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Tag Archives: TIFF


Once, quite some time ago, I was a Toronto regular, with the festival showing my films rather regularly.  In the late 70’s, 80’s and I think perhaps until The Bed You Sleep In – way back in 1993.  Since shifting to digital I don’t recall them ever showing a thing.  Along with a handful of other festivals like the Berlin Forum, or Pesaro.   Seems I jumped on digital too early, or perhaps the tieds of fashion have shifted.  Or…?  I dunno.  Wavelength is supposedly Toronto’s slot for the adventurous, experimental or whatever (i.e., not commercial).  So the robo-letter writer sent two of these today.  I vaguely think I also sent them Bowman Lake, so I figure that one should roll in soon.


Imagens de uma cidade perdida

In the last few days received a few more festival rejection notices.  Or in one case it wasn’t a note, but me looking it up:  the Taiwan Documentary Festival said no to Imagens de uma cidade perdida, though they didn’t bother to notify me.  I had to look it up on their schedule.  And today an email informed the the Montpellier “Mediterranean” festival likewise said “non.”

I now forget how many festivals said no.   One in Lisbon did.  Another in Bilboa.  Toronto.   And I forget which others.  Festivals – go figger: in competition in Yamagata, considered these days one of the best, and pink slipped by all the others so far.  Oh well, either way there isn’t a dime to be made off it, so…   And on the other hand Dennis Grunes put it in his best ever 100 films.

[Sept 6: and today another ‘nyet’, this time from Iceland: no to Dissonance and Imagens.  As usual they sent along a little letter (not evidently usual for Taiwanese folks):

Dear Jost Jon,

The Reykjavík International Film Festival would like to thank you for your submission to our 2012 edition.

We regret to inform you that your film Imagen de uma cidade perdida was not chosen for the festival programme. Due to the vast amount of submissions of high quality and merit, our decisions were exceedingly difficult to make.

Unfortunately, the exhibition limitations only allow for a small amount of films to be screened in comparison to the overall number of submissions received.

We want to congratulate you for having completed a cinematic work. Finishing a film is an extraordinary feat, one that you should take great pride in. We would like to encourage your contributions to filmmaking and we hope you will consider our festival for future submissions. We appreciate your submission and interest in the Reykjavík International Film Festival.

Thank you and best of luck for your future projects.

Italics above mine.  What twaddle.  Making a film is a job like any other.  It’s what you do.  It’s no big deal, it’s not heroic, it’s nothing to brag about or think it makes you special in any way.  If you make a film or do anything else it’s because you want to or you have to.

The view from Walkerville, Montana

Perched at 6000+ feet in Walkerville, overlooking Butte, Montana, the view is a bit schizoid.  Perhaps it’s the altitude, messing with the brain.  Or perhaps it’s reality.  Walkerville and Butte are places which are archetypal American places, forerunners to contemporary Detroit.  Butte was once – 1880-1920 – one of the wealthiest cities in America, sitting astride “The Richest Hill on Earth.”  Today it probably ranks as one of the poorest places in the country, and the once bustling small city is now a nearly abandoned town, shrunk to 25,000 or so.  Empty houses and office buildings, warehouses and churches slowly crumble into the ground.  Walkerville, a thriving town in its heyday is now a place of derelict houses, and it seems, the kind of people looking for a cheap refuge from the world.  I’m setting my newest film, Coming to Terms, in this town.

The view in Walkerville

Out in the wider world the follies proceed.  Mitt Romney, in his inimitable style, went abroad to burnish his presidential stature and typically stepped promptly into dog doo of his own making.   That on his first day out, in a carefully plotted endeavor by his aids to avoid all problems.   The Republicans, after the circus of the primaries and the orchestrated endless “debates” seem intent on spending a billion and more dollars in super-PAC funds to hornswoggle the American people into believing that this guy is, as the cliche goes, “presidential timber.”   Sort of like the year 2000, when we elected a spoiled stupid rich frat boy to run the nation (into the ground.)   Well, actually we didn’t elect him – he was appointed by a corrupt Supreme Court.

Mitt, the man from Utah

Mr Romney, who emerged from the zany collection of Presidential wanna-be’s coughed up by the delirious Tea Party influenced primaries, as the choice of the back-room pols of the party, is, unfortunately for them, laden with some very heavy baggage:  he’s Mormon, which most allegedly Christians regard as a heretical cult, and the rest of humanity regard as a latter-day religious legend and hoax, echoing that of, oh, Christians, Muslims and about any other religion coming out of The People of the Book.  Then he’s rich, and courtesy of the Occupy Wall Street folks, (who, incidentally have not evaporated as our mass media would seem to indicate) he’s identified as part of the 1%.   These days that puts him in the company of bankers, Wall Street con men, and other currently frowned upon members of the “financial business” community.  And like his cohorts in fiscal flim-flam Mr Romney stashes much of his wealth off-shore, in the Cayman Island, Switzerland, and other dirty havens for dubiously obtained money.  And owing to this typical rich man’s practice, Mr Romney is loath to reveal his past taxes, likely because despite his reputed half-billion in wealth, he didn’t pay any.  He surmises, correctly, that such a revelation would not sit well with any but his 1%.  And he can’t win an election with only 1% of the vote.  Even if he tacked on the 30% or so of dyed-in-the wool racists who simply cannot abide an “N” in the White House, and will vote for any “Anglo-Saxon” who coos the correct euphemisms which the times seem to have forced our racists to take cover behind.   And then, alas, Mitt went forward to London (and then plans to go on to Poland and Israel), where in a mere 24 hours he managed to make an Olympian-scale foot-in-mouth act, which begot mockery from the Brits, and bled back to our shores as a grim electoral comedy.  I can’t imagine what goofs he’ll manage in Poland and Jerusalem, but the fields are fertile for yet more faux pas from fabulous Mitt.   Fox and the super-PACs have their work cut out for them trying to install their brilliant choice into the Oval Office.

Meantime here in Butte, the most famous somewhat recent citizen is being feted, post-humously, in the Evel Knievel Days, currently crowding our miniature downtown.

Bustling Butte.

For the coming month or two, this blog will go into a little rest period as I am rather occupied with the new film, and myriad other things.  For anyone wishing to follow the making of Coming to Terms, there’s a new blog which will follow as best I can the preparation, work, and I think I’ll keep it going as whatever happens with the film happens.  A little inside look at the process.  Just go here.

And as I start to dig in on this new film, just arriving in the email comes the tepid festival-speak notice from the Toronto Film Festival turning down Imagens de uma cidade perdida, Dissonance, and also The Narcissus Flowers of Katsura-shima.  I’m fully aware that neither film has the kind of warm-butt’s-in-seats sort of commercially qualities which our festivals, especially biggies like Toronto, seem these days to favor.    I suspect the new one, quite serious and I don’t plan on it being anywhere near sort of abiding by either film-world aesthetic or content conventions, will be any more welcome.