Friday, September 27, 2013

A Wild Weekend at the Breckenridge Festival of Film

Last weekend, my husband and I attended and volunteered at the Breckenridge Festival of Film. Unfortunately, we were too busy having fun to take many photos, but I can give you a summary of our experiences that will hopefully entice you all to attend next year!

I spent many volunteer hours before the festival reviewing films, mostly short dramas, since I was the lead for short dramas on the Program Committee and selected those that made it into the festival. I was anxious to meet all the short drama filmmakers who were able to come and to thank them for making their wonderful films. And, the parties and panels that were an integral part of the festival gave me plenty of opportunities to do that. In exchange for my work on the Program Committee, I received a "Peak 10 Pass" that gave me access to all the films, the parties, and the hospitality suite, and I made full use of that access!

The first day of the festival, Thursday, September 19th, kicked off with a Welcome Party at Burke and Riley's Irish Pub, with two drink coupons for Guinness Stout beers and heavy appetizers that became my dinner: chicken salad, pasta, chicken wings, and fried cheese. I met some of my short drama filmmakers there. Also, my husband, who volunteered to be a filmmaker liaison in exchange for his Peak 10 Pass, found the screenwriter and his wife who had arrived to represent the film, H2IndO, a beautiful and exciting film about world class stand-up paddleboarders riding the waves in Indonesia. Next came the Opening Night films at the Riverwalk Center, the haunting Death of a Shadow, followed by the inspirational Chasing Shakespeare. The day wrapped up late with a party at Ember, with tasty treats such as shrimp corndogs, sliced duck bruschetta, and more, and glasses of wine.

We set an alarm after all that partying (on only the first day!), and got up early on Friday, September 20th, to make it to our first block of films, starting at 9:30 AM: Body Complete, Adonis, and The Insomniac. We then headed for the Hospitality Suite, where we watched some films on their TV that we couldn't squeeze into our schedule otherwise (Bumming Colorado's Ski Country, The Interviewer) while munching on snacks and sipping coffee. Reenergized, we went to the Breckenridge Theatre to watch the uplifting film, The Lady in Number Six.

Next was a cocktail party jointly sponsored by The Warming Hut and Summit Media Labs, where I chatted with folks ranging from the town mayor, to a representative from the Colorado Film Commission to an Austrian snow biker in lederhosen! Then we watched the excellent musical documentary, AKA Doc Pomus, an animated short, The Gold Sparrow, and We Ride: The Story of Snowboarding. For the last two films, I was the ticket taker and my husband was the projectionist. The final stop was Fatty's Pizzeria for the Ski Bum Party. We didn't stay long, because we were bushed by then, and we still had two days to go!

Saturday morning, September 21st, my husband and I split up. I spent the whole morning fighting tears while watching documentaries of good works being done for orphans, lepers, the blind, and the hopelessly destitute in Africa: Man Up and Go and Duk County. After a quick lunch at home, I headed to the Riverwalk Center to listen to a series of panels with my husband. First came three panels of 8-9 independent filmmakers each, followed by one on the Democratization of Film and one on Making the Shot. During the last panel, I helped set up a pizza dinner for those like me who were too busy attending films and panels to grab a bite to eat elsewhere. Then, I stayed for the Adventure Reel session that evening that consisted of short films about river rafting, ski patrolling, and climbing followed by Antartica: A Year On Ice. My husband was the projectionist for this session, too.

Sunday morning, September 22nd, we slept in until the Filmmakers Brunch, where I found and talked to the last attending short drama filmmaker that I hadn't yet connected with. After that, we saw a documentary about the famous sherpa Nawang Gombu, the first man to summit Mount Everest twice. Then we joined the producer of H2IndO and her husband, and the screenwriter and his wife, for lunch. Over lunch, the screenwriter and I talked shop, and that discussion may very well lead to me becoming a story consultant on his script for an upcoming film.

Next, we headed to the Breckenridge Theatre again for The Swimmer and H2IndO, where my husband introduced the producer, who introduced the film then answered questions afterward. We snatched a bite to eat at home, then went to the Riverwalk Center for the Award Ceremony and the romantic comedy film, Language of a Broken Heart. That was followed by the Wrap Party for the festival, hosted by Blue River Bistro. Wine and yummy appetizers such as spinach wraps, ham wrapped asparagus, and white bean bruschetta got the tongues wagging there.

Some other films that I didn't see during the festival, but that I reviewed and recommend and which won awards are: Dream Team 1935 (Best Drama), Rose, Mary and Time (Best Short Drama), and Splendor (Best Student Film). All in all, I had a great time at the festival and saw a lot of excellent films. Also, I traded cards with a couple of filmmakers who were interested in my mystery novels. So, there's even a slim chance that a deal could come my way as a result of participating in the Breckenridge Festival of Film!

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