Thursday, June 14, 2012


During the Q & A for In Heaven There Is No Beer, Steve Hicks from Fuzz Track City – who was gracious enough to come to just about every movie – asked a brilliant question.

"Do all scenes have to die?"

It was relevant to the film – a documentary about a magical time in the LA music scene – and it was relevant to so much more. The movie screened on the last day of the festival. The last day of year 15. From where I stood on stage I could feel the filmmakers scattered around the audience, or mostly, up in the balcony, have a physical reaction as they realized their scene was about to end.

And I remembered mine. One week in June of 2000 on Sunset Blvd. Standing outside of the Sunset 5 ticket booth hearing a complete stranger say, "Two tickets for 'Jacks Or Better.'" Walking down to Dublin's Pub for happy hour – where some young woman tried to get us to sign up for something called a social website thing for artists. She told us it was a place where we could have a page promoting our work – and none of understood what she was talking about. Three years later it turned out to be MySpace.

I remember not buying a T-shirt and always regretting it. I remember hanging out with Meg and Mitch – and how brilliant their movies were.

The movies.

I remember them the most. Calling Bobcat – a Beer, Booze and Boobs movie about guys on a drinking binge who find Bobcat Goldthwaite's phone number and end up calling him. Goldthwaite isn't in the movie, but my friend and producer, Hilton Smith, had a contact to Bobcat's manager, so we got him to the screening. The last question of the Q & A came from a man in the back, who the filmmaker had to step over to get to the stage. "Yeah," came the iconic voice, "My name is Bobcat Goldthwaite..."

I don't remember the rest of the question, but it ended well.

I remember The Cat Killers hilarious scene of murderers breaking into a man's house as he writes his suicide note. I remember Final Rinse – and how we both landed at the Riverrun Film Festival when it was in Brevard, NC. I remember Cage in Box Elder, Little Red, The Pig Farm – what great people – Meg's True Rights, and of course, Attack of the Bat Monsters.

So many memories packed into such a small amount of time.

I suppose that's what a scene is, really. A group of people creating shared memories that are so burnt into their brains that, at some point while it's happening, they realize – these are good times.

That phrase is so much better in the present tense. "Those were good times," is nice too, but it's not living in the moment and aware of the moment.

People often ask me why I continue to do Dances With Films. I usually make a joke about it, but I think the real answer might be that I like being part of a team that creates a one-week-long, life-changing, scene for a group of fantastic people. It takes months and months of work. It springs into life, and then too quickly it dies, as all scenes must do.

And then, some 50 weeks later, it is resurrected. Those who have lived it, enjoy it in a different way than their first time. Those who are new, if they are lucky, will realize:

These Are Good Times.


Anonymous said...

After meeting some amazing people at the festival, I just wish I had met everyone. I met 4 or 5 of the other filmmakers there and this festival experience made me realize that filmmakers who attend festivals in order to share, promote and network at festivals are some of the most genuine, warm and kindest people you could ever meet. I bought my girlfriend a ticket for a feature film I was psyched to see and as she was an earlier film's line by herself as I was across the way in the Filmmaker Pass line, the Director walked up to her asking her to come along to his later screening. She held up her ticket to his screening and she said he 'smiled and looked into her soul and said 'thank you so much' and really meant it. The appreciation for the smallest thing can become immense to an artist who puts himself out there not knowing if there will even be an audience for his or her work. That particular film won one of the most acclaimed awards this year. It is moments like these that make it worth making these movies for the filmmaker! Truly great times indeed!

Zak Forsman said...

Wow, how random is that? I was pals with the Calling Bobcat guys when they lived here in LA, long ago, before they moved to Brooklyn to open Barcade. And just about a week ago, I was going through some old VHS tapes and there they were -- Paul, Jon, acting out a spoof on a scene from Taxi Driver where Travis Bickle buys a gun from Steven Prince.

Haven't talked to them in forever...