September 29, 2010

Edmonton Days 3 & 4

I just e-checked into my returning flight, which means home is near. With my trip to Edmonton and my work on Munger Road I've spent 35 of the last 40 days sleeping in a hotel.

I grew forgetful very quickly about taking pictures on this trip, mostly because an iPhone just isn't an ideal photo-taking device. In fact, it can be incredibly annoying. Still, a few random photos found their way onto my hard drive. Before those, I'd like to talk about the Forget Me Not screening, since that was the whole reason I came here.

The folks at EIFF have been downright incredible, and despite my reservations about a block of shorts screening at 12:10pm, the theatre had at least 200 eager guests. EIFF Festival Director Kerrie Long has a few brain children running loose at the festival, one of which is the "Lunchbox Shorts" hour during each week day. A 45 minute program of shorts at 12:10 to 12:55, plus a "bag lunch" of sandwiches, drinks, and dessert, for the downtown business crowd. Amazingly, it's popular and very lucrative for the festival. For that, I am grateful.

Today the Festival arranged to have me driven from my hotel to the screening, and as one of the few attending short filmmakers, gave me a 10 minute window prior to the films to yammer on about myself and the film. People's reactions were great both before, during, and after the film (the Edmonton Film Commissioner even had a few nice things to say), and as painfully expensive as this trip has been, I wouldn't trade it for anything. In fact, despite spending my youth openly mocking Canada as a whole, I'm pretty sure I love it now, and Edmonton in particular. The city is a bastion of artistic and intellectual integrity in what is casually referred to as "the Texas of Canada." They all deserve more visitors and supporters here.

I also met a fellow filmmaker named Amar Chebib, a Canadian/Kuwaiti who shot a short film in an arabic district of Paris called "La Boucher" ("The Butcher"). The movie was great, and we ended up spending most of the day watching movies and eating food together. In fact, due to scheduling crap there was no one to host the Q&A for his film, so I did it. We basically just conversed in front of people for ten minutes, because audience members are always bashful at those things.

Tomorrow, I'll give a little run-down of the films I saw (in addition to snapping a photo of Rexall Stadium for my hockey-loving cousin). For now, a few pictures:

A snack everyone in Edmonton pushed on me (but tastes like Shitty Cheetos)
 Albacore Tuna salad at Lazia, which doesn't hold a candle to the Ahi Tuna salad at the Atwood...
Hotel Room #2 at the Metterra on Whyte. It's quite fancy. Also, two bed again?
Hotel #2 has a full patio, just for me! Fancy Shmancy!
Fancy Bathroom at Hotel #2, with glass shower stall like in "The Specialist," minus naked Sly Stallone

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