Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Marbella Roundup

The Lobby of the Hotel Lorcrimar"K-9Lives" was nominated for best animation at Marbella International Film Festival alongside "Leonardo" by Pixar artist Jim Capobianco, and "Body" by Zhivko Dimitrov an MA alumni from St Martins College in London.

Diary of the festival

It is 1 hour before I leave for the airport and I suddenly have a massive attack of diarrhoea. Probably nerves induced, I send my dad out for Imodium and we set off to pick up Olly who is coming along as my official photographer (and as moral support). On the flight I have a major attack of dizziness either a side effect of the Imodium or perhaps slightly brought on by claustrophobia. We land and go to my Great Aunt and Uncle’s for the night in Alhaurin El Grande. Hopefully tomorrow will bring better fortunes.

Shatner's premiereThu
An early morning woken by a colossal banging on the metal bedroom door by my Uncle, we set off for the Hotel Lorcrimar following the sat nav which takes us near but not right to it. We give up and call a taxi which gets us there in the end.

On arrival they don’t have any record of the reservation but are very good about it and get us another room. The electronic key-card works first time so this must be a posh hotel. We miss most of the press conference but catch the end of William Shatner talking about being funny without meaning to be funny. He’s quite funny.

We look through the festival program and my film is not on at the big cinema. We eat a very expensive Novelli burger then take a look at the room where my film is playing. It’s tiny and literally no-one is there. I start to lament having paid so much to come here to see my film played to no-one. We wander around and each time we see the festival organiser’s they ask if we saw some opening ceremony or other all of which we miss. They don’t seem to do a very good job of telling people what’s going on but they are very keen to sign us up for the 150 euro awards dinner. Neither of us can afford it but we consider paying anyway believing that if we don’t, then we won’t see if I win! We go to the beach and have a lot of beer, then go back for “Shatter’s” – as we dubbed him - premiere of Gonzo Ballet. Outside we meet some of the Marbella Star Trek Fan Club that is out in force. They manage to get into the screening and even offer Shatter’s a bottle of wine which he accepts. I fell asleep in the warm cinema, but actually what I saw was very interesting and funny (without meaning to be). Some of the songs have really interesting lyrics and I am quite impressed. Outside the cinema we ask the Trek fan club if they want to go for a beer but they are still on a high from getting into the premiere and say they will try to follow Shatter’s. We leave them running after his limo.

We go down to the harbour for several more beers and talk films with an editor named Gregory who we also met at the premiere. He seems cool and we exchange cards etc.
Beach at Puerto BanusFri
We wake up late with a slight hangover. Miss the complimentary breakfast but get a call saying there is a talk going on downstairs. When introducing myself to the group I mention my film is playing in the little room round the corner where nobody goes and Mac the festival director tells me it is also playing at the Gran Marbella Cinema, it was just accidentally left off the program!

The talk is more for live action producers but we meet some people and Zhivke (whose name I still can’t pronounce) turns out to be a fellow animator with a film in the program. We go for lunch at a little deli up the road and enjoy some reasonably priced food. Then back to Novelli’s to sit by the pool and have a drink. Jean Cristophe Novelli is out greeting the guests and I think we could have met him but as he was walking up to our table I started swatting frantically at a fly which had been bothering me and he seemed to divert his course away to another table. He did not come back.

We have a siesta before going to the cinema; nothing is on so we head down to the beach for another beer. Back at the festival village we meet Producer John who was at the morning talk, we discuss films etc and it turns out he watched the screeners for the fest and chose which ones he enjoyed. He had not seen mine so I gave him my card etc and told him to check out my screening. We go to see a documentary about crystal skulls which sounds interesting but was terribly produced. It was one long commentary with visuals that rarely made sense in relation to the voice-over. The sound goes out half-way through and everyone leaves (quite a relief).

We meet Zif (our new name for Zhivke) and go for yet another beer. Back to see The Long Weekend, a suspense thriller which I enjoyed. Dinner at TGI Friday’s, the waitress spots our industry passes and asks about the festival. Apparently she wants to make movies and she ends up giving us a nice discount on the meal. She hopes to see us in the morning for a workshop at the hotel but she has to work at a prostitute bar (pretty sure that’s what she said, we didn’t inquire further) until six in the morning and she was supposed to be back at TGI Friday’s the next day.

Me and the Chalk drawing guy

Get up for breakfast and meet Zif, talk films and animation and then go for the Workshop. It is with the “Banksy’s Coming for Dinner” Director, interesting but again not so much for animation. I go and sort out when my film is playing and we head off to the festival village with Zif and Maria who we just met. We all go for a beer and have a long discussion about politics and porn, then off to the beach, beer, tuna sandwich and talk about creativity and storytelling. Back to cinema for Banksy which is a pseudo documentary (think spinal tap) and after that the animations and my film. Not many people in the screening but it got a good response and the quality of all the films was good.

The evening should have been an exclusive party at a posh club but we arrive and there is no-one there. Despite flashing our industry passes we cannot get any free cocktails so go have a quiet beer and call it a night.

Perspective Chalk Drawing

From the proper angle

We go for a walk further down the beach and have an amazing meal of bream and swordfish. Three more beers then stagger to the short film screenings. Each one is fantastic, very high calibre. We stick around afterwards because one of the films was missed off and get chatting to the director and writer of The Morse Collectors. Irish chaps, very nice guys and I thought their movie was one of the best.

More beer on the beach, (it’s really an awesome beach) then back to catch a taxi. We share the ride with a Canadian couple who are here for The Long Weekend. They are really nice and even invite Olly to stay at their place when he’s in America next year.

Jean Christophe Novelli's Restaurant

We change for the awards evening and dress very casual in minor protest of the elitist attitude towards the whole festival. We sit on the fringe as we haven’t paid for the dinner. All the champagne and canap├ęs are not available to the filmmakers unless they’ve paid the fee and we find out that most of them haven’t. There are a lot of pissed off people but we just go with the flow and enjoy the evening. Apparently this festival is a bit unusual in its disregard of the filmmakers.


I meet the guy who does those really amazing perspective chalk drawings and then have my first TV type interview (I’d had a few beers so was easy to convince) for an online TV channel, IOFUSION. We work our way into the crowd and meet people, see the Irish guys and sit and chat to them for a while before getting turfed out of our seats for some woman and her entourage who apparently were more important than us. The Irish guy’s storm off very angry and we just laugh it off. More drinks and watch the awards, my film gets nominated which is very cool and loses out to Leonardo which was the deserved winner of best animation. The Morse Collectors wins and we congratulate them. Shatter’s wins and the party winds down. We’re very drunk and call it a night.

Shatner Escorted off the Premises
If there wasn’t a fantastic beach, 28 degree sun and beer flowing it might have been a different story. Not the greatest festival considering they claim to be all about the independent filmmakers but if you have the money for the extra’s then it is a welcoming place.

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