Tuesday, 19 June 2012

EIFF Pre Opening Night

So, I'm sitting in the bar of Filmhouse.

Listening to a little bit of Trojan ska on my iPod, looking at the people, perusing the catalogue for EIFF 2012.

Out of the corner of my eye I catch sight of a man I recognise; it's Chris Fujiwara the artistic director of the festival.  He's looking over the bar, no doubt feeling a strange mixture of nerves and excitement as his festival opens in a little over 24 hours.

"I tell you what he would like Mozzer", says the little man who lives in my brain but who isn't my brain, "He'd really like it if you went over, introduced yourself and then babbled about how excited you are about this years line up."

"Are you sure?  Because he looks like he probably has more important things to do with his time than speak to a stranger who runs a film blog that is read by fewer people than are in this bar"

"No...he'd love it.  What right thinking person doesn't want to be accosted by total strangers on the eve of one of the biggest nights of their life?  Go on...go over..."

"I'm really not sure about this you know...and also, he's just about to present a special screening of "The French Connection" before hosting a Q&A with William Friedkin...I think I'll just leave him alone."

"Listen, I am telling you...people like that LOVE it when people foist themselves upon them just before important moments."

As I walk across the bar I can hear the other little man who lives in my brain but who also isn't my brain saying; "You're just going to irritate this very important man and make a fool of yourself.  Turn back now...before it's too late."

It's already too late...I'm now in front of Chris Fujiwara.

He is charming and accommodating.  I tell him how excited I am and he tells me that he too is excited.  I mutter something about my love of Japanese cinema and the Somai retrospective and he shares a little of his knowledge of those films.  I could be wrong but he seemed genuinely not to mind my approaching him.

Now...I think this little encounter tells you everything you need to know about the EIFF; it's the film festival for film fans.  Sure there are press aplenty and talent in abundance....sure there are deals being done across the city...sure there is business...but thanks to Chris and his team this years EIFF is mostly about the experience of the audience.

They have put together a genuinely exciting programme and ensured that there really is something that will appeal to everyone...that's no mean feat and we should all be grateful to them for their efforts.

Later I spend 104 minutes watching one of the greatest films of all time, "The French Connection", in a crowded Filmhouse 1 before enjoying hearing one of the greatest directors of all time, William Friedkin, regale the audience with tales from his career.  On paper the festival doesn't begin until tomorrow with a screening of Friedkins latest "Killer Joe" but for those of us who were there tonight the festival has already begun.

1 comment:

  1. Good to see you back!

    I would have loved to see William Friedkin at the Filmhouse. Also "The French Connection" is a great film! Good way to unofficially start the EIFF!