John was eager to go to Los Angeles Film Festival events together. There were many film screenings, conversations and panels throughout last week.
The LA film fest also had a filmmaker lounge where filmmakers with a pass could get a drink, network and relax in a fancy tent between events and during the night. John got a pass because he had a film in the festival, but he insisted on getting me one so we could schmooze in the lounge together. He was able to get me one by saying I was a blogger…I mean I’m blogging right? So I feel inclined to blog about my experiences at the film festival! I did not go to any films like John but I went to three conversations that were educational, entertaining and exciting!
The Art of Translation: A Conversation With Julie Taymor
Julie Taymor made history when she became the first woman to win the Tony Award for Best Direction for her unique interpretation of the Disney classic The Lion King. Seeing the theatrical version of the Lion King is one of my most memorable moments in the theatre, I
loved it. I also really enjoy Across the Universe, the movie that integrates the music of the Beatles into a story that reflects the tone of the songs.
Julie Taymor worked on many other theatre and film projects I was less familiar with, but am now eager to see! She has directed the Tempest and Titus Andronicus by Shakespeare both on the stage and the screen. In this conversation Taymor describes the process of adapting stories from the stage to the screen and from the screen to the stage.
Her creativity and attention to detail was astounding. She was trained extensively in storytelling all over the world and did a specialization in Japanese puppetry. It was interesting to hear how her training from different parts of the world influenced her choices. She shared one technique that struck me. She incorporates ideographs into her work. An ideograph is a single graphic symbol that represents an idea or concept. Artists are challenged to portray a complex feeling or concept with one small symbol. She gave the example of a palm tree with three brushstrokes. She tries to make these types of pictures in her work so they are not busy. Instead her minimilistic, focused pictures make a stronger impact.
This was my favorite event, I was so inspired by her knowledge. Most recent news surrounding Taymor has been about the failure of Spiderman: Turn off the Dark. I think its unfortunate that something went wrong with that show. I have so much respect for Taymor and believe she will recover from this set back. As an aspiring publicist my mind was spinning about what actions are being taken by her publicist to maintain the positive reputation of this talented artisit. It turns out she is acutally an ID client! I was able to connect with a familair face from work at the event.
Jack Black and Shirley Maclaine: Don’t You Know Who I Am?!
When I was 14 I watched School of Rock literally every other day, so I was very excited to see and hear Jack Black! I was curious why Black and Shirley Maclaine were in the same conversation. She is a classic movie star who worked with Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly. Did her and this successful goofball have something in common?
It turns out they worked together in a movie that premiered at the LA film fest called Bernie. The two connected in that film and played off each other as they attempted to answer questions about their careers and films in a game show style conversation. I sort of expected Jack Black to tone it down and be serious. O no. He is JUST as ridiculous in real life as he is on film and its great! What was more surprising is Shirley Maclaine held her own too. She was biting and picked on Jack Black, creating some hysterical tangents. They also both had some very interesting stories to share about their rise to fame and their experiences in the film industry in two very different times.
Guillermo Del Toro and The Arcane Enchanter
At this event Guillermo Del Toro, director of the Oscar winning Pans Labyrinth and the new film Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, presented and shared one of his favorite films. He explained that this was like sharing his favorite secret recipe with us! The film was called The Arcane Enchanter, a dark Italian film few people have seen. I’m not the hugest fan of scary movies, but it is definitely one of the better ones I have seen. It was not gory, but suspenseful. Instead of utilizing the “jump out and scare you” tactic, the film set a haunting tone that enveloped the viewers.
After this movie we were able to meet Del Toro! Quite a way to end my film festival experience