Sunday, October 19, 2014

Nightcap 10/19/14: Final thoughts on the New York Film Festival, DOC NYC is coming and Randi's links

The New York Film Festival ended last weekend and I’m still tired.

I had a blast. It was month of good films and good friends.

For those keeping score the best new films I saw were

The almost on the best list and would be if I didn’t hesitate for a second list

And somewhere in there should probably be THE KING AND THE MOCKINGBIRD on the technicality that it hadn’t officially been released in the US before

The worst films are

My one wish coming out of the festival this year is that next year the selection committee can make some of the selections more exciting going in. Yea the films were largely very good to excellent this year, but what I’d like is more premieres, more big or important films closer to their world premieres. Too many films had played in multiple festivals elsewhere before landing in New York- that’s all well and good, but it kind of kills the excitement when people are telling me how they saw a film at this other festival or another (even the Surprise screening screened elsewhere-with the result that the audience deflated when they realized what it was).

Additionally the festival has to stop taking films from past directors. Just because they had a film previously doesn’t mean they deserve a slot this year. At least a quarter of the main slate films were returning directors, as were a high percentage of other films. There are more and better films out there then some of the films that were made by NYFF alumni. Being a past presenter shouldn't give you an automatic slot. Make a good film then you can be screened.

Forgive me for bitching but this is the New York Film Festival, one of the premiere events for a half century, they need to be more of a stepping off point for world cinema not "the best of the rest" collection it's become.

And while I’m making a wish list the selection would get more daring- I mean really daring. No offense but outside of Asia Argento’s MISUNDERSTOOD the festival wasn’t daring. Every choice was safe and not confrontational. The Festival should be rattling cages, it should be going into going in new directions and picking up new directors. Why can’t the festival do another midnight series-yea I know it’s a union thing, but do a midnight series in the afternoon. The answer that the Film Society does things like Film Comment Selects and Scary Movies at other times doesn’t cut it, those are series are self-selecting- the festival casts a wider net and showing some of those films would get them greater attention.

If you want my unasked for advice on how to correct this change out the selection committee. Some of the people seem to have been there forever, time to get new eyes and uncalcify the group. If not expand the group to include a rotating cast of characters who will bring new eyes. And if you do that don’t go to the same old same old- get some of younger film writers and bring them in, get people not in the old boys secret handshake film club and let them choose- and have them do so from their hearts and not their heads- let them pick what moves them, not what is going to look good for the festival.

As for me time to go through withdrawal and rest up for next year….

If you want proof that film critics and writer can be full of themselves watch the BIRDMAN Q&A above and listen as the panel is stumped by several questions which are either not about the film or make no sense.

And heading on to other festivals, DOC NYC has announced its schedule and put tickets on sale. It’s a killer festival and we’re going to wade in as best we can . Not only am I doing coverage but also John, Hubert and Mondo are wading in….

…but that may not be enough since they are running 152 films across multiple screens in 3 locations. I think on the weekend 6 films will be running at the same time. It’s insane.

I know we’ll have reviews of a good number of the films, but I can’t say how many, but way over 30.. I know I freaked the PR staff out with my personal requests. If we don’t beat last year’s coverage it won’t be because we didn’t try, it will only because the scheduling defeated us.

For details on all the films including tickets go here.

(And yea the stuff is good I've seen a couple already and have a favorite or two-so get tickets)
This week more random titles with a whole slew of new releases thrown in for good measure

And now some links ala the Great Randi

Gaudi's cathedral 
Rarely seen images of Chaplin
20th Century's Greatest Composers
6 hours on Blah Airlines
The annotated Star Wars

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