Celebrating The 2010 Las Vegas International Film Festival’s Third Anniversary
It’s common for people to use New Year’s Day as a measuring stick when they look back and reflect on what’s changed for them during the previous twelve months. For some of us, however, this tends to happen when spending time with friends and colleagues or attending particular events. Last night I indulged in this type of thinking during the opening of the 2010 Las Vegas International Film Festival at the Hilton Hotel.
First of all, viewing the premiere of Kevin Asch’s “Holy Rollers” based on the true story about how a group of Hasidic Jews smuggled 1 million ecstasy pills into the United State back in 1998, set the stage for a feeling of nostalgia. After watching the film, which stars Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Bartha, it was easy to remember the good old days of the late 90’s and think back to some of the twists, turns and choices in one’s own life. At that time I was working as an executive search consultant far away from the entertainment industry and what has now become my current lifestyle.
In this thoughtful frame of mind, I left the theater with a group of writer friends to attend the Opening Night Filmmaker and VIP Party at the Artisan, a boutique hotel with beautiful artwork adorning the lobby, bar and restaurant areas. Located near several gentlemen’s clubs, it is more reminiscent of artistic East Coast establishments than the neon glitz associated with Vegas. As we entered the lobby, I remembered attending last year’s Festival at the East Side Cannery. I had a wonderful time and met a number of amazing filmmakers, but it was a different type of experience because I was different. At that point I had been traveling to Los Angeles to attend seminars and workshops exploring various aspects of filmmaking and trying to figure out what my niche in the movie making world might be. I had joined the Nevada Film Alliance to network with other people in Las Vegas, but most of my actions in pursuing this new field were somewhat tentative. In 2009, I knew few people, had no projects to speak of and felt an odd combination of exhilaration and the type of hesitancy someone feels when you’re the new kid at school in a strange town.
This year, it’s all changed. Wandering through the Artisan and out to the patio, we encountered several local members of the press and filmmakers that I’ve had the great pleasure of getting to know along with having the opportunity to meet many new acquaintances. Handing out cards, talking about writing for this blog, Las Vegas Round the Clock, The Flick Chicks and now ScriptShark, I’m very comfortable discussing films, asking for interviews or just socializing. In several instances, I also found myself to be the person now making introductions. Having co-produced “Accused” and being the Director of Marketing for the Nevada Film Alliance hasn’t hurt either.
Suddenly, I realized that within in the space of one short year, I have carved a niche for myself within this group and have developed a sense of belonging. That hit me as an unexpected milestone for some reason, but one that brings much satisfaction. For anyone else who feels that they’re not moving forward and making any progress, I recommend using an event like this to assess where you are. While seeing your name in the credits or receiving payment for your efforts are obviously more tangible ways for gauging success, sometimes it’s feelings like the ones I had last night that reinforce your decisions and give you the strength and self confidence you need when you start to doubt yourself.
On Tuesday I’ll have more coverage including Q&As with “Holy Rollers” director Kevin Asch and Ash Adams, the writer, producer and director of “Once Fallen”, but now it’s time to go back to the Festival and enjoy the movies, the filmmakers and tonight’s party at Palms Place.