Friday September 5,
WELCOME TO HOLYROOD
We ate at the Apartment - a good feed bag
family and I were in Edinburgh last year during the festival and I
thought it would be cool to attend with EvenHand in 2003. I was
right. Julie, the kids and I all returned this year for another
visit to the lovely city of Edinburgh.
Festival put us up in a little hotel called the Knight
had two bedrooms, a kitchen (complete with all the modern appliances)
and a cozy little living room. The owners were exceptionally attentive
and kind. It was all we could do to get up and out of the place in the
morning. The neighborhood was a wee bit questionable what with the
kids and all, but I think I managed to convince them that the nearby
pub featured "Tap Dancing." Yes, Gregory Hines performed
there all the time! It's a quirky Scottish spelling!
Proof we were there (Sir Walter Scott Monument)
arrival at the Festival offices we all checked in and collected our
badges. While we had sent in digital photos ahead of time, they
announced that it hadn't worked for some reason and snapped a new
batch of pictures. The atmosphere was one of vague disinterest until
Nicola Pierson arrived. The disaffected interns faded into the
background and I quickly found the welcoming and accommodating staff
that made Edinburgh one of the most agreeable festivals I have
attended. Catherine Bromley in the press office arranged three
interviews with freelance journalists. None will see the light of day
unless the film gets picked up in the UK, but all were very
complimentary and optimistic about our chances.
The Brush Shop - one of my favorite Edinburgh stores
first screening was well attended and the audience started laughing
early. This is a very good sign -- it means they get it. When the
audience is slow to respond to the humor in EvenHand it's always a concern; it's a
really important element of the film and it makes the ending all the
more poignant (I think).
Every audience is different, sometimes in
only subtle ways, but I experienced something in Edinburgh that I have
never seen at an EvenHand screening. During the climax at the end,
there is a moment when a good percentage of the audience will gasp.
This has always happened. This audience, however, was dead
silent. My immediate thought was that they did not find it affecting,
but it became clear in the Q&A afterwards that the majority
certainly got it and liked it (also see the fan
mail). Is this attributable to some cultural difference? Who
knows. It's a mystery.
Q&A was also different than any other I have participated in.
After both screenings the audience was lots more interactive than I
have experienced at the various US screenings to date, which was
great. There were several spontaneous responses to things I said. At
one point I was going on about how filming in San Antonio saved me a
significant amount of money and a woman called out "You're pretty
cheap, I guess." I said something about the necessity of cutting
corners when you're filming on a shoestring, even if it's a relatively
long one. Another question prompted a reply that again delved into
some creative money-saving strategy. Again, the same woman called out:
"So you really are cheap!" My reply was: "I guess it's
my Scottish blood." The response was decidedly mixed. I got a few
laughs -- and at least one audible hiss. Oh well. Do you suppose great
grandmother Laughlin will forgive me?
second screening was later (10 PM) and not as well attended, but the
response was perhaps better. More people stayed for the Q&A,
partly as a result of my agreement to turn the sound off on the end
credits and get started more quickly. Both Q&A's were moderated by
Nicola Pierson, who did a splendid job. The most awkward time at any
Q&A session is the first few moments. No one is thinking about
questions as they watch the film, so there is always a stunned silence
when the moderator solicits the first question. Nicola had several
questions to ask me straightaway, thus denying the opportunity for the
interminable silence. She also posed several thoughtful follow-up questions
after the audience got rolling.
was one Edinburgh
police officer in attendance at the second screening who
reiterated what cops all over have said: "You got it right."
is the good stuff
saw only one other film while in Edinburgh: Bellville Rendezvous (now
called The Bellville Triplets Les
Triplettes de Bellville). After perusing the EIFF catalogue for
hours and querying the staff endlessly, this was the only film that
seemed appropriate for kids. While it was a very creative and funny
animation, which I enjoyed enormously, the kids basically thought it
sucked. The lesson here is that most film festivals are geared for
adult audiences. Not many people bring their families to film
festivals either, unless they masochistically attend as the subject of excruciatingly
painful documentaries (see Capturing the Friedmans
(a very cool website)).
of the highlights of the festival was seeing the quintessential Scotsman on Princes Street: Sean
Connery! I told one of the staff members and she was skeptical. She said that his
brother, Steve, lives in Edinburgh and quite resembles Sean. He apparently
also doesn't mind the occasional accidental attention, courtesy
of his famous brother. There is no doubt, however, that this Connery
was the authentic Sean. He was being shepherded into the theater for a
premiere, which is not one of the privileges of being Steve.
A gratuitous reproduction of the Swimming Pool postcard (also
screening at the EIFF)
next for EvenHand? Read the 9/12/03 journal entry for news on the
final round of film festivals and the TV and video deals!
noticed the other day that the EvenHand listing on the
Internet Movie Database has started getting votes. If you have seen
the film (and liked it -- don't be mean!), please take a minute and
register your vote there. Here's a link:
To buy our original September 11th memorial T-shirt, CLICK
All profits go to charity.
This work is
licensed under a Creative
© 2003 Cypress