, I'm going to launch a critique right now:

I think the festival could do more to attract younger people. They showed The 500 Days of Summer (which wasn't too bad, but another post) and Easy Virtue, but a lot of their guests aren't really youth-friendly: even guest (and High Falls board member) Lesley Stahl commented that there weren't too many young people in the audience. From what I observed, most of the main people involved in the festival don't seem like people who are too interested in attracting young people to the festival. I'm not saying they should do away with having people like Lesley Stahl and Lynn Redgrave as guests, but do these people know that Kristen Wiig grew up in Rochester? Or even know who Kristen Wiig is? I suppose that clips from SNL, Knocked Up, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, and Adventureland wouldn't be enough to constitute the 10 minute montages they compiled of each guest to fill up time.

Given how the schedule is laid out, I don't know if these people attend any other festivals besides their own. Other than the movies that win their awards, no film gets a second screening, and the only panels they offer (Lesley Stahl aside) revolve around the recipients of the Susan B. Anthony "Failure is Impossible". When I told one of the staff members that I was doing work on behalf of The Film Panel Notetaker, she asked "What's A Panel?" More panels and more screenings might attract more people from outside the area.

As well as actually giving directions to their venues. I had directions to the Geva Theater from Google, but the address listed at Google was that of their storage building. Printing the directions on their program might have saved me from missing the CCH Pounder Panel.* Their shuttle was hardly ever on time, and they didn't even bother to give their volunteers any schedule as to when the buses show up. I ended up cutting out of Easy Virtue early because I didn't want to keep my brother waiting too long, and I didn't trust the shuttle. When the artistic director remarked that she thought the festival was "running smoothly", I thought, "If it's running so smoothly, why can't they keep their shuttles on time?"

I suppose that the trip was made somewhat worthwhile was meeting and speaking with Jack Garner (anyone who's lived in the Rochester area at some point and is a movie buff knows who he is) and Lynn Redgrave. Meeting Lynn Redgrave was the highlight of the festival, easily. Still gorgeous at 66, I told her how much I loved Georgy Girl, and that I had just seen This Sporting Life (which she's not in) the weekend before. She's a very nice lady, and quite honestly, I'm pleased to meet anyone who was involved in the British New Wave, especially Tony Richardson's sister-in-law (Richardson also directed Lynn in Tom Jones). I should have her panel up on TFPN sometime next week.

I might go again next year if they have some worthwhile guests (like Ms. Redgrave), and I'm not too far away.

Last night, though, I watched Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience on Demand. I enjoyed it. Soderbergh said he looked to his own movie The Limey for inspiration, and if you liked that movie (or Out of Sight), you'll probably like this one, too. I thought Sasha Grey did a good job, and while casting her might have been stunt casting, I could see Grey crossing over from porn. She's icy without being stilted, she's vulnerable without being over the top. I hope it comes out on DVD soon enough, since I doubt I'll get a second chance to watch this before 6:30 tonight.

* I did get to meet Ms. Pounder later, and what a nice lady!

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