Is It Because I Is British?

While the “girlie men” are busy talking politics, I’ve been getting to grips with the reel world in Real America.

This past couple of weeks there’s been the whole saga of getting The Car to the LA Shorts Fest, a complete nightmare. I’d written to the Rhode Island Film Festival to give them the shipping info and let them know it was urgent. The deadline was actually August 26th. I called August 26th; no film in LA. I called Rhode Island; it’s been shipped.

Laura and I picked up our new Malibu Maxx on Thursday. Still no word from the festivals, we went away for the weekend. Toronto. We had tickets for the Bluejays playing the Yankees at the Sky Dome and these were good seats, right up behind home plate. We met up with Gail Harvey, a director friend of Simon Cozens, and her family. The Yankees wiped the floor with the Blue Jays: 18-6. We left for Greek Food. Back at the hotel there’s an email from LA, the deadline is pushed back to August 31st. But that’s it.

I call RI, I email RI. No response except the phone call I’ve already had to say the film’s been shipped. I figure, well what the hell, it must be en route. Wednesday arrives. Wednesday September 1st. 5pm. I check the mail. There’s a parcel. From the Rhode Island Film Festival. It’s The Car. I am absolutely 100% fucked off. The postmark says it was sent August 25th. I call LA and someone (?) says there’s a 90% chance of it getting shown. I drive at high speed to the other side of Ann Arbor so I can Fed Ex it overnight. $57.51. I get home and email an invoice to Rhode Island.

Then I go to the pictures.

While I’ve been busy in Michigan, Tom Cruise has been working his nuts off in California and has released a second feature film in the time I’ve barely completed a short. Collateral. It’s about a taxi driver (Jamie Foxx) who winds up with a hitman (Cruise) in his car. Laura declines to see this, although it’s okay, just a bit too long for an action film with only one character developed (not Cruise).

It’s a quiet night at the Quality 16 Showcase Theater. Various people with disabilities are down at the front. Thirty minutes into the film, one of them empties his bladder on the floor. It’s not quick or subtle. They needed the big weewee. The person who brought him sits behind him and ignores him. Why? God alone knows. It’s like going back in time to somewhere very primitive. Perhaps this is what the Wild West was like; cowboys just peed wherever they felt the urge, like a Manchester clubber on the way home. Who knows. All I know is it needs blogging about.

Back home, an email arrives from the RIFF director to say he’s looking into what happened with The Car. Two more days go by before I finally get through to the Filmmaker Liaison at the LA Shorts Fest. She’s really sweet. British, I think. Yes, they have got the film and it’s at the ArcLight Cinema, ready for screening. I make a mental note to get an extra copy made to take with us when we fly out on Friday. I can’t tell you how relieved I am, although not enough to pee on the carpet.

Finally, I finish the intro video for Artrain USA and burn it on to a DVD. I pick up another carton of insect-bitten and squirrel-munched apples and apple remains shed by our tree and put them out for the trashmen. Then we go and see Hero. It’s very beautiful, slow-motion martial arts, a simple story that unfolds with wonderful photography and actors flying dreamlike while they attack each other with swords. No one pees this time (Laura tells me this is actually really unusual behaviour) in the half-full theater and we both enjoy the movie.