Feeling The Love In Evil City
East Village NYC film-fest 2006
I have never once in my life even been to a film festival, so I have no point of reference as to what to expect.
For the last three plus years I have fought an uphill battle of trying to finish my first feature length documentary about the drug war. Yes, I could have finished it ten times by now and have enough material for an entire series, but for once I wanted to make what I considered to be a "real" film, one that people could & would watch over & over, and for once something that stood a chance of doing more then straight to DVD release. My associate producer George Russell suggested this website WithOutABox.com that links to over 2600 festivals. At this point I have already had several screenings at our house in LA, but I felt like it was time to take the film out for a test spin.
My wife Trae submitted a rough cut to eight festivals only a few weeks ago, so we were surprised to get an acceptance email from the East Village NYC EVIL city. We were even more surprised to learn that the festival was six days away. Of course in my never-ending struggle of tweaking, I made it my personal mission to make sure I could bring a newer and improved edit to NYC. My wife and I bought non-refundable Price Line tickets to NYC, we had posters printed & got everything ready. The next day I got an email From Jim Muscarella, who runs the festival telling me that they had a scheduling problem and were not going to be able to show the film? Well if its one thing that I have learned from living in LA is the art of guilt. So after telling Jim that we had bought no-refundable tickets we were back in the game baby. They tell you that your in a festival, you call everyone you know to brag & then they send you an email saying sorry about that, well maybe that's how they got the name EVIL?
We got to New York late Saturday night after a torturous Southwest Airlines day of sitting in the Chicago airport (I know why they film "A&E's Airline there). We found our way to the supper trendy cool East Village. The party was so cool not even the door man knew about it. You had to walk to the back of the club down the hall to the bathroom then a little beaded door lead down more stairs to a secret little room were the band from the film "ESOPs Dinner" was bring spandex back from the dead. We met the guy from Screw Magazine, who asked me point blank after reading the little write up about my film "So what's this big new so called RADICAL perspective about the drug war? UHH you know UUHH it just is? After talking to him for a while he seemed cool and asked me to do a story (SCREW is a legitimate news publisher right?) Jim of Evil City who seemed to be running the entire show greeted us, but was in what he calls his "Act 11" drinking phase.
The next day we got to our screening, it was at a pretty cool old bar on 11th street, small & funky. My only complaint is that it was noisy in the room the film played. I had the strangest feeling when I went to take a piss and my voice was booming over the PA. Right before the film started I had these people from LEAP introduce themselves "Law Enforcement Against Prohibition" The guys I talked to were former narcs and DEA agents, who after arresting innocent drug offenders for most of their careers grew a conscience & decided to fight to help end the drug war. During the screening they seemed like they were into it, until the Legalize Pot section started, maybe I miss read the vibe, but they seemed to turn on that. Classically Danny Danko Cultivation Editor From High Times & Mary Ought Six writer from High Times walked up to rave about the film & invited me to smoke out with them right in front of these LEAP guys. OHH WELL
The Next Night we went up to the High Times office on Park Avenue, exactly what you would expect, a bunch of guys talking conspiracies all stoned out to the gills, but they are really cool and have invited me to the High Time festival in Spain. If these guys get that High in NYC what do they do in Spain? How much more high can you get?
My wife Trae gets really paranoid when she smoke so she sat it out, but I took one for the team, problem was that the next stop was the awards ceremony that I was already late for and could not even remember my own name. We got there in time, but Jim cut the ceremony in half with a 90 minute film "Mark of the Ninja" Crime is are Art is Crime, you see the problem. So we went to eat at Little Italy & when I got back everyone was standing in the lobby giving me a dirty look. "Where were you? You won Best Documentary & your were not even her?" Man I thought those Mark of Ninja Artist guys had it in the bag, they had 30 people from the film at the show & they all knew all the guys running the festival. I felt so bad it was my ultimate middle age Scott Bio moment "I WAS STONED!"
After living in LA for a year NYC seems friendly & clean, and people will actually talk to you even if you don't look like a model or celebrity. I won my first festival although I fucked up my fleeting moment of glory because of drugs. My film is by no way a pro drug message, but dam those High Times guys didn't care, so I blame them for my absent acceptance speech moment being lost forever. My LA manager Gary is less then impressed by the win, I told him it gives Street Cred to have the artsy East Village guys like it. He said "Street Cred Smeat cred"
Sundance now that's a festival...
Complete List of Blogs...
George Lucas won't watch my filmRecommended reading-ADWEmails from SHOWTIME screeningCIA - Michael Hayden –correctionSHOWTIME -party -March 5th - Kevin & Trae's house in Hell-AngelesSilver Lake film festival programUFO's Bill Hicks and the Harmonic Convergence of 1987Did Bill Hicks Smoke Pot?The CIA was selling crackFeeling The Love In Evil CityThe American Drug War Documentary