Friday, October 28, 2005
HIFF WRAPUP + SOME PICTURES
All in all, the The Hampton's International Film Festival (HIFF) was quite successful. The weather was quite good almost all the time (except Saturday). There were large crowds. The movies were diverse and interesting. Many film makers and actors came to the parties, screenings, and other events, making for lots of networking.
Johanna Watts, leading actress from IN MEMORIAM,
in front of the main festival theater on a rainy Saturday.
Because of the huge number of films, many shown at the same time, it was possible only to sample the offerings. Of those I saw, my favorite film was The Warrior Class, which is previewed below. My least favorite was The Bee Season, which is also previewed below.
I saw a number of other interesting films:
Kardia is about a woman investigating the heart operation she got as a child. It was honored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, receiving the award for a feature length film that explores themes of science and technology. The Sloan Foundation also sponsored a panel discussion of the film, moderated by Bob Balaban.
Bob Balaban and Su Rynard, the writer-director of KARDIA,
at a discussion sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Ballets Russes is a collection of archival films -- including choreography by Fokine and Massine -- of two dance companies that brought new ballets to America, together with the tale of the rise and fall of those companies as told by the principal dancers. The film tells a good story. My only regret (or hope) is that they gathered many more films of dances than were used in the film. It would be very interesting to have access to much more of that footage, perhaps even with more commentary on the dances themselves, rather than on the competition between the two companies. On the DVD or the web, perhaps? I was struck by how much more I liked these old dances than the ballets I have seen recently. An offhand remark in the film suggests that it may be the influence of Balanchine that turned ballet in a direction that I find much less interesting.
LEFT -- Josh Hyde, prize-winning student film maker of CHICLE (L)
Among the people at the festival were Erica Meerhsen, who gives an impressive performance in The Warrior Class, Johanna Watts, a seriously attractive (that is, very pretty and friendly) actress who stars in In Memoriam, and several student film makers, all prize winners, whose films were very impressive not just for the results, but also for the amazing effort that went into making them. Many of the people involved in short films were also there, including the producer, director, and a cute actress, Mindy Raymond, from Menage a Trois, a film with a cute premise shown in the program of women's short films. Liza Minelli, Alec Baldwin, Kyra Sedgwick, and Kevin Bacon were among the more famous actors in attendance. Asked by a member of the audience whether he finds acting in independent films to be different from working in commercial films, Kevin replied simply, "Yes. In the commercial films I get paid."