Last night, I went to the second day of the ten day Cleveland International Film Festival. The first movie I wanted to see was a film from Norway called Monsterthursday. Being a Saturday night, movies were in demand, so I had to purchase a “stand-by” ticket, which basically means it was sold out, but you’d get in if there are empty seats. Fortunately, a couple minutes before it started, they called my number, and Kristy & I were able to get two seats, albeit front-row. Well, anyways, they always have one of the festival people come up and give their spiel about the film, the festival, and the sponsors. So he’s going through his talk, and is like “oh yeah, please note, we were unable to get the actual print of the movie as it was lost at Sundance, but we do have a video copy which we’re going to present. We screened it yesterday, and I think only one person walked out.” OK, let me just note that Sundance was TWO MONTHS AGO! It’s not like it was last week and you didn’t have time to secure another print. Plus, I find it incredibly hard to believe that there might only be one print in existence and it is now lost. This is 2005. I’m sure it cannot be that hard to secure something other than a video copy. The movie was good, but the video was not the best. I assumed it was a pretty low-grade independent thing, but I watched the trailer online today, and it was much better quality than what I saw last night.
After it was over, we went to see the next movie we had tickets for, Aftermath. Fortunately, it was a little less crowded and we were able to get better seats. So, before it starts, the same guy comes in to do his little talk. And right before he finishes, he gives us almost the same story, that we would be seeing a video copy, as the original was somewhere in Russia. Two movies, two videos. Pretty ridiculous for a “film” festival. And to top it of, this video was much lower quality than the earlier one, and there was an annoying noise that kept popping up in the audio about every 30 seconds. We would have left, but it’s one of those things where we really wanted to see the movie, and would probably never be able to see it anywhere else. Plus, we’d planned our evening around it. Now if they had put it on the website beforehand, we could have made other plans. At the very least, they could have told us when we were buying tickets. Yeah, the guy giving the spiel told us we could go see another movie if we wanted, but the other movies had already started, and most were packed. Not a very viable alternative there chief.
So, needless to say, I am pretty disappointed with this year’s film fest, and am probably going to rethink all the movies I wanted to see. I don’t want to get too many more surprises. But I know that I’m not going to sit through another video again.