By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Vadim Rizov

“Let’s talk about capital a bit more. Festival bumpers are nobody’s favorite kind of short film (content) — I’ve literally never heard anyone say how much they loved seeing that opening scroll of sponsors and vague images. Still, this year’s edition seemed to be driving everyone particularly off the walls. A series of words were slathered over stills in a font and colors that basically rip off the cover of ‘The Life of Pablo'; once the word salad is over, the music drops out and is recapitulated for the sponsor crawl. At one of my screenings, someone took their iPhone out and recorded this segment, presumably so they could hear this wonderful tune whenever they wanted for the rest of their life, and the running time for that back half alone turned out to be 39 seconds. One bright person at a party had a good idea of how to respond to this: every time a new word pops up, lean over to whoever’s sitting next to you and whisper “story.” This piece of content was credited as being animated by one studio + one person, but had three brand consultants listed; how do I get that full-time gig? It seems like a dream. Let’s not even get to into the “volunteer appreciation” bumper, lest I induce myself into an apoplectic rage. OK, fine: NB that it’s a bunch of quotes about The Power of Storytelling, sourced from, inter alia, Plato, Margaret Atwood and Robert Redford (all on the same plane!), who I’m sure wrote his own statement, just like I’m sure sponsor Kenneth Cole was one of the three (!) credited co-writers for a segment that takes all of a minute. If all of this seems like a specialized form of whining — well, it is, because it’s definitely a privilege and perk to be able to attend this festival as paid work. Nonetheless, I think it’s important to keep in mind how money works and shapes everything around us, especially in a realm where the question of where financing is coming from and what it takes to get it is especially pertinent. I’m unwilling to make a synoptic diagnosis about what kind of festival this shaped up to be or how it bodes for 2018 In Film; my one note here is that scanning the credits for every film almost always answers the question, ‘Why is this film screening here?’ There’s always a name tied to a known network of creators, which both makes sense and limits the chance for gatecrashers and new talent from the outside.”
~ Vadim Rizov

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“With every table in the dining room occupied and me, the only waiter, neglecting the needs of a good fifty patrons, I approached Roth. Holding out Balls as a numbness set into the muscles of my face, I spoke. “Sir, I’ve heard you say that you don’t read fiction anymore, but I’ve just had my first novel published and I’d like to give you a copy.”

“His eyes lifting from his iPhone, he took the book from my hands. He congratulated me. Then, staring at the cover, he said, “Great title. I’m surprised I didn’t think of it myself.”

“These words worked on me like a hit of morphine. Like two hits. It felt as if I was no longer the occupant of my own body. The legs had gone weak, the ears warmed, the eyes watered, the heart rate increased rapidly. Barely able to keep myself upright, I told him, “Thank you.”

“Then Roth, who, the world would learn sixteen days later, was retiring from writing, said, in an even tone, with seeming sincerity, “Yeah, this is great. But I would quit while you’re ahead. Really, it’s an awful field. Just torture. Awful. You write and write, and you have to throw almost all of it away because it’s not any good. I would say just stop now. You don’t want to do this to yourself. That’s my advice to you.”

“I managed, “It’s too late, sir. There’s no turning back. I’m in.”

“Nodding slowly, he said to me, “Well then, good luck.”

“After which I went back to work.”
~ Julian Tepper

“Any form of physical or sexual assault is a very serious matter, potentially a legal matter. But I’m also wondering, what about having some kind of “extreme asshole” clause? I know lots of people who have been abused verbally and psychologically. That’s traumatizing, too. What do we do with that?  It takes a lot of energy to be an asshole. The people I admire most just aren’t interested in things that take away from their ability to make stuff. The people I really respect, and that I’ve met who fit this definition, have a sense of grace about them, because they know that there is no evolving and there is no wisdom without humility. You can’t get better if you behave in a way that shuts people off. You can’t! You don’t have all the ideas necessary to solve something. You don’t! I’m sure if you spoke to Harvey in his heyday and said to him what I just said to you, he would believe that he accomplished all that he had because of the way he behaved.”
~ Steven Soderbergh