Another exciting day at the Long Island International Film Expo. The morning started off with another panel on film distribution. Generally when attending a panel on distribution, I am used to the same negative response from the panelists, who pose as realists, but seem to be trying to dissaude anyone from entering the business. Well this morning was different. Yes there was the typical "you won't make money off your film," "studios will try and cheat you on deals," "the market is saturated making opportunities slim," blah blah blah. However, and this is a big HOWEVER, all of the panelists actually brought their wealth of experience and ASSURED the audience of strategies that could help. In fact, some of them seemed to be sales agents trying to pitch deals to the audience. Obviously, they disclaimed that there were still selection processes, but the main difference is that for the first time after hearing a panel/lecture on distribution in the film world, not only did I get a sense that it was actually tangible, but I also knew what I was looking at in terms of $$. It still is pretty damn expensive, but it surely is nice to get a scope on things and know that its doable. So the panel was not only a great educational experience, but an inspiration booster.
At 7, we went to the much hyped block of 3 films, including award winner "Strings."
3. "The Lover" by Robert Neilsen
The film portrays a lover who stalks and videotapes his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend. He is making a video attempting to convince her to come back to him. This may seem creepy at first, but it almost seems like Neilsen was poking fun at the idea of stalking the entire film. It was one big farce, in a great way.
2. "Lilly of the Feast" by Federico Casteluccio
Yes, that is THE Casteluccio from "The Sopranos." Oh and by the way, the cast is also headlined by Paul Sorvino from "Goodfellas" (yea the Scorcese one) and Tony LoBianco from "The French Connection" (yep the Oscar winner). Casteluccio and LoBianco where in the audience for Q &A as well. As for the film, it was quite spectacular. An upright citizen in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is essentially forced into dirty business by his father-in-law. Just when it seems that the worst has passed, it only gets worse. And then it ends. The film felt like it was about to take off and it ends leaving you wanting more. And we will be getting more. Casteluccio stated that they will turn the 30 minute short (which felt like a 15 minute short) into a full-length feature. I'm not big on mob films, but this one has potential. Lots of it.
1. "Strings" by Ben Foster and Mark Denis
After losing their child, a failed musician decides to leave his girlfriend and engage in a life of vigilantism. However, in order to do so, he must detatch himself from his past, essentially forging a new identity. The film was in the vein of a Christopher Nolan film. But while the whole vigilante plot seems to set it up for something huge, the film is really an intimate drama about a man grappling with his new identity and yearning for the past. It is stirring, exciting, and poignant. It has already received a plethora of awards at this festival and is primed for a big night on Thursday at the awards ceremony.