Monday, September 22, 2003
Finally got back today from Birmingham, home to the Sidewalk Film Festival. A really super film festival. I saw a mostly comedy shorts segment, a dramatic shorts segment, a set of animated shorts, and 1 feature, the festival jury prize winner, Melvin Goes to Dinner, by Bob (Mr. Show) Odenkirk.
Melvin was definitely a fun film. Cameos by David Cross, Laura Kightlinger, and the director himself don't interrupt the flow of the film, even when 350 people all turn to whisper "that's David Cross" to one another. It's basically a Gen-X version of My Dinner with Andre. The basic plot is: Melvin is in a shitty state job and while trying to make plans with his lover, accidentally calls an old friend he hasn't seen in a while and ends up going to dinner with him. So, it's Melvin, Joey, and two lady friends. I won't give away more. The conversations at the beginning don't flow too well, but after they move to about the second or third topic, they get on a roll and it becomes really fun.
I wish I could report more on Melvin, but I was fighting off a sinus headache, fever, and heat exhaustion in the basement nightclub-cum-movie theatre where it was screened.
Turnout was pretty impressive. I couldn't get in to The Real Old Testament, an improvised parody of the The Real World set in the Book of Genesis and, in a Bible belt surprise, the audience prize winner. The shorts at the Carver theatre were nearly packed, and even the 1500 seat Alabama Theatre was pretty full for the last shorts and animation blocks.
So, if you're looking for a good festival to send your next film or want to see a good selection of films, plan for Birmingham in September 2004.
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