Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More From 31SDFF and A Quick Catch-Up

The 31st Starz Denver Film Festival is more than half way over (pessimist), but the excitement is still growing (optimist). Films are screening all week with this weekend bringing the Closing Night festivities.

But, before I get into that, I want to do a quick recap of the almost seven months of time where I neglected to write about the portroid happenings. Um, OK, let's see. I went to the David Lynch Weekend in Fairfield, IA and got to hang out in a small group with David Lynch, Moby, and Donovan. I went to the Flight of the Conchords concert in Denver and met both Jemaine and Bret before the show. I saw the Swell Season in concert twice, once at Radio City Music Hall where I met Marketa Irglova. Took in a new Neil LaBute play. Met the Hamburglar. Wandered around like a homeless zombie until 3AM on a sweltering hot night in Austin, TX after attending the Spaced-Numb-A-Thon (every episode of Spaced on the big screen) and meeting Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, and Ain't It Cool's Harry Knowles (and being the only person permitted to take photos after the show). I attended a few events hosted by the Creative Coalition in Denver during the Democratic National Convention and got my first ever official press pass (which granted me many photo opportunities). Stood next to Zooey Deschanel and Anne Hathaway at the MLK Jr "I Have A Dream" speech anniversary event. Got completely ignored three times by Spike Lee when I tried to talk to him. Had a cold and then warm response from Charlize Theron. I met my favorite living author, Haruki Murakami, in NYC. Tim Robbins made some art for me. Susan Sarandon and I talked briefly about the DNC at a Register to Vote booth. I met Tom Cruise, and my wife, Erica, kind of dissed him unintentionally. Magic Johnson put his arm around me in LA. I got to attend five different shows at the UCB Theatre and had a great time at each. Got some great photos after those performances (AD Miles, Jeff Garlin, Paul Scheer, Rob Huebel, Jonah Hill, Dave Hill, Lucy Lawless, Tig Notaro, Matt Besser, Wayne Federman, and Harris Wittels). Met Maureen McCormick, who was extremely nice. Talked to Zach Braff at an Obama rally about some mutual acquaintences. I attended a Get out the Vote Tenacious D and Beastie Boys concert and met Kyle Gass (KG) afterwards. Barack Obama got elected President!! Some other stuff happened, too, so check the update page to fill in the blanks. And now I'm attending the 31st Starz Denver Film Festival as an officially sanctioned photographer.

See? Not too much going on.

Back to the festival.

We attended a screening of Majid Majidi's new film "Song of Sparrows" and absolutely loved it. I have added his other films to my Netflix queue and recommend you do the same. Come on, just do it. I also took a new portroid of him and this one turned out very well without the magical yellow lights.

At the Big Night screening of "Slumdog Millionaire" (which we also loved), the red carpet was loaded with a lot of interesting people.

First up was Dr. Marci Bowers, who is the leading transsexual surgeon in the country and the subject of the film "Trinidad".

Next was Ari Lehman, who played the first Jason Vorhees in the Friday the 13th film series.

Richard Jenkins, who you surely recognize from all the films and TV shows you recognize him from, stopped for a quick photo and autograph. As he was signing, a woman nearby yelled out that I was going to sell it on ebay (one of the things I hate about people who yell things out (them yelling out falsehoods about me)). I'm not going to sell it (as you already know). Richard (much like Kyra Sedgwick in years past) said I wouldn't get much for it. So, to prove him wrong, bid high and bid often on the portroid of Richard Jenkins I posted on ebay (just kidding, of course). Richard received the 2008 Excellence in Acting Award.

As I was talking to Richard Jenkins, Wally Pfister, cinematographer for a lot of your favorite movies (if your favorite movies include Christopher Nolan movies), walked right by and into the event. Lucky for me, he came back out and I was able to get my portroid.

Rachael Tucker, pictured below, is my main PR contact for the festival and has been really great at keeping me informed of events and screenings. I owe her many thanks. I'll probably just write out an IOU which I'll conveniently forget about when the festival ends. In the meantime, thanks!!! You're great, Rachael!

On Sunday, we attended a Women+Film panel on Africa in Transition. I talked briefly with Abby Disney, Walt's grand-niece, afterwards and was able to get this photo. She was the producer for the film "Pray The Devil Back To Hell", which you should see. It's short-listed for an Academy Award, so you would be well-suited to beat out your colleagues at seeing it. "Oh," you could say when the nominations are announced, "I saw that documentary months ago. Brilliant." You'll be the talk of the neighborhood (even if the talk is about what a snob you are).

The festival continues through Sunday. Go to the festival website and buy tickets. I implore you! Do it for yourself. You wouldn't want people to think you aren't better than them, would you? You're better than them. I just know it!

Yay movies (and a sense of superiority)!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

31st Starz Denver Film Festival - Opening Night!

Last night, November 13, 2008, marked the opening (Opening Night, in fact) of the Starz Denver Film Festival (the 31st one). The film was The Brothers Bloom, directed by Rian Johnson. I was positioned at the head of the red carpet and was able to take some fun and interesting (says I) new portroids. I'm sure you'll agree (maybe).

First off is Neil Truglio, Director of Marketing for the festival. I tried to get the red carpet in the background, which is why he is off-center in the photo, but it was dissolved into black by the quick Polaroid flash. My apologies to the red carpet.

