What's the most number of movies you've ever watched in a day? I think my record of films in a theatre is five when I was at Sundance. It's exhausting.
So let's take that as a baseline. Watch five movies a day for... let's just say three days. Never mind that Leslee and the rest of the final screeners have been doing this for last few weeks.
Okay, mostly Leslee.
If at the end of that three day sampler you still have your sanity, then e-mail each of the filmmakers to ask them about their projects. Keep track of the answers, they'll come in handy later.
While you're in the middle of all of this, have people like me come question you about not only the 15 movies you've just watched, but also the hundreds of movies you've watched since January. See if you can give a coherent answer.
Oh yes, and let's not forget managing the rest of your life while you're at it.
That's a little bit of a feel for life as a festival programmer.
Things are winding down in terms of programming, but WE DO STILL HAVE SLOTS OPEN, so don't say rude mean things to us too soon... 'cause you never know.
Speaking of rude mean things. We are bracing for the pushback on our "No stars" rule. Keep in mind that we define stars as anyone – in front of or behind the camera – who could get you funding just based on their name. This is always a hard bit to measure. A movie with a recognizable face in a single role might not be weighted the same as an ensemble of recognizable faces.
Plus, and this one hurts for some of us, those big stars you remember from the 1980s – while they were bankable names in memorable movies then – the 25-year-old financial rep at the bank now wasn't born until after those movies were made. That is not to say that the actor has any less talent, or is any less of a star in our hearts, but stardom has always been, and will always be, a function of time. Just like everything else.
There are also changes in the business to consider. Money is tight. Production companies headed around big names have trouble finding money, so our loose definition becomes even harder to hold onto. Still, we do use it as a star to guide by... no pun intended.
One last note to help assuage the hate mail we get every year on this issue. The rule only applies to films in competition. So are you going to see recognizable people in competition films? Yes. Are you going to see stars from The Princess Bride and Chasing Amy in the same move? Yes. Will that movie be in competition? No.
Good luck. I'll see many of you soon. Others, please, come by the festival. All are welcome.