this past weekend, i survived my second secret film festival. i had learned a few things from my first one and again enjoyed 12 hours of movie watching. in this age of binge watching, that doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment now, but i do feel accomplished. like a runner, i feel i improved my personal best because i fell asleep less this time around. that may account for the films i chose, though. last year the two movies i dozed off during were a bit dull, this year i found almost all to be quite entertaining. here’s a rundown of my time at the secret film festival.
10:45pm “woke up,” showered, and packed my bag. water, red vines, cliff bars…
11:30pm found parking where i wouldn’t have to move my car or feed the meter during the fest. this was something i learned from last year. and the 15 min walk downtown was pleasant and helped to wake me up.
11:45pm the line was down the street full of film nerds just like me equipped with blankets, pillows, picnic bags of junk food, and a love of cinema.
12:00am doors open. “enjoy your shows” says the ticket taker.
12:15am i hit up the concession stand. i decide to go with the traditional soda and the del mar’s delicious GMO-free popcorn instead of the quirky options they have available for the fest.
12:25am introduction and a synopsis of the opening film: starts out as a christopher guest type mockumentary then turns to a buddy film and then suspense and action with a car chase. also touted as the most illegal film ever made due to footage shot at NASA without permission.
1ish am the dude behind me is fucking snoring. a half hour in and he’s asleep? and fucking snoring.
3:06am movie #1 ends. it was not a 2 1/2 hour movie, the time change occurred at 2am. movie #1 was operation avalanche and was a perfect opening film. it was a funny take on the conspiracy theory of the faked moon landing. it was really, really well done. it started out comedic (that christopher guest reference was accurate) and then turned a bit dark at the end. operation avalanche premiered at sundance and was picked up by lionsgate. (FYI: that guy snored the ENTIRE time.)
3:10am time to make the first decision. your options are a feminist vampire film from germany or a gory horror film from turkey. i did as usual and picked the non-horror one.
4:42am movie #2 ends. therapy for a vampire was a spoof of sorts on the vampire movie. it was funny and entertaining. i probably wouldn’t watch it again, though. the other movie turned out to be called baskin and apparently there was something gross that had to do with spaghetti. (dude snored all through this one, too! wtf)
4:49am options: a dinner party that descends into madness or the ultimate fan movie documentary. being a fangirl myself, i chose option 2 despite the fact that the dinner party movie i saw last year (coherence) was fantastic. i had to trek up to the 2nd floor for this movie and i was happy to leave my snoring neighbor. so, he paid $25 to sleep? i don’t get it.
6:50am movie #3 ends. raiders! is a documentary about a group of kids who remade raiders of the lost ark shot for shot over the period of 7 years in the 1980s. they had successfully finished this project except for one action scene. this film follows the kids reuniting as adults to finish their epic endeavor. this was a great look at the effect films can have and the passions they can instill in the viewers. it was a really heartwarming and engaging documentary. the alternative was the invitation.
6:56am options: past or future? an italian fantasy movie in english with kings, queens, and ogres described as an adult version of the princess bride (which is funny because i’m reading that currently) or a sci-fi near futuristic computer film. i went with door number two that took me back upstairs and into the future.
8:41 film #4 ends. creative control was, i guess, a dramedy? i laughed a lot, but then towards the end it got a bit depressing as we see the pitfalls of becoming addicted to technology. the acting was stellar and the story was interesting. the ending kind of fell flat, though. bonus: reggie watts and h. jon benjamin make appearances. the other option seemed to be more of a blockbuster type film with some big names. tale of tales stars salma hayek, vincent cassel, and john c. reilly.
8:43am tale of tales was 20 min longer than creative control so i had myself a little intermission. i grabbed a coffee and looked up the films i had seen thus far.
9:15am everyone reconvenes in the main theater for movie #5 which is a series of 22 short films by nacho vigalondo.
10:12am movie #5 ends. the first of the 22 shorts in confetti of the mind was funny and enjoyable. the next couple were ok and then i fell asleep. i woke up at some point and what i saw on the screen was confusing and somewhat disturbing so i went back to sleep. which was nice because i couldn’t hear the snoring that was STILL going on. can you believe that?? i don’t feel i really missed out and i’m glad that if i have to fall asleep that it was during this.
10:15am movie #6 and the closing night (day?) film is directed by one of the directors of last year’s closing film, what we do in the shadows. i got really excited at this because i loved what we do in the shadows. the only description we were given was that it was an adventure film.
update: dude is still freaking snoring. i don’t think he has watched one full movie.
11:48am movie #6 ends. it did not disappoint. taika waititi directs this adventure through the new zealand bush (“you said bush”) with two unlikely heroes. hunt for the wilderpeople stars sam neil and julian dennison as a strange duo who go on the run. funny and moving, this was the best of the night and a great way to end the marathon.
12pm i leave empty handed, having not won any of the awesome raffle prizes, but my little cinephile heart left full. i saw some great films and had an experience like none other. until next year…