A Few Thoughts About Vegas Cine Fest
Now that Vegas Cine Fest is over I have some thoughts about festivals I thought I’d share. For one thing, the more lead time you have to plan the better. Considering that so many issues for running this event came up and were dealt with within a matter of weeks, the few number of people involved putting it together and the very low budget available more was accomplished than some thought possible. The concentrated efforts of founders Philip and Maria Marcus and the man who seemed to be everywhere getting the event produced, Jeff Grinstein made this an entertaining and enjoyable three days for attendees and filmmakers alike. Among the highlights (aside from the screening of MORE TO LIVE FOR) was the opportunity to see over 50 movies and network with some very special people. For me some of the highlights were seeing the opening film “Some Guy Who Kills People” and having the chance to talk with Barry Bostwick, Ryan Levin and Jack Perez. Their Q&A was lots of fun and they were all gracious and approachable to everybody at the Nikki Café After-Party. Other filmmakers I wish I’d been able to spend more time with were James Redford (Quality Time) and Sandrine Orabona (Sometimes When We Touch). I’m hoping that maybe I’ll be able to get them to agree to be interviewed for Filmmakers Notebook at a later date. Seeing the dynamic duo known as King Is A Fink (Julie Keck and Jessica King) and meeting Chris Grimes, who were there for “A Second Knock at the Door” was wonderful and so was hanging out with the ladies from the “Pink Skies” documentary and getting to know 9-year old actress Claire Elizabeth (Daddy’s Little Girl), who I swear will be running her own studio by the time she’s 21. This talented young lady is already writing her own scripts and making her own films. One of the few disappointments I had was that John Trigonis couldn’t attend for his screening of “Cerise”. It would have been great to have the chance to meet him and find out more about his future plans.
The two filmmaker panels also turned out to be informative and interesting despite some last minute changes that required merging the two groups into one panel and all of the speakers were gracious and accessible to those in the audience. I was the moderator and only found out about the changes half an hour before we were scheduled to start. I must admit that switching gears at that late date give me pause for a few moments, but we made it work. The Film Finance & Distribution Panel was comprised of Executive Producer Michel Shane (Catch Me If You Can, I, Robot); Adrian Ward, Sr. VP, National Bank of California; Page B. Ostrow, President, Ostrow & Company; Sam Eigen, Shoreline Entertainment and Entertainment Attorney Steve Pacitti, while The Film Producers Directors Panel featured Noah Hutton (Director, More to Live For), James Redford (Producer/Director, Quality Time), Joseph Singer (Producer, Doctor Dolittle, Dante’s Peak, Courage Under Fire) and Executive Producer Marvin Lipschultz. As you can see combining the experiences of such a diverse group did present a few challenges, but also provided the attendees with a unique opportunity to learn about areas of filmmaking from a variety of viewpoints.
Another aspect of the festival that I thought was wonderful was the closing night awards show. One thing that Philip and Maria were determined to do was make this part of the event fun and entertaining and with a little help from Jeff and his friends it definitely was. We were treated to great music courtesy of Duncan Faure (Bay City Rollers) and Jupiter Crash. Their set included Duncan’s old hit “Saturday Night”, a rendition of “Live and Let Die” and a few new tunes. They really “rocked the house” and got everyone in an up mood. There were also “real awards”, statues handed out rather than the paper certificates used by some other smaller festivals and Vegas Cine Fest had Plus-Sized Model Inbal Simhayoff acting as ambassadress and handing them out. I have to give special thanks to Jeff’s friend stylist Catherine Schuller, who came fromNew Yorkto attend the festival and dressed me in some amazing clothes from Lane Bryant and Igigi during the festivities. She also did my hair and make up for the red carpet interviews, which was very different for me since I’m used to doing radio or writing online where no one sees you. Photographers Chris Purifoy and Don Parnell and videographer Ghen Laraya-Long from Women in Film and Love Hope Strength guys Rob Rushing and Eric Jennings and Vinny Gajee from the Downtown Film Festival, David Novak and Tracy Garner also deserve special thanks for all of their efforts during the event. On a final note, my colleague John Donovan (Las Vegas Is Talking, La Voce) was on hand doing radio interviews with some of the filmmakers for this blog and I’m making arrangements for us to do more via telephone in the future. As soon as the ones he did are ready, I’ll start posting them.
So, till next year, so long Vegas Cine Fest!