If you read my previous blog post about my visit to Kiev, then this one should have some interest for you - it was purely by accident that I arranged sequential film festival visits to two warring countries. This afforded me the opportunity to see a world crisis from both sides.
I've had many films play in the Message to Man Festival in historic and beautiful St. Petersburg, Russia - so I was delighted to be invited to the festival and be the president of the international jury (they all kidded around by calling me "President Bill Clinton", ha ha). I was also commissioned to create the festival trailer, to play in front of every film.
After I arrived, they put me in the luxurious Kempinski Hotel on one of the wonderful canals that wind throughout the streets of the city. After the grand opening and lots of vodka, we began the next day at 10 am, watching a hell of a lot of films. I had planned to work on "Revengeance" storyboards, but the film schedule was so rigorous there was barely time to eat.
I truly enjoyed the programs of film. This festival is one of the few major festivals that celebrate shorts, animation, documentaries and experimental films. They even have a category for "mockumentaries", which is one of my favorite genres.
Also on my schedule were three screenings of "Cheatin'", but unfortunately because of my frantic pace I was only able to attend one and half of those. As you may already know, I like to introduce my film, then take questions after and sign cards for everyone. Well, the president of the festival demanded that I attend a dinner with him and all of the VIPs, so I had to flake out on handing out the sketches, and the audience was very disappointed. By the way, the dinner started late and I never got to talk with the festival president.
I would think that the festival organizers would prefer that the audience had a great experience - than have my presence at a silly dinner party.
Continued in Part II, later this week