Hello everyone, happy Wednesday! I wrote this post last night right after I got back from my volunteer shift at the Theaters at Mall of America. First let me say it was a blast! The place was buzzin’ and burstin’ with people which is awesome to see. Nice to see such a great turnout and the energy of the place was really lively.
Ok, so here’s my account of being a first time film festival volunteer (photos from the event to follow):
My pal Becky and I arrived late afternoon and shortly after checking-in at the festival’s table, we got our volunteer shirts. I was really in a cheerful mood last night, which always helps. I was so looking forward to this event that volunteering wasn’t a chore at all. In fact, I had a lot of fun meeting new people who share my passion for movies. Plus, the festival staff are such affable bunch. Even Jatin Setia, the brain behind this whole thing, whom you’d think would be in frantic mode, was still his genial self as he was practically pulled every which way by everyone.
After waiting around for a bit, we’re finally given our assignment to greet people as they step off the escalator into the theater and hand them the festival’s schedule. About half of the people had no idea there was a film festival going on, as when I greeted them with ‘welcome to the Twin Cities Film Festival,’ they kind of had this weird look on their face. Most of them were very receptive though, and they seemed genuinely interested as they glance through the pamphlet we gave them.
We did encounter a few somewhat disgruntled moviegoers who thought they could just show up at the theater without having any form of ticket whatsoever. They said the media (I think they mentioned the paper specifically, they didn’t say which one) told them to do so. Not sure how they got that info as the TCFF website already had a big SOLD OUT graphical notice on the documentary page. Hmmm…
About a half hour later, I spotted the man of the hour, Waiting for Superman director Davis Guggenheim riding up the escalator. I recognized him right away so when he stepped off I greeted him and he shook my hand. He looked much younger than I thought, but had the same his hairstyle and dark-rimmed glasses as he’s often photographed. I managed to tell him how much everyone were so eager to see his movies and on top of having a sold-out premiere, there were more people who couldn’t get in. “They’d have to see it on Friday then,” he replied as he walked away to head to the red carpet area. The documentary is released on limited engagement at the Uptown Theater October 1st. So that was that, I didn’t get a chance to ask him any question 😦 By the way, I had absolutely no idea the St. Louis native was married to actress Elisabeth Shue until I read his bio on IMDb for this post!
I had wished to ask Mr. Guggenheim a question which is actually from my boss Mary: When you’re doing a documentary like this, what would you like the audience to do after watching it? Well, as I didn’t get to attend the Q&A (even though I was right outside the door with a few other staff members), I poked around the documentary’s official site and this ‘Take Action’ page pretty much answered that question. The tag line emblazoned on the page says: IT”S POSSIBLE. TOGETHER WE CAN FIX EDUCATION. There is a What You Can Do section divided by Parents | Teachers | You which tells each member of the group what they can do to improve the education system where they live.
Well, I’m just going to wrap up by saying the event was quite a smashing success. Of course I don’t have any other film festival to compare it to, but considering this is the first year, to have a sold-out show on opening night is pretty darn good! Moviegoers and staff alike were invited to celebrate Opening Night after the film at the CRAVE Restaurant. I’d think the movie would spark stimulating conversations, so what better way than to do that than over delicious drinks and tasty snacks. I’d have stayed and enjoy it too if I don’t have to work in the morning… besides, if I partied all night, I wouldn’t have any time to write this post right? 😀
In any case, check out the mini review courtesy of my friend Ted who saw it last night.