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Not all films have wide release. There are some truly special, unique treasures found at film festivals that you may never have the chance to see again. You’ve shared the moment with a relatively few number of people in various screening rooms around the world. A shared, temporal experience… and some of those films will have long lasting, penetrating memories.

I wish I could see The Boy Who Walked Backwards again. In such a short duration, the film effectively and memorably addresses the hurt that people can’t visually see when missing someone who has died, and the unplanned leadership position that can be thrust onto anyone at any time due to life events. A tough subject approached with such charm and compassion that I still remember images in my mind today, many years later… for how the boy learns to face his loss is something we need to do in life over and over again for the many losses and changes in our own lives.

If you ever get the chance, watch the film and you’ll understand too.

In the meantime, have a great festival season!

Cheers & memorable movies to you,
Deb

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The shadow puppet show gives the kids courage to continue their journey.
(Once Upon A Time… This Morning, 1995)

As festival season is upon us, I’m reminded of films I’ve seen that have left such an impression on me that I wish I could see them again.

In this film (from Thailand) the kids are trying to trek through the city on their own to their other parent. The come across so many challenges and one night, at a low point, the eldest girl brings out and uses their dad’s shadow puppets, taking on the role of telling the story their dad usually tells them – an adventure not unlike their current one… but seen through the dance of metaphor. The telling of the tale not only transports the kids out of their worries and into the magic of the story, but also gives them hope and courage to continue their journey… bringing them all together during their crisis.

How this magical moment reminds us of how important the “bards” are of this world as we all take life’s challenging journey: theatre, music, film, dance, oral tradition, shadow puppets… We work in an essential service in this industry, even if we can’t see the results immediately or directly.

… and that’s a magical, inspiring thought, don’t you think?

Cheers & good on ya!
Deb

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With festival season still upon us, I can’t help but think about all those industry parties and about meeting both old friends and making new contacts… and handling the inevitable business cards that come along.

1. Use Two Pockets – A blazer works well. Keep your cards in one pocket – the “out tray”, and cards you receive in the other – the “in tray”. Your cards will always be instantly accessible, and you’ll never pull out a stack of other people’s cards when searching for the last few copies of your own.

2. Set Yourself a Quota – Nearly everyone I know finds it hard to meet new people, especially at industry parties. Set yourself a quota for the party, like: “I’m going to hand out 5 of my business cards tonight“, or “I’m going to collect at least 3 business cards at this party“. Yes, this type of quota requires you meet people, but is focussed on the goal, not the people, so may be easier for you to strike up conversations with new folk. You may then find yourself on a roll and exceed your quota… and have a great time doing so.

3. Carry Spares of Your Card & a Pen – People do forget to bring business cards, run out of copies, or not have one. Bring extras of yours, and a pen. The back of your business card will do to write contact information of these folk. The pen is also useful to customize notes onto their card (that you receive) immediately to remind yourself later of the conversation or the topic you two want to follow up on together.

4. Research Who’s Attending – In advance, you should have at least a sense of the people who will be attending the party by who is hosting. Is there anyone in particular you really want to meet? Plan what starting conversation you may use to break the ice with that person, and target to exchange business cards. You don’t have to become fast friends at the party itself – you might even meet at a later party and can follow up on the conversation from the first one.

5. Use the Cards Soon Afterward – Finally, as soon as you can after the party (though not necessarily that night!), use the contact information on the cards to follow up with at least a “nice to meet you“.

So, dust off your business cards and start trading. Happy industry partying!

Cheers,
Deb

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Unique festival opening shots?

As festival season is about to begin, I can’t help but remember back to one of the first times I attended TIFF. I only managed to see nine films that year, but oddly, three of those nine films started with the same opening shot. Yup. Thee completely different films in three different languages and from three totally different countries from around the world came up with:

Fade in to full frame water. Camera pulls out and boat enters shot. Protagonist is on bow of boat. Camera moves in to Protagonist.

Just think. Three different directors in three different countries all thought they came up with an original way to open their respective movies. It goes to show then, doesn’t it? Whatever we think of creatively, it’s probably been done before.

Cheers,
Deb

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