|Director:||Luke Meyer, Andrew Neel|
Other Movies Seen By This Director (0)
|03.11.06||Austin Convention Center||This Screening is part of event: South by Southwest 2006|
My second day of SXSW started with me turning off my alarm and sleeping through the first panel on finding funding. It looked good on paper but the 8:30am/3-hours-of-sleep version of my brain came up with some pretty persuasive arguments. Instead I woke up at 10:30 and made it down for the next panel: DVD vs. theater. I felt that Alamo Tim was pretty alone up there on the panel... He was the only exhibitor up there not distributing DVDs or vertically integrated with a company pushing day & date multi-platform releases. Instead of what I thought the whole conversation was going to be about, everybody but Tim just took the downfall of good movie theater experiences as a given. Of course, all the Alamo fans in the room (and believe me we were there, Tim elicited applause several times in the hour, the only panelist to do so) took some umbrage with that and the simplified stance that movie theaters can't be any better than they are now that almost everyone up there seemed to share. That said, I finally got to hear John Sloss talk... I'd always heard about what a good guy he is and how his involvement with IFC and a few people really makes him awesome. He seemed very competant and very lawyerly... The whole panel was a bit subdued though... the moderator was pretty much silent and everyone didn't really want to step on anyone's toes... Except Tim who took the opportunity to give the Landmark dude a few licks and bring up the anit-trust suit of 1949 (heh heh heh, and he hadn't even seen This Film Is Not Yet Rated... yet) so... eh. But lucky for me Aaron had been through the Finding Funding panel and filled me in on what I missed as well as giving me tons of great info for how to get work on my doc started in an official capacity. Thanks Aaron!
Next up I went over to the "Shooting Docs" panel where a group of interesting documentarians (including Kirby Dick and Chris Hegedus) talked about a wide range of documentary filmmaking in general. I was eating it up, until the moderator (also a producer) had to leave and it turned into a q&a free-for-all with person after person asking about fair use and securing clearances over and over again. Finally one of the guys said there was a whole panel devoted to it later in the conference and they handed out post cards for it. Still though, I got tons of good info and advice from it, including Kirby Dick saying that if I have an idea and the means, just start shooting now. Start shooting and editing and even if what I shoot now never comes close to making it in the final film, I'll bet started and i'll also have something tangible to show people who can give me funding. Good advice and a nice kick in the pants for me, I'd say. I better get on it! Plus I heard that Hegedus shoots all alone now... sound and picture, so it gives me a little more confidence in not needing a skilled crew right away.
But this is a movie journal right? not a "how was my day" journal.
Darkon is a doc about a group of people in Baltimore that go out every other weekend and pretend they're in medeival times. They make the costumes, take on what they believe might be the way they could've spoken maybe, and carry on the role playing in live action form, complete with beating the crap out of each other with padded weapons.
Now, I freely admit to having a sordid past spotted with a fairly lengthy Dungeons & Dragons phase... but I'll tell you what I never went live action. I think there's some instinct in every human that draws a line telling you what's just plain too geeky. I had no problem hanging out in a basement every weekend rolling dice and mentally picturing a half-elvish version of myself robbing from the fighter's guild and killing orcs in some forest, but for me personally the rennaisance faire was the line. I don't dig on axe-throwing contests or bands with mandolins and lutes no matter how many girls i knew from school were there dressed as wenches. So when some of my goth friends started playing Vampire live-action, I had absolutely nothing to do with it. I mean sure, it's cool that they... "express their interests" so freely but it just didn't do it for me.
So this movie captures the feeling that I had when I saw my friends walking around town wearing mirror sunglasses at night and resorting to paper/rock/sissors after one guy engaged another. It's fun to laugh at them for a bit, but then it becomes interesting... and then all of a sudden it's sad. The movie does it's best to explain the draw of living the fantasy life a few days at a time but constantly reminds us that the huge castle that one army is sieging is actually just some plywood planks nailed together and painted white. It's real to them because all they need are the symbols to ignite their imagination, but the audience sees what's really there.
So it's pretty easy to laugh at these guys... constantly. Whenever someone does anything anachronistic while wearing his period costume got laughs, people laughed whenever someone'd wear their sunglasses along with their dark elf make-up, and the degree to which these guys take that stuff seriously is pretty humorous... I think the movie is good though because it never feels like a Daily Show segment. The directors like their subjects and laugh with them not at them. I just hope most audiences see the difference.