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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“Film festivals, for those who don’t know, are not exactly the glitzy red carpet affairs you see on TV. Those do happen, but they’re a tiny part of the festival. The main part of any film festival are the thousands of people with festival passes hanging on lanyards beneath their anoraks, carrying brochures for movies you have never and will never hear of, desperately scrabbling to sell whatever movie it is to buyers from all over the world. Every hotel bar, every cafe, every restaurant is filled to the brim with these people, talking loudly about non-existent deals. The Brits are the worst because most of the British film industry, with a few honourable exceptions, are scam artists and chancers who move around from company to company failing to get anything good made and trying to cast Danny Dyer in anything that moves. I’m seeing guys here who I first met twenty years ago and who are still wearing the same clothes, doing the same job (albeit for a different company) and spinning the same line of bullshit about how THIS movie has Al Pacino or Meryl Streep or George Clooney attached and, whilst that last one didn’t work out, THIS ONE is going to be HUGE. As the day goes on, they start drinking and it all gets ugly and, well, that’s why I’m the guy walking through the Tiergarten with a camera taking pictures of frozen lakes and pretending this isn’t happening.

“Berlin is cool, though and I’ve been lucky to be doing meetings with some people who want to actually get things done. We’ll see what comes of it.”
~ Julian Simpson 

“The difference between poetry and prose, and why if you’re not acculturated to poetry, you might resist it: that page is frightening. Why is it not filled? The two categories of people who don’t feel that way are children and prisoners. So many prison poets; they see that gap and experience it differently. I’m for the gap!”
~ Poet Eileen Myles