TCFF Day 1: Waiting for Superman Premiere

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.

Counting down to TCFF: Interview with executive director Jatin Setia

On Sunday afternoon, I had the privilege to volunteer at the TCFF promo booth at the downtown AMC theater. I was actually looking forward to it, and it helps that I had all this energy after my Zumba class. It was fun chatting with fellow volunteers as we hand out the festival’s schedules and tell moviegoers about this upcoming event. Speaking of which, all of you TwinCities readers, have you got your tickets yet? No? Well, what are you waiting for? Click on the TCFF banner on the right sidebar or click here to get your tickets, pronto!

After my shift was done, I ran into the affable executive director Jatin Setia (whom I had met at a video shoot months earlier) and he kindly granted me an impromptu interview right on the spot! Btw, did you see him on the Sunday edition of the StarTribune‘s Entertainment page? I told him I have only five questions, but he was so gracious and easy to talk to that before I know it, I ended up asking him more questions 😀

Take a listen of the entire 10-minute interview by hitting the PLAY button below (sorry I don’t have time to write down the transcript). And pardon my interviewing skills, haven’t done this since my news broadcasting class back in college!

Special thanks to Mr. Setia for taking a time out of his hectic schedule to talk to me!

Upcoming Local Event: Twin Cities Film Fest Coming Sept. 28!

Happy Monday all! Hope your weekend was a good one. It’s been a hectic but fun one for me as I participated in two local events back to back yesterday. My hubby and a bunch of my friends did the annual St. Paul Classics Bike Tour (the new Lilydale loop was absolutely gorgeous!), followed by a hearty brunch buffet, and then off to a volunteer meeting for the first ever Twin Cities Film Fest with my pal Becky (a.k.a Prairiegirl).

I’ve only attended ONE film festival in my life, which was Toronto International Film Festival or TIFF for short about five years ago, but it left a big impression on me. I remember wishing I could be a part of an event like that, you know, as a volunteer or what not, but I don’t know why I never got around to until now. And the opportunity sort of presented itself early this Summer. I was part of a video shoot for a product launch at work, and the actor we happened to hire was none other than the festival’s executive director, Jatin Setia! My co-workers was the one who told me that he’s working on this event, knowing that I’m a movie blogger. So I emailed him that I’d be interested in blogging about and volunteering for the event and so here I am!

I’m so excited to be a part of this grassroots happening that the Minneapolis mayor called “… a [celebration] of cinema on a larger scale than previously seen in the region.” Another board of directors member, seasoned actor/producer/member Bill Cooper, gave us a spiel about the vision of the festival and said how this event has exceeded everyone’s expectations. They had wished for one studio film and they’ve got FIVE (i.e. the Sean Penn/Naomi Watts thriller Fair Game, the John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy), totaling 30+ features with an eclectic mix of studio and independent feature films and shorts. This is just exciting stuff, and I can’t agree more with what he said to Becky and I afterward: this city needs it! There have been other festivals in town, but these guys have big dreams, and they, as well as we avid MN moviegoers want to see it come true. And that is, in the years to come, we’ll be the festivals movie bloggers and watchers would be buzzing about the way they do Tribeca, Sundance, TIFF, etc. Didn’t I mention they have big dreams? 🙂 But hey, why not, as a wise man once says, “we are limited, not by our abilities, but by our vision,” TIFF wasn’t THIS big 34 years ago when it first premiered. In fact, according to this site, “TIFF had a setback in its first year when Hollywood studios decided to withdraw their contributions, apparently considering the Toronto audience base too parochial.”

So, I will be blogging more about TCFF up until and during the film festival, in the meantime, please peruse the official site for the films featured in the 5-day event. Stay tuned for more!

Btw, has any of you have had experience covering for or being a part of a local film festival?