"Money was maliciously introduced in ancient times as a tool of enslavement" -
Michael Tellinger

"The present belongs to the future and future generations, and all old laws, religious and other, should be abrogated immediately. Free us!" - Vinay Gupta on Twitter

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." - R. Buckminster Fuller

"You find the strangest ways to be positive!" - Diane Duane, Wizards Abroad

Thursday, June 2, 2011

AIFF 2011 Day 4: "Subject Matters," Hot Coffee, and Pat O'Scannell

Catching up on some great films we saw last month at the film festival...
Lobby of the Ashland Springs Hotel where the TALKbacks take
place, in a room on the mezzanine. The great thing about AIFF
is that all the venues are within easy walking distance; the
hotel is just up the block from the Varsity Theatre.
On to Sunday, April 10: We started with another of the reliably entertaining panel discussions they call "Filmmaker TALKbacks," at the Ashland Springs Hotel from 10-11:30. This one was "Subject Matters", moderated by AJ Schnack and featuring filmmakers Marshall Curry, If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front; Lisette Flanary, One Voice; Stephen Marshall, Holy Wars; Peter D. Richardson, How to Die in Oregon; and Tiffany Shlain, Connected: An Autoblogography about Love, Death & Technology. Wow! What a high-powered and interesting discussion that was. As it happened, every one of these films had caught my eye and I tried at one point or another to fit them into my schedule. It's never possible to see everything you want, and because I'd had to miss most of these, I was glad to be able to hear from the filmmakers here and they only whetted my appetite to catch the films later. The ones I missed are in my Netflix queue (you never know - they might get them) and some will be on PBS or HBO. The only ones I saw at the festival were the last two, and I've written a little about each in previous posts.

After that, Jeanie and Peggy went to see Family Shorts (check out that link - some fun trailers there) and said they really enjoyed the show. I took a break and the next slot, 3:00, saw Peggy getting into Hot Coffee, another one that she snagged a ticket to and I didn't (for Jeanie and me) even though we were online at the same time. They had two showings of that one but the other conflicted with something else we were seeing; it was a hot ticket both because it's the kind of subject that an Ashland audience relishes, and because it was made by a local attorney - her first film, and she seems to have knocked the ball out of the park. She had said in the TALKback on Friday that she organized her narrative for the film in much the same way that she would argue a case in a courtroom; it's a much-needed explanation of what so-called "tort reform" is really about and I heard lots of positive comments about it from people who did get to see it. I think it's one of the films that will be on HBO later this year. Watch for it!

Then we all took a break from the festival and did some catching-up over a lovely dinner at Larks, followed by a trip to nearby Talent, for a little local wine and dessert, and to take in a terrific show at the Avalon Bar and Grill--an Edith Piaf tribute by Pat O'Scannell and several charming backup musicians. It made me very nostalgic for a time and place I'd never known, and Peggy and Jeanie said they felt the same. Check out her website, linked above. She's an amazing musician; look at the programs she's created and the work she does, including the highly-regarded Terra Nova Consort. Go see her whenever you can!

So, another long but highly enjoyable day at AIFF and the Rogue Valley! Next - Day 5, the last day, and maybe a wrap-up.

(note: oops! When I first published this, I included Summer Pasture but actually we saw that on Day 5. I've moved it over to the next post.)

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