We have been attending the film festival for many years and have seen our share of good and bad at the festival. However, you get the feeling that this year is a special year for the festival and that there is the proper leadership to lead the festival into next year’s big 50th Anniversary celebration. Here are some thoughts from walking around the festival last night.

Attendance
The parking lot at the Japan Center Parking lot was almost full. This was a good sign since we were getting there at 9:00PM to see the Late Show at 10:30PM. We will be able to better guage the turnout at the festival today since the first weekend is the busiest.

Will Call and Volunteers
When we arrived to the festival, we went to the will call desk and picked up our tickets. This was rather uneventful which is exactly what you want. It was nice to see that our order for 26 tickets, 13 pairs, was filled without any errors and the volunteers were cordial and helpful.

Press Hospitality Suite
The press hospitality suite is amazing this year. They basically turned one of the smaller theatres on the bottom floor of the Kabuki Theatres into a lounge for press to sit and file their stories. It hase food and beverages. And it even has WiFi for realtime blog updates and a movie kiosk screening system. The system is made by a company called Kaleidescape and works like a TiVo that lets you screen over sixty of the festival entries in one of four kiosks using 26″ LCD panels and headphones. We plan to take advantage of these when we have more than a two hour wait between films. In fact, I am posting this from the festival right now!


The Executive Director
Graham Leggat, the Executive Director for the festival, is personable, approachable, and a pleasure to talk to. We spoke with him at the Stella Artois lounge and had a beer with him before our film. He recognized me as a blogger and told us how important we are to the future of the festival. After we spoke with him we went to sit to watch our film. Before the film started we saw Graham walking around looking for someone and it turns out it was me! I had accidentally left my driver’s license at the press hospitality suite earlier and he came up to the theatre to personally hand it to me.

That’s just fucking cool! I was very impressed. He could have easily asked any volunteer to bring the license up to me, but probably said, “I just had a beer with that guy, I’ll take it up myself.” Roxanne Messina Captor, the old Executive Director, wouldn’t have been caught dead talking to me let alone handing me my license. This is yet another reason why the festival is better without her.

All in all, the festival is great so far and we are looking forward to seeing more films. Look ahead to reviews of some the best films in the days ahead.

1 Comment »

  1. Cool!

    #1 by Meerenai — April 23, 2006 @ 1:11 pm

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