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three press screenings, craft project revealed, SIFF opening night gala - Rounding up the Usual Suspects
Steve's Livejournal
three press screenings, craft project revealed, SIFF opening night gala
This morning we barely made it to the first press screening, because of a late start and heavy traffic. Fortunately, the traffic lightened up just enough right at the end that we were able to make it on time. The gatekeepers at press screenings are strict about closing the door when the film starts.

Hawaiian shirt Thursday: three press screenings

Today was Hawaiian shirt Thursday, a long standing tradition at press screenings. I wore one of my two best Hawaiian shirts, and "J" wore a sundress with the same kind of pattern.

The 10 am film was The Girl without Hands, a wonderful French animated film adaptation of a Grimm fairy tale. The artistic style was spare watercolor brush strokes that emphasized the events and emotions in the story. It was excellent; I wouldn't be surprised if it gets an Oscar nomination for animated feature.

The noon film was City of Ghosts, a documentary about the underground Syrian journalists behind "Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently", which is dedicated to showing the suffering ISIS inflicts on the people of its so-called capital city. I rate it good.

The 2 pm film was Divine Divas, a Brazilian documentary about an assortment of drag queens who had been pioneers of drag queen shows some 50 years ago, when it was risky to be out. Some of the historical details were interesting, but for the most part the film felt like watching a stranger's home movies. I rate it fair.

Secret creative project revealed

Today was the day that I revealed my secret creative project: a necktie memorializing Jonathan Demme, who died last month. I've done several memorial neckties (for film events) in previous years, for directors that had just died, featuring a collage of the director's films. The last one I did was for Ray Harryhausen, the stop-motion animation pioneer, because his animation was more important to his films than who was credited as director.

This time I diverged from my previous pattern by focusing the collage on a single film, Stop Making Sense, rather than a survey of the director's career. The pictures I used, from tip to neck, were one of Demme, a screen capture from the film of David Byrne in the "big suit" (next to the film title in a similar font), one of drummer Chris Frantz, one of bassist Tina Weymouth, and one of guitarist Jerry Harrison. Unlike my previous ties, where the pictures were mostly film posters (and presumably still under copyright), all of the pictures were free Wikimedia Commons images, except the screen capture.

When I made the tie, the heat from pressing the edges blurred the film title slightly, which actually improved the look, because the lettering was slightly unsteady handwriting rather than the smooth trace I had started with. The blurring wasn't as good for the director's name at the bottom, but it still looked pretty good for a home-stitched tie.

Visitor, dinner

While J and I were out, "T" had a visitor, "L". He always enjoys it when she visits, so I'm pretty sure he didn't miss us while we were out.

Meanwhile, J and I went to Pagliacci for a quick meal between the press screenings and the opening night festivities. We had salads and pizza by the slice. We ran into some other people we know through SIFF, and talked movies.

SIFF opening night film and party

Although my Hawaiian shirt was just right for the Hawaiian shirt Thursday at press screenings, it wasn't quite right for the opening night film and party. But I brought along more than just the newly-finished necktie; I had a dress shirt and jacket in the car. I changed in the Mercer Garage while J walked over to the opera house to get in line for the film.

The film, The Big Sick, was one of the better SIFF opening night selections. They try to choose something that will appeal to the largest possible audience, since the opera house seats 2900, but there's not always a really good film available for the occasion. This time it was a comedy with an element of culture clash, good laughs, and a good dramatic story. I enjoyed it a lot, and I think most of the audience was pleased too.

The party was at a new location, the Fisher Pavilion (instead of the exhibition hall next to the opera house), and given the mild weather it was a great spot. It was otherwise pretty much like any other opening night party: long lines for a variety of food, abundant alcoholic beverages, and loud music in the dance area. J and I mostly talked with people we knew, including some we hadn't seen for quite a while.

It wasn't our latest opening night out, but we were home pretty late. It was a good day.

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