The Booster

So, I’m now an employee of Edinburgh International Film Festival — it seems I’ll be doing some writing for the catalogue, and I’ve viewed a hundred or so films submitted to the fest. Submissions editors see a lot of junk, but we also see some really good stuff. The assumption might be that the really hot ticket films are ones a festival has to pursue, not ones submitted on spec by filmmakers hungry for exposure, but in fact submissions are often where the next hot-ticket indies are discovered. I saw some very good stuff — none of which I can discuss at present.

This means that anything I say about the Festival from now on can be seen in a slightly different light — I’m no longer just a fan of the thing. Still, I hope I can maintain a degree of integrity and independence if I review anything during Festival time, but I might have to be careful of that — a policy of accentuate the positive, whereby I write honestly about films I like and leave out the others, might be best. Unless I get really cross about something, in which case I’ll still bite my tongue until after it’s screened to the public.

But with Chris Fujiwara in charge, I’m really not sure there’s much to worry about.

This year’s opening film is William Friedkin’s second collaboration (after the creepy BUG) with playwright/screenwriter Tracy Letts — KILLER JOE. Friedkin is expected to attend, which ought to be interesting to say the least.

The retrospective, the thing which ties a festival together in my view (and which was sadly missed last year), is about Shinji Somai, about whom I know NOTHING — so I’m very excited.

Chris Fujiwara:  “Shinji Somai is one of the most personal and original Japanese filmmakers, and a master whose work has been almost completely neglected outsideJapan. Just over ten years after his passing, I believe the time is right for Somai. Audiences and critics will be amazed by what they discover in this body of work, which I’m delighted to bring to theUK.”

And the closing film is delightfully apt, given Pixar’s long friendly realtionship with Edinburgh, and given the Scottish subject of their new movie —


7 Responses to “The Booster”

  1. david wingrove Says:

    What the Festival needs is someone who has…

    A boundless knowledge of and enthusiasm for films

    B some basic skills at people management

    Judging from past experience, such a person is hard to find.

    David, why don’t you go for the job?!

  2. I sincerely hope the Friedkin experience hasn’t scarred the lovely Emile

  3. david wingrove Says:

    William Friedkin tends to scar a lot of people…the audience included.

    Even Jeanne Moreau seems to have found him a bit daunting after a while!

  4. I don’t know where you find the time — casually noting that you watched a hundred films for this project alone! The catalog should certainly make fine reading.

    I’ve had one of Somai’s films — the 1985 Typhoon Club — on my seek-it-out list for the longest time, but I’ve never found a screening or DVD with English subtitles.

    And à propos of the closing film, for some reason it’s startling to realize that Billy Connolly turns 70 this year.

  5. Well, I don’t know if it was a hundred… possibly more like forty. One thing I didn’t have time to do was count them… Next up, I’ll be writing a few blurbs for the brochure and catalogue.

    Hoping to have a Friedkin experience myself, as long as he doesn’t read some of the things I’ve written about him…

  6. Apparently, when Rules of Engagement came out, Friedkin was fond of quoting from British news cuttings he carried around to “prove” that the film wasn’t right-wing reactionary propaganda. The newspaper concerned: The Sun, published by Rupert Murdoch.

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