So much for blogging each day. The drama began almost immediately for me. I was in line at the security leaving Houston IAH, and i noticed the guy behind me in line had the exact same laptop as me in a container about to go through the scanner. I made a mental note to be aware of that, and to grab mine as it cleared the security scanner. I walked through the scanner, grabbed the first tray to come out with a laptop, and loaded it up and left.
I downed 2 vodka tonics in about 10 min to get the proper head change for the 8 hour flight, boarded the plane, and prepared for take off. Once we were in the air I pulled out my laptop, only to flip it open and the horror of the new wallpaper, and oversized folders revealed to me that I was in possession of the wrong laptop.
The feeling of losing your new laptop, is much worse than that of losing your phone...I was sunk...lost. What do I do? What have I lost...WHO IS THIS GUY THAT HAS ALL MY PERSONAL INFO!!! Fortunately this guy is as big of an idiot as me, and has not password protected his laptop. I found his email (wide open) then located him in his contacts. Turns out he is a retired man from South Africa that has a home in Houston. We will be exchanging laptops upon my landing in Houston on November 4th. All will soon be resolved. He gave me permission to work from his laptop, so onward I blog.
So that is my excuse for not blogging. In addition to that I have also been exploring this amazing city with my son, Attis by day. By night I am immersed in film, and discussions with filmmakers.
DAY 1 We are staying in St. Pauli which seems to be the more diverse area of Hamburg. Most of the buildings are covered in incredible graffiti, and I am but a short walk to the Reeperbahn. The Reeperbahn is home of the Red Light District. Sex shops, niche stores, and coffee shops line the Reeperbahn. By day the prostitutes are not outdoors, but the existence of such a bizarre scene is strange and intriguing. I will probably make it a point to go down at night to take pictures of all the incredible neon that is there, but cannot fully be appreciated in the day time. Attis and I spent the day on the Reeperbahn and ventured into some shops looking for souvenirs and a new belt for him. It began to rain, just as we came upon a wax museum, so we went in and had a look around. It was a typical side show set up type, a dome shaped venue with several floors of curiosities and exploitation-- some pretty gruesome displays, but military faces, musicians, Obama and some famous German actors were also some of the highlights. For some reason I am unable to post pictures from here, but there was some good craftsmanship, and great bathrooms...plus we got out of the rain.
OPENING NIGHT Back on Bein Grunen street is the Hub of Radar Hamburg, but there are a total of 7 venues all within 10 minutes of each other by foot. The hub is a small cinema/bar that is owned by a Turkish man. The man gives the venue to Radar to operate out of in exchange for proceeds from the bar. I screened my documentary to a packed house opening night. They enjoyed Camp Casserole, and I got the opportunity to talk about our festival in Victoria and about Film ExChange. I also met several filmmakers that will, no doubt, be coming to Victoria for this years festival.
DAY 2 Attis and I woke up and headed out to explore the city. we grabbed the subway to Tierpark, a giant park that is inhabited by many animals. It is a zoo, but set up as a park. Many of the non predatory animals and birds roam free in the park or are only held in by a single wire. The park is amazing. So many animals and beautiful fountains. Biospheres with simians and an aquarium are on site as well.
The second night I screened Steve Balderson's film, The Casserole Club, to an equally enthusiastic crowd. Having seen the making of documentary the night before they were eager to come see the feature.
After the films, more time was spent discussing films with festival administrators and fellow artists. I met a girl, Nico, from Switzerland who was volunteering for the festival. Nico had heard about me from Boris, has followed my column in READ and asked if I would authorize a documentary about my life. She had been looking for a project to do, and was intrigued by my background-- how I have been able to put my life back together since my release from prison. I agreed, and I look forward to seeing how that progresses.
DAY 3 Shopping day. Attis and I headed to the tube, and traveled to Rathaus, the shopping district. We passed the incredible shipping yards. Hamburg is an old shipping port, so the view by at the port is industrial, and fascinating. We hit some electronics shops, had some lunch and scored some new kicks for Attis, and headed back for the screenings.
I think I found our opening night film for VTXIFF. A documentary called "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.
Here is the synopsis: For many years, Australian politics has focused on stopping boats of asylum seekers coming to Australia through Indonesia. It is an issue that divides the nation. Through hidden camera footage and interviews with asylum seekers in transit in Indonesia, this film asks: How impossible must life be before the open ocean is the only option for survival? This beautifully shot documentary gives voice to the unheard, and tells the hidden stories of the asylum seekers themselves. It shines a bright light onto the process of deciding to risk life and limb in pursuit of freedom.
This documentary had me in tears several times, and reminded me of how much we take our freedom for granted. Just incredibly moving, honest and daring. I can't wait to try to bring the filmmaker from Australia, and hopefully get one of the more incredible subjects of the film, a 9 year old refugee to Victoria.
As a juror at Radar, I also have duties outside the cinema, which include watching films that conflict with my required viewing within the cinemas. One of the films I watched on my South African laptop is My Father & the Man in Black.
Here is the synopsis: In a secret storage locker a son searches for clues to his father's suicide--and discovers his father's audio diaries. Imagine finding 60 hours of audio diaries and telephone calls between your father and Johnny Cash recorded when you were a child: during the 1960s and 1970s--the singer's most talked about but least examined years. That's exactly what happened to Jonathan Holiff after his father, Cash's former manager, Saul Holiff, committed suicide--without leaving a note. This is no ordinary music documentary. What if the father you rejected was not the man you thought he was? An explosive new talent meets the man who will take him to the top, in a story about cold and distant father whose suicide brings about reconciliation in a most unexpected and remarkable way. “My Father and The Man In Black” tells the inside story of 'bad boy' Johnny Cash, his talented and troubled personal manager, Saul Holiff, and a son searching for his father in the shadow of a legend.
The filmmaker, John Holiff was staying in the Hostel where we are staying, and I am hoping to bring him and his incredible documentary to VTXIFF as well.
In addition to being a juror and a filmmaker, I am also presenting several films on behalf of the United States. My trip was payed for the the US embassy in Germany in exchange for bringing several American made films. Last night I had the pleasure of presenting the "Brotherly Love" program. This program featured the killer, comedy short by Todd Sklar and Alex Rennie called 92 Skybox Alonzo Mourning Rookie Card and the feature film, and winner of best feature film at VTXIFF, The Dynamiter. Both films were well received. It was an honor to represent both filmmakers and American Cinema in general. I am truly grateful for this opportunity, and what it means for our little city of Victoria.
There is so much more, but I need to get out on the streets and get some films watched.
Tonight I present Victoria filmmakers and two of my best friends, Don Avlo and wife Bet Vianes-Soliz's award winning short film Avenue D. Avenue D won best culturally inclined and best story at the STUF 72cc film challenge a couple of months ago in Corpus. It is playing with another great Mexican film called Elephante Blanco.
In addition to that program Film ExChange is also presenting 2 other films from VTXIFF. The Orderly (best comedy at VTXIFF) and Tumbleweed (winner of best director award at VTXIFF). These films will precede the feature film, Cinema Six written and directed by Mark Potts and Cole Selix. The film stars John Merriman and Mark Potts. John was in Victoria last summer for the role of coach Randy, in our film, Roundball.
ok thats it for now.....thanks for reading
Click here for Graffiti Photo album on my Facebook
Thank you for your contribution.Flag this as inappropriate
- Follow AnthonyPedone