FOCUS: Catherine Hardwicke
The SFTV Women's Film Society, of which I was a very active part at that time, had a day-long function to promote, uh, women in film. We had an amazing Q&A with alot of film-makers, screened short films, etc etc, and then closed with a screening of the indie film THIRTEEN, followed by a Q&A with CATHERINE HARDWICKE.
Catherine Hardwicke! Thirteen! Thirteen was the movie that really turned me on to indie film and made me understand what it was. I remember buying an Indie Film magazine, just for the heck of it, at Hastings one day, as I had been telling my parents I wanted to be an indie filmmaker. The cover was Evan Rachel Wood and Nikki Reed, and in it was a fantastic interview with Hardwicke who I thought was very cool and very inspiring. I eventually lost that magazine-- bummer-- but I remember certain very specific things in it, like her talking about writing the script, what doesn't belong in a script, writing with partners, and them getting Holly Hunter with the hook of the script and little money. This woman just went out there and did this! Amazing! I can do that! So anyway, it was a weird sort of fulfillment to see her, ask her questions, and tell her how long I've "known" her. She was impressed and remembered that magazine interview, and chatted with me for a few minutes. She chatted with everyone. She was just terribly nice. I forgive her for Twilight. She was an oddball, though, which made me like her even more.
Screening of Slumdog Millionaire: Anthony Dod Mantle.
The week before the Oscars, with the cinematographer, Anthony Dod Mantle. I hadn't seen the film yet so I was glad to have the theatre experience. It's a great movie, of course, and the cinematography is CRAZY, frenetic, and rolls with the storytelling. Mantle was very humble and very nice. I'm not into cinematography specifically as I'm not a techie, but he made me see the appeal of that job. The next week, he won the Oscar. That was pretty cool.
Gran Torino: Joel Cox.
We got to screen Gran Torino, probably the best movie of 2008 (tied with Revolutionary Road, in my opinion) in our little theatre here, with the editor giving a Q&A. Well. The guy went on ad infinitum, but he really did have alot to say. He worked with Clint Eastwood almost exclusively for 20 years, and they worked together even before then on other random things not helmed by the Clint. He talked about work ethic and his style of editing and how prolific his career has been.
Shiny Toy Guns/Cold War Kids concert.
I went to this with my friend Lauren, who got schnockered in the process (she's asian. their faces get super red the minute they take a drink. all the ones i know, anyway). It was pretty lame because it was in the middle of the day, whereas before such school concerts would be at night, thus making it much cooler. It was weird to get pumped about an electro act like STG OUTSIDE in the AFTERNOON. Still, I was pretty impressed with STG, even though they're not my bag. The leader singer girl was really hardcore and dressed in this silvery sequin get-up Cold War Kids are also not my bag at all, so I didn't stay for the whole of their set.
I was also in a play that semester. It was a good play. But let's not get into that.
Film Outside the Frame: Brian Hegeland.
SFTV's annual ceremony, where they reward excellence within the film production program and award lifetime achievement type stuff to people we think are cool. Here we had quite a number of industry professionals, and honored an editor fellow (the one who did Michael Clayton) and a cinematographer (Groundhog Day, He's Just Not That ETC) some other people, and Brian Hegeland (writer/director of Knight's Tale (!) etc). From the Loyolan: Brian Helgeland, who received his M.F.A. from LMU in 1986, received the Distinguished Screenwriting Award. A reel of Helgeland’s work began appropriately with a scene from “A Knight’s Tale” in which the character Geoffrey Chaucer says, “I’m a writer. I give the truth scope!” Helgeland also wrote screenplays for films such as “Mystic River” and “Man on Fire” and won an Oscar for “LA Confidential.” In his speech, Helgeland talked about the various jobs he had growing up and how each one exposed him to storytelling. He also commented on the education he received at LMU.
“[Before applying to graduate school], I didn’t even know film school existed. I thought every film was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. You can draw your own conclusions about the value of my education at Loyola,” he said.
Bob Dylan Concert.
Hollywood. Amazing. Went by myself. Saw him in his limo afterwards while an overzealous t-shirt seller tried to sell the man the image of himself. HAHAHA. What a wonderful thing. The highlight was Mr. Jones, which looked like a cabaret act.
The Decemberists Concert
AMAZING!!! It's hard to say what has been my favorite concert, but this one definitely scores on the list. They had no opening act, they performed in a theatre at UCLA, and the whole first set of their show was their concept album, The Hazards of Love, performed in its entirety, with a crazy light show and animation story to compliment it. AMAZING!! The second set contained their older favorites, and while they never played my absolute musts like Engine Driver and Architect, they did play amazingly and engaged the audience more than any other band I've seen so far. The bestbestbest part was the finale, in which they got us to sing "hear all the bombs fade away" as they played Sons and Daughters (the neverending song). Colin Meloy is a hilarious individual, and made the band play a shoe-tying song for him as he paused every three songs to re-tie his strings. Ah! Wonderful performer.
Fantastic Mr. Fox screening, Wes Anderson/Jason Schwartzman Q&A.
Met afterwards hugged pictured stammered endlessly SO embarrassing but so amazing aaaaaaaah. I talked about this extensively some time ago.
Preview Screening of Sherlock Holmes .
SFTV kids got it here, free, a month before its release. Yeah, we didn't get RDJ with it, but still. Suck it, rest of the world. It was a good way to cap off a really rough semester.
Though, for such a horrible few months, it did have some wonderful moments. Obviously.
