My planned six-movie marathon on the opening Saturday of FFF got truncated to only three movies due to (gasp!) exhaustion. I must learn to pace myself. This year's fest began for me with the animated Battle for Terra. Though it was predictable and the politics and message a bit heavy-handed, I did end up falling for it because of it's gorgeous animation and quite a good voice-over performance from Evan Rachel Wood as the lead, Mala. This was followed by the very solid Shorts Program #1: "Lost in Space", of which Flat Love and Happy Birthday were my faves.
This was when I got tired and decided to go home and sleep through part of the NCAA tournament and return for the midnight showing of Not Quite Hollywood, Mark Hartley's entertaining doc on the heretofore, unknown-by-me sub-industry of Australian exploitation movies. Although I'm not a necessarily a huge fan of the normal grindhouse fare, it was an interesting peak into an era of world cinema of which I was utterly ignorant. I am now currently on the search for some of these flicks! Looking for you, Alvin Purple!
Anyone remember when the Chuck E. Cheese on I-Drive was a Showbiz Pizza Place? Remember that the house band was an animatronic band of, um, animals called the Rock-afire Explosion? Well, a handful of rabid fans who have kept the memory of the band alive certainly do and they--and the band--are the subject of Brett Whitcomb's documentary also named The Rock-afire Explosion. The band was created by Aaron Fechter, whose business was based here in Orlando, and he, director Whitcomb, and many of the engineers and technicians were in attendance, not to mention the reunited "band" were performing just outside the Enzian theater.
The weekend concluded with the newest feature from Oscar-nominated animator, Bill Plympton, an FFF regular. After his very, very good Idiots and Angels, Plympton stayed for a short Q&A and then commenced to draw a picture and sign autographs for everyone in attendance.
Monday had me at two screenings, the entertaining Italian Shorts program and what is so far the best narrative feature I've seen this year, So Yong Kim's Treeless Mountain. Kim's second film was featured in an excellent article by New York Times film critic A.O. Scott about a new wave of independent films that have been released in the past couple of years. Also featured in the article was Kelly Reichardt's latest feature, Wendy and Lucy, which played at the Enzian the week before the festival.