It's time for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, four days of film, back to back, from early morning to late at night. This year the festival opens with Sketches of Frank Gehry, with director Sidney Pollack. Ken Burns will be here to screen a WIP. There will be immense disasters covered in 35mm and small gems told in HDV.
For four days my nephew, a film producer, will be in town wearing black and drinking my vodka. We'll study the schedule, argue about our choices, and watch documentaries until our eyes bleed. With more than 100 films, we'll have a chance to see a/k/a Tommy Chong, Smiling In A War Zone, Dead People and Air Guitar Nation.
In past years we've seen My Voyage to Italy, Martin Scorsese's four-hour homage to Italian cinema; Word Wars, about the eccentrics who compete in big money Scrabble championships; and Bearing Witness, Barbara Kopple's film about women war correspondents who, it turns out, have giant brass balls. Who knew?
We've been disappointed by films we were anticipating, and surpised by dark horses we saw on a whim. We've heard Walter Mosely, Michael Moore, Harry Shearer and Mr. Scorsese speak about Spinal Tap, politics, war and the art of story. Albert Maysles talked about shooting The Beatles in 1964 and the Rolling Stones' 1969 Altamont concert for Gimme Shelter.
One year I had lunch between Barbara Kopple and D.A. Pennebaker, the guy who shot Don't Look Back. For me, this is like sitting between Elmore Leonard and James Ellroy, talking shop.
So, until Monday, the Dark Planet will be darker than usual. See you next week and remember to play nice. If you need anything, call 911.