Forth AND LAST and THIS semester
Patty Jenkins Monster screening, Q&A
FOCUS tried to get her for this year's fest, but she couldn't make it so she showed up for another monday night series. I had forgotten what a hard-hitting, impressive movie this is, and now I would like to buy it. And it's true-- Charlize Theron's performance really is one of the best I have ever seen, appearance and all. Anyway, Patty Jenkins was a very cool person to hear speak. She found a project that she thought was interesting and elevated the material from what it might've been. She wrote to Aileen Wurnos and was the only one granted Aileen's letters and the blessing to make a movie about her. Jenkins talked about her method of writing and directing what you don't know with what you do know (the women in the film are gay, but the actresses and Jenkins are not. While trying to write some of their scenes, Jenkins struggled with thinking about "what gay girls would do." When she finally started just thinking about her own life and what she could personally connect to within the characters and the story-- and yes, one can do such a thing with a gay serial killer character-- it worked. This is simple, but something I have to remind myself of. If you can't write what you know, FIND A WAY to write what you know in what you do not know. Yes.)
Quentin Tarantino & Crew of Inglorious Basterds Q&A
It seems like I wrote about this previously. Hollywood, Q&A with the main crew, all of which were fascinating, and then Quentin. I found alot of what he said interesting, but I mostly just love his way of doing things! He writes on paper, he doesn't type up scripts on the computer. He refuses to use CGI (or uses as little as possible) and wants to do only in-camera effects when he can. He draws so much from the classic methods of film-making that I have so much respect for him, and dammit, I love the fact that he's seen every movie ever made. I love passionate people!! Before he showed up, the editor of the film, the only woman on the team, ha, mentioned that the cool thing about working with QT is his enthusiasm, and I totally believe it. He loves making movies. On their lunch breaks, they said, QT would run off to the local theatre to see whatever movie had just come out. He also talked about his method of writing, and how you have to let the characters take over after awhile, and let them talk to each other, which is a weird sort of possession phenomenon I've noticed in my own writing attempts. Gosh. I love him. We could seriously be good friends. Also, he kept mentioning George Sanders, which made me so happy.
Patricia Clarkson Q&A, interview
They had her to school for Women's Month or something. I believe she was there for the theatre department, and it was kind of hush-hush and out of the way, but I was so glad I slipped out of class to go. She's kind of an odd duck, very well-spoken but kind of like that sophisticated, slightly dotty single aunt that children seemed to have in movies made in the 50's and 60's. She was eloquent, and then would say weird things about people being "Yummy" or whathaveyou. Anyway. She was there to encourage the theatre kids but she was just encouraging in general, talking about the times when she realized she truly loved acting, the off-chance things that altered her career (playing the supporting role of a german lesbian heroin addict opened the doors that were shut by her mom roles up to that point). She talked about reading many scripts for first-time directors, and the dedication it takes to be in the industry. I guess the most important thing I took away from what she said is her advice to surround oneself with people who "get it". People who understand what's going on in you, and people who support it, challenge it, and help you when you need it. I've noticed lately a strange, growing sense of isolationism. My writing and where I am going with it is probably the cause-- it is such a big part of me and if it's not shared or understood by or discussed with people I feel like I'm not being myself. Or something.
Third Eye Blind Concert
On-campus, pretty amazing, pretty amazingly 90's. They all sounded really great, however, and I was impressed with the lead singer. He's gotten old, yeah, but he looks good and sounds the same. Very energized, very fun. I saw them with my friend Drew and the two of us pretty much hummed through the first half of the set as none of the songs were familiar, but as they played on they became more and more so. I was psyched to hear Semi-Charmed Life, Motorcycle Drive By, How's It Gonna Be, and Jumper, which I believe closed the whole thing. It was timely of them to come here this year because over the past few semesters I've had a resurgence of appreciation for them, and their high quality pop. I really like their subject matter, and I think they were generally pretty insightful with their lyrics. Jumper is a really remarkable song, and I have so much more appreciation for it now than I used to. Though I must say, when I think of them I recall one of two things:
1) Listening to their music while mowing lawns for money in Denton in the blistering evil heat.
2) My mom referencing Semi-Charmed: "The one where he gets all high? GooooodBYYYYE!? That one?"
Owl City concert
Owl City isn't entirely my bag, but I did love Fireflies when it came out (and Saltwater Room before it was popular, damn it!) and Hello Seattle is a GREAT song. Anyway, I owed my friend money which she would not let me repay, so I treated her and her sisters to a concert I knew she wanted to go to. It was hard as HELL to get those damn tickets but when we took her sisters there it was worth it. The show was alright-- again, not my scene-- but there were some magic moments. I didn't know most of his songs and I heard one for the first time called Meteor Shower, which was a really wonderful love song that I have been listening to much since then. He was a weirdo-- purposefully so, I suppose-- and would end every song by saying something off like "thanks, i like you alot." Anyway, it was fun, and I got to go to Club Nokia, which I had never been to before.
Tales from the Script Screening
LMU had the director of this awesome documentary come and screen here. IT WAS A PHENOMENAL MOVIE. I wish everyone I know could see it; it says so much about my chosen profession, why it's wonderful, why it sucks, why it's terrifying, how people make it and don't and all that. It really was gripping, and the director himself was also very interesting and educated. He himself is a screenwriter trying to make it, and I found one piece of advice of his very valuable: don't write for the market or for trends or for what you think people want. He did that for forever, and then finally, after he wrapped the doc, he wrote the kind of movie HE wanted to see-- something offbeat and dark and funny and weird, and now he's getting consideration, and, he thinks, is very close to selling it. Of course, as this doc proves, nothing is written in stone...
Bryan Cranston Thing
Mentioned in previous post. Wonderous man!