April 26th, 2006


Tribeca eve

Tomorrow afternoon I see the first of 15 movies planned at the Tribeca fest: "American Cannibal," by my former co-worker. Will expects to get the Sunday NYT done early, so I can process that and then go with a clear conscience. After the movie, I'll have to come back and do the dailies.

Already my planned schedule may change, as Patrick and Christine are doing Q&A for next Thursday's "Wordplay" and we were told we could join them although there are no tickets available (similar to the Sundance Sunday showing where we couldn't get into our own movie, but did a Q&A afterward). All the "Wordplay" showings are now "door sales only" except the premiere, which is in an 850-seat theater. I could get in Thursday using my Daytimer pass, so I may forgo Jamie Johnson's (of "Born Rich" fame) "The One Percent" and attend "Wordplay" instead. Or see the other movie and