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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

God's happy man: dinner with Herzog

Tom Hall, director of Programming at the Sarasota Film Festival, shares memories of his dinner last month with Werner Herzog after he arrived for a retrospective of his nonfiction work: Herzog arrived at the festival right on time. I was off greeting another filmmaker at a private reception when I received a phone call; having just arrived, Werner was sitting down to dinner, would I care to join him? liebsterfiend3457.jpg There are very few questions one faces in life that require absolutely no reflection, and this was one of them… I almost instantaneously found myself short on things to say. There is a dilemma that we all face in that crucial moment… how does one talk about life and the world around us without deferring to the source of our admiration? … I had read many interviews with Werner that were difficult and somewhat surly as he answered banal questions with funny, honest, and often curt answers. Would he be the same in person? It didn’t take much time to find out. Werner was a warm, generous person, animated and full of life… [D]inner arrived, and with it more wine. Herzog took a copious slice from his steak, a generous drink from his wine glass, and began telling us more stories about his life that are best reserved for Werner himself to tell; the stories of the 3 times he had been shot at (once as a rambunctious teenager who, attempting to shoot a duck, was mistaken for a serial killer, once in the middle of a civil war, and recently by an air rifle during an interview for the BBC)… We even got Werner’s thoughts on Godard (I won’t spill the beans). As we approached the end of the evening, Werner told me how much he appreciated what I had done with his documentaries in the program and how pleased he was to be at our festival. Before I could respond with anything more than a simple ‘Thank you’, our group was departing and we both had many hands to shake in thanks.” [More at the link.]

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch