Saturday, November 7, 2009

Kissing Paris screening at Cork FIlm Festival 2009

With only 10 days before opening night of the Cork Film Festival we were notified that our film was selected to screen on Monday 2nd November at 2pm. Apart from the dramas of actually finding a flight so close I has also planned a trip months earlier to Barcelona to catch up with my friend Bill. Well, after hours of searching I finally found a flight, a very very expensive flight, but a flight nonetheless. Unfortunately I had to pay an extra flight back from Barcelona to Paris (the cost of which was the total cost of the original return flight books months before) as well as pay for a really expensive flight from Paris to Ireland. Lucky, as there were only 4 seats left on that flight AND the only flight I could get before the Kissing Paris screening at Cork. Was maxing out the credit card, rearranging my holiday to fly back early, as well as flying all over the place and not getting any sleep all worth it? Hell YES!

I can quite honestly say that Kissing Paris screening went down really well for its only screening at Cork. The audience embraced this micro-budget film whole-heartedly. I had no real indication how well this film would do. I didn't see the cinema before I actually arrived, I didn't know if I was to make a speech, I didn't know whether I needed to do publicity and I didn't know the size of the cinema.

Anyway, he festival treated me like a Queen! Well, that's what it felt like to me anyway. I got picked up from the airport (they even greeted me with a sign with my name on it - which was cute because when I saw it I walked over to the girl and said - "that's me!) and then I was taken to the guest office. Everybody was so friendly there too. (thanks to all the staff including Berty, Emily for making the stay so special) After that was a quick trip to the hotel. I didn't really have time to explore this little luxury - I dumped my bag very quickly and off I went as I took up an offer by the volunteer, Julia from Germany, who picked me up from the airport to go on a mini tour of the town. She showed me where the events were to be held, including where the screening of Kissing Paris was going to be. All great considering I didn't have a map, I had no idea where I was, I had no time to look at the film schedule, or any idea what I was going to do.

After my mini tour finished I decided I was going to eat something. It was 5pm, yes, it was early my normal European standards but quite normal for back home in Australia, but I was damn near hungry! I happened to be standing in front the official festival restaurant. It looked expensive but I didn't really have time to research other places - and everything in Cork looked expensive anyhow. But as I was about to walk through the doors I checked my phone and realised there was a message. It was the festival saying that the very restaurant I was standing in front of was where we were having dinner that night for the guests that arrived today, and in fact in 10 min. Woo hoo! "Go in if you like and order what you like! We'll be there in 10 min or so!" Well, it was rather convenient indeed, eh? Dinner was lovely where I met artist Qasim Shaheen as well as American film director Robert Kane Pappas who was too excited about his documentary "To Age or Not to Age" that screened that morning, Swedish filmmaker Jens Ă–stberg who had his short film in the international program, and short film programmer Carlos from Indie Lisboa International Film Festival. After dinner we were off to opening night drinks. More free alcohol!

Following from that was a walk to the cinema to see the opening night film Boys are Back. We picked up our "exclusive" tickets (again, feeling like a Queen!). The Australian film, directed by Scott Hicks and featuring a very delicious Clive Owen was interesting. The film was shot in South Australia and the Australian outback never looked so good! The film was ok but I didn't think it was a standout kind of film for opening night. Clive was adorable though and the boy who played his son was even more adorable. Either way it all seemed to go well. I did notice that the cinema, although huge (i think 900 seats), was not sold out. I did get a hint from the speeches given that night that the festival's program was somewhat smaller this year due to the 'crisis'. Either way, I was exhausted so I didn't stay for further drinks after the screening.

I did see quite a few films though the next day. The documentary Anne Perry-interiors, interesting, revealing but not too revealing. I don't know if you know Anne Perry but she is the author of 50 or so crime novels. She is also the same woman who Peter Jackson made a film of called Heavenly creatures. She murdered her mother. The film never reveals too much though about the main character or what happened when she murdered her mother or even how she came to do it.

I then made my way to the cinema complex for KP. I was nervous and excited. Its hard to describe the feeling. I didn't really know what was going to happen, no idea at all. Don from the festival approached me and introduced the film. Thank you to my new friend Qasim who came to be my emotional support as it was a little scary! And I felt kind of 'naked' out there.

People laughed at certain bits, particularly the 'Julien' scene on the park bench. That drew the most laughs. Other scenes that drew laughs included the appearance of the character Heinz in his superman shorts in the hotel room. The line that got the laugh: I want you to stay. I don't want me to go." My apologies to people who have not seen the film yet!

The film had a near sold out crowd and with a cinema capacity of nearly 400 that wasn't bad for a 2pm session on Monday. Overall the audience seemed to enjoy it immensely. The Q&A was very informal and quick. Don asked me how much of the film was based on real life. I cant even remember what I said but I did say I did not want to give away any secrets ; ) And of course somebody asked me how I ended up in Paris, whether it was before or after, and whether my french improved. I did had one punter afterwards tell me that he was a bit shocked by the single action of the character Hienz in the film and he felt it was a bit out of place in the film. I also had a wonderful man from Boston come up to me and say he almost cried watching it. He said he was going to propose to the love of his life in a few months so it was a bit emotional for him seeing the film.

After I felt more at ease and relaxed I went to see more films. One I snuck into was called Pinprick. It starred Australian actress Rachel Blake. After a brief meetup with more filmmakers and a quick introduction to Festival director Mick Hannigan, I was off to see more films, the documentary Crude (at the Kino Cork, which I heard was going to close down-go to facebook to join the group to keep it open) and a wonderful Romanian film "Tales from the Golden Age". This darkly funny film, with wonderfully absurd moments was actually made up of 5 shorts centred around the Romanian communist era. The first one had me laughing so hard, I almost peed my pants. The colours, performances, production design were all wonderful.

To see the photos click on this link:

Overall a wonderful festival, eclectic in its programming which the audience (made up predominantly of Cork residents) seem to embrace and interesting people to meet. It really is a unique festival and a unique place. And being my first time in Ireland I found the people so warm, funny and kind. Cork really is a festival without all the glamour that other film festivals have. It was totally informal and relaxed. I mean, who needs all that glamor anyhow ?

Kissing Paris at Cork

Its funny. Not in a ha ha way either. Distributors seem to tell Anna and I that the film is too small and it would be difficult to find an audience. I mean, really?? All of the screenings have sold out and most of the audience members are women. This film is perfect for women, 25 + and they are a huge part of the audience market. Someday soon, a distributor will switch on to this fact sooner or later.

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