Next up is Bill Plympton. Bill has a film in the festival. I've seen it. It's quite good. It's called "Idiots and Angels". You can see it today. In fact, you should see it today. Click here to buy tickets. It is an animated film about good versus evil, or more appropriately the good in us trying to overcome the evil, but with the evil fighting the good in every way possible. Worth a watch.

Majid Majidi is an Oscar nominated director from Iran. He has two films in the festival this year. "Children of Heaven" is the film which earned him the nomination and it screens tonight. Buy tickets. His new film, "Song of Sparrows", screens tomorrow (November 15). I hope you already have tickets, though, because it is sold out. I have mine (bragger).

I took a portroid of Majid Majidi last night and, as you can see below, it came out with a yellow aura with some trailing lights. I don't think there were actually any lights in the background, so this is just some sort of filmic magic that follows Mr. Majidi around (my guess (highly educated)). I may take another portroid of him tomorrow to test my theory, but I would kind of hate to be proven wrong. No other pictures in this cartridge had this effect.

Ron Henderson (pictured with his wife, Judy) is the founder of the Starz Denver Film Festival. He served as artistic director for 30 years. He is now the Senior Program Consultant. I spoke briefly with his wife about the discontinuation of Polaroid film. We lamented together. She called me an artist, so she is my new favorite person (until someone else says something nice about me). Thanks, Judy. And thanks, Ron.

Rian Johnson, who you may know as the director of "Brick", was the star of the night. His film "The Brothers Bloom" was the Opening Night event. He spent his younger years in Denver and still has family here. His mother, father, and brother were on the red carpet as well. His new film is a comedy about two con-men brothers and their heiress mark. You'll have to wait until it hits theaters to see it, because unless you were there last night (or unless you have a time machine (in which case I need to cut some sort of deal with you to borrow it for a quick trip back to 1984 so I can tell my then-self to use the restroom before Science class on that one day when it would've saved me some embarrassment (minor))), you won't have a chance to see it at this festival. Go see this movie (if you like fun movies about con-men and their shut-in heiress mark filmed in beautiful locales around the world), and seriously, let me know about the time machine thing. Thanks.

That's it for last night.

Tonight I am going to see Darren Aronofsky's new film "The Wrestler", starring Mickey Rourke. You, too, can see it, if you buy tickets. I am also considering hanging around for the midnight premiere of the documentary "His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th". The first Jason, Ari Lehman is expected to attend (plus additional special guests). If you're a Friday the 13th fan (and I know you probably are), you wouldn't miss this.

See you at the movies in the aisle seat (I think that's some sort of catchphrase),

Monday, November 10, 2008

31st Starz Denver Film Festival begins this week

This week marks the beginning of the 31st Starz Denver Film Festival, and will be there to capture it all. Or at least some of it. I hope it will be the parts you, the reader and portroid-admirer, will appreciate. I do it for you (and me (mostly me)).

If you live in Denver, or plan to be here over the next few weeks, go to and buy your tickets for some of the great films the festival is screening this year. You pretty much cannot go wrong with any choice. I've screened a couple of the films so far and they are excellent. I'm not going to tell you what they are because I want you to make your own choices. It will help you grow as a person.

I've attended the festival for the past few years and have been lucky enough to meet and photograph many attendees. This year, I will be involved in a more official capacity, so hope my trend of providing a visual experience to the world via web will be that much more fulfilling.

Here are the portroids I have taken from the previous years (if you're interested):

2007 30th Starz Denver Film Festival

Jason Reitman and AnnaSophia Robb at the Juno screening

2006 29th Starz Denver Film Festival

David Strathairn and Andrew Walker at the Steel Toes screening

2005 28th Starz Denver Film Festival

Ang Lee and Annie Proulx at the Brokeback Mountain screening

Philip Baker Hall at the Duck screening

Matt Mulhern at the screening of his film Duane Hopwood

2004 27th Starz Denver Film Festival

Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick at the after party after Kevin won the Cassavetes Award

Soleil Moon Frye at the screening of her documentary Sonny Boy

Morgan Freeman at the screening of the documentary Blues Divas

This year promises to be awesome (if you believe promises (which I do)). So, I'll see you all this Thursday, November 13, 2008, at the red carpet for the Opening Night film The Brothers Bloom. I'll be the guy with the Polaroid camera.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

VOTE!! (Today)

Today is one of the most important days in your life. Even more important than the birth of your child (sorry, it's true). Even more important than the one time you did something good in sports that your dad was proud of (yep, bigger than that). Even more important than your wedding, first job, second job, first kiss, first million dollars earned, and even more important than the day you first found this website (unbelievable, but apropos).

Today is Election Day!! Today is the day you vote into office the next President. Our country (and for those of you in countries other than the United States - "our country" in this example, and only in this example, does not mean "your country", though it will likely have an effect on your country, our decision) is ready for a change. We're all wanting it. We're all needing it. And this time, we're all making a stand and demanding it.

I'm not going to tell you who to vote for (Barack Obama), but I will tell you who I voted for. I voted for Barack Obama. And you should too.

I have a ton of other things I should've been writing about over the past few months, but they can all wait until tomorrow when we have a new President. Barack Obama.