MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

Fest Troubles

AJ Schank (Kurt Cobain:About A Boy) blogs about a story about an allegedly overdemanding festival guest at the recent Cleveland Film Festival. Interesting enough.
And here is my added perspective…
Every festival has some lemon guests. They may be the big names. They may be the nobodies. It is, however, a cliche that one of the least important invitees will be the most time consuming. And relative to the PR value, that is an absolutely true cliche.
Thing is, most festivals have organizational problems. I have never been to any fest at which people didn’t complain about transportation… sometimes more fairly than others. But especially at spread out fests, there just can’t be enough cars and vans for the start and end of every film, as well as special events, as well as people who want to get there early or late… etc. And of course, filmmakers are notoriously poor or cheap, so cabs (which is usually how I keep my blood pressure down) aren’t really a fair option.
The thing about a festival is that it is mostly volunteer and even as the fests are starting, staffers are exhausted. They are also overworked and, oddly, bored. Gossip is inevitable. And if you are one of the people who makes friends with festival staff, you will hear it all. I know who has been sexing whom, who was naked in the hallway, and who screamed at the wrong person by the end of most fests I attend. (Perhaps at the others, I am the prick.)
Anyway… your thoughts are welcome.

4 Responses to “Fest Troubles”

  1. Joe Leydon says:

    If I had the money to tip volunteers at every festival I have ever attended, I would do so. Seriously. They are the unsung heroes behind the scenes. If pressed on the subject, I would have to admit that the volunteers at Sundance deserve the biggest tips. But the volunteers at Toronto, SXSW, Nashville and Denver also are worthy of hefty remuneration. And you know what? I have seen people in my racket — so-called journalists — behave so rudely toward volunteers that I’ve been tempted to smack them.

  2. William Goss says:

    Kurt Cobain: About a SON

  3. I agree with Joe and was very impressed when Werner Herzog, last year at Sarasota, took time out to thank the volunteers every time he was in front of a mic, practically lecturing the well-heeled assemblage on the importance of the volunteers at festivals. I too have seen a journalist hectoring a press desk volunteer until he brought her to tears. Absolutely shameful.

  4. frankbooth says:

    What’s this? New entries?
    Did Jim Emerson take over, or did they find Poland and drag him back?

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