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Saturday, May 07, 2005

Originally uploaded by jensect.

My friend Blondie is a Film Fanatic. She saw umpty million movies during the Portland Film Festival, belongs to the Silver Screen club or whatever they call the Northwest Film Center's dealie, and thinks I am a giant loser for only going to two movies a month if I am lucky. Anyway, she knew my sister and I were busy with Wordstock stuff, but she had some extra tickets to the Peripheral Produce Fourth Annual Invitational, and did we want to go? Answer - sure, why not! This was the big event ending the PDX Film Festival. Portland has a lot of film festivals.

We met her after Saturday's full day at Wordstock at the Guild Theater downtown. She led us to the seats she had saved toward the back of the theater, but first we were each given a ballot, a viewmaster viewer, and a perforated bingo card. This invitational is made up of short films made by mostly local filmmakers. Part of the conditions of the competition are that they have to be there in order for their film to be shown, so that adds to the fun. The audience quickly filled up. People were sitting in the aisles. People watching was EXCELLENT - film makers, film fans, scenesters and hangers-on, and garden-variety voyeurs like yours truly.

A really, really tall guy steps up to the podium and gets things going - does everyone have their ballot? their viewmaster? their bingo card? The viewmaster is for one of the films, the ballot is for voting, and the bingo card is for BINGO! He had a whole bingo set-up for lulls when the projector was being changed or whatever. I was one number away from winning, but that's ok. It would have been a long way to walk to claim a prize.

The movies run the gamut - I think the longest was about 20 minutes, and most were much shorter than that. Ones I remember particularly were the Dick Cheney/Scarface movie (like on Conan - Cheney's mouth was replaced with Al Pacino from Scarface. Ha!); Where is My Boyfriend; one with a personal ad set-up; a VCR getting the hell beat out of it from the VCR's POV; a movie made from exposing film on the sidewalk in front of the theater after it had been covered with lunchmeat and fruit (great texture!) - that one was accompanied by live music as musicians who were stationed all over the theater and played their pan flutes (or whatever) moving all over the theater so the sound moved arround. It was a great way to end the invitational, which is good since it was last.

My favorite was the VladMaster movie by Vladimir. It was the most theatrical, the most interactive, and the most freak-ass weird. It appealed to me so much - I have been trying to figure out why. Is it just because I am a Viewmaster junkie? Is it because the format is simultaneously fresh and dorky? Is it because it is just objectively awesome? I voted for this one, obviously. Go here to see a slideshow from the event. You, too, can see the band performing the soundtrack in their dark suits, antlers, tubas, toy pianos, train whistles, and did I mention ANTLERS? The presentation was gorgeous - everyone was passed a beautifully decorated paper package which contained 4 vladmaster reels. These are AMAZING (she has pictures on her site). There was an introduction in which we were all trained like Pavlov's dogs so we would know when to click to the next frame, and when to change reels. There is definitely something about being in a room with 399 other people all clicking on a viewmaster in unison. Really. I recommend the experience.
I felt bad for whoever had to follow this film. I can't feel bad for them individually though, because I don't remember who it was.

After the festival we split out the front and headed to the garage where we were parked. There is a ballroom in the same building as the Guild Theater, and some school was having their prom there. I think. It is the only explanation I could come up with for all the tulle and tuxedos. It was interesting to watch all of the indie-film hipsters spill out of the theater and run smack into a bunch of drunk high-school students in formal-wear. Actually, it would make a good movie.
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