Question of the Week: What’s your favorite film festival/event experience?

Hello everyone! I’m gearing up for Twin Cities Film Fest (TCFF) coming Thursday. I hope you all will stick around in the next week and a half for the TCFF coverage I’ll bring you, which includes reviews, education o coverage, interviews and more!

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I’m super excited for the dozen plus movies I’ll be watching in the next 10 days, which is one of the major perks of having a film fest in town, but also for the excitement that such an event brings. As a film fan, there’s something so exhilarating in being a part of a film event such as this one. It’s my fourth year blogging at TCFF and I can’t wait for what film-related adventure and who I’d get to meet this year 😀

Now, before TCFF, the only film fest I’ve been to was TIFF, but that was nearly 10 years ago in 2005! I hadn’t even started blogging yet at the time, but I did recount my experience of meeting my then crush Gerry Butler following Beowulf and Grendel screening. I hope to visit more film festivals in the future, a friend of mine actually works for a catering company who gets sent to Sundance yearly so I might meet up with her there.

Now, some of you have likely been to either a film festival (either in your town or elsewhere), some have even covered them (check out Bonjour Tristesse VIFF coverage and Terrence’s WSIF coverage). But a film event isn’t just confined to film festivals. Perhaps you attended a red carpet film premiere and got to see the stars up close? Or it can also be something like a special/anniversary screening of a classic film. I know my friend Michael often highlights such an event, such as this one at the Los Angeles Chinese Theater.

So for the fun of sharing amongst film lovers, would you share your most memorable film event experience?

(Feel free to include links and/or photos :D)

30 thoughts on “Question of the Week: What’s your favorite film festival/event experience?

  1. There was a Baja Film Fest over here for a couple of years but it wasn’t a big deal. My favorite film event experience is a Q&A session with the directors of the Golden Globe-nominated foreign films of 2010 that I attended. It was at the Egyptian theatre in Hollywood. Susanne Bier was there and, of course, Alejandro González Iñárritu, whose hand I shook!

    1. Hi Fernando! Oh my, that is an awesome experience to actually met Mr Iñárritu!! I really need to see Susanne Bier film, was it In a Better World?

  2. A couple of years back when I went to see the premiere of Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours at TIFF, which I attend yearly. The cast and crew gave an outstanding account of the film and its creation process. What really stunned the audience however was that Aron Ralston was there to view the film with his family for the first time. Also, just sitting, waiting for the film to start, Woody Harrelson walked by our aisle. He was super nice as we gushed and shook everyone’s hand!

    1. WOW, so you’re saying you saw Danny Boyle AND Woody Harrelson in person on the same day?! Now THAT is an awesome story Joseph, thanks for sharing and making me green w/ envy! 😀

        1. Oh man, you’re intent on making me even more jealous aren’t you? Ed Norton?? Way cool! Btw, when I saw Beowulf & Grendel, I also didn’t realize Gerry Butler was actually sitting only 5 rows behind me! I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t know, ahah.

          1. Oh! Another funny story involving Franco. When me and my friend went to see the premiere of Shame two years ago, we were lucky enough to sit dead centre. So we are sitting and waiting, then, Franco comes out and sits directly in front of us. The girl I was with starts freaking out and we are taking pictures of the back of his head. We kept daring one another to touch his hair lol.

  3. Ted S.

    I attended Sundance film fest a few years ago but I didn’t really care for the movies I saw there, too much pretentious on all the ones I saw. I couldn’t recall which ones I saw though since maybe one or two of them were picked up by movie studios and released to the public. Thankfully the rest didn’t get a release since they were quite awful movies.

    I did go see an advance screening of Titanic back in summer of 1997 at the Mall of America, months before the film’s release date. I think Cameron was there at the screening but he didn’t come out and talk to the audience. The movie wasn’t completely finished, there lots of missing effect shots and soundtrack. So that was quite an interesting experience to have seen a huge movie that was half done.

    1. Too bad you can’t remember which films you saw, that could be a warning for us, ahah. WHOA! James Cameron was at MoA? That’s interesting. I wonder if it was a test screening as it’s only half finished, that’s why he didn’t talk to the audience. Must be quite important for him to be there in person!

      1. Ted S.

        I think one of the movies I saw was called November, a silly drama/suspense that basically a rip off of The Sixth Sense. Around that time, many young directors wanted to be like M. Night by copying his twist ending and this movie has one of the worst “twist” endings. It starred Courtney Cox, the movie is only an hour and twenty minutes long but felt like 3 hours when I saw it. After the movie opened publicly, it got so much bad reviews that its director couldn’t get another gig in Hollywood. Funny thing was that he was named by Variety as one of the 10 directors to watch out for that year, he’s never been heard from since, lol.

        Yeah, Cameron was there to monitor how the audience react to the movie, around that time Titanic was getting a lot of bad press because of its ballooning budget and it missed the summer release date. Funny enough I stayed awake watching the unfinished version while fell asleep when I saw the complete version, ha ha.

  4. Film fests are such grand experiences. I’ve done the one out in Palms Springs and the more recent ones that were a part of the the Hero Complex. But, as you’re very generous linkage references, the TCM Film Festival in good old’ Hollywood remains my favorite. Many thanks, Ruth 🙂

    1. I remember you going to the Hero Complex event. I was sooo jealous as I think they were showing Rocketeer as well? That is an awesome post, somehow I had missed it so when I saw it I knew I had to link it there!

  5. I recently went to the New York Film Festival and attended both public and press screenings. I had a blast! The Lincoln Center is one of the most comfortable places to watch movies and the festival has a relaxed intimate atmosphere. If you get press credentials, it’s even better because the press conferences are really interesting and you can easily get an opportunity to personally ask questions of directors/actors! Of course, it’s located in an awesome city too, so that helps too!

    I highly reccommend attending if you get the chance.

    1. Hey thanks for the link and sharing your experience!! I hope to attend NYFF one day, that’s cool that you get to be there. I doubt I’d get press cred over there though. I just read your post, I’m actually going to see 12 Years A Slave tomorrow. Awesome that you saw Steve McQueen in person!

  6. I’ve only been to one film festival in my lifetime so far as I was a volunteer at the 2004 Atlanta Film Festival. It was fun. I got to see some good movies like Strayed by Andre Techine, DiG! by Ondi Timoner whom I’ve met and chatted with, Some Kind of Monster, Primer where I met and chatted with Shane Carruth, The Mother, and Easy as well as saw some shorts and manged to take a couple of free DVDs.

    1. Hey there’s always more to experience down the line Steven. I still need to see Primer which got such great reviews. Nice that you got to meet Shane Carruth, AND got some swags too, good for you!

  7. Best of luck, I hope you get to watch some great films. I might be able to make it to a few screenings in the Chicago Film Festival, but I’m not sure if I will considering my insane work schedule.
    Will be tuning up for your updates for sure!

  8. I’ve never been to a film festival, but my favorite film event experience would have to be seeing Star Wars: Episode 1 at midnight when I was 9. I was captivated by it, which is probably why I still like it now. 🙂 Other than that, some of TCM’s theatrical re-releases have been awesome, like Doctor Zhivago, Casablanca and Singin’ in the Rain.

    1. That’s awesome Josh, there are some film experience that you’ll cherish forever. For me I think it’s Superman: The Movie 😀 Oh I also went to see the TCM re-release of Singin’ in the Rain and Casablanca, both I saw for the first time!

  9. I’ve never been to any kind of film fest which is quite depressing. I really want to make the effort to go to one in London at some point though. It’s just finding the time and money! Really looking forward to your coverage Ruth, especially of 12 Years a Slave, which I’m anticipating hugely.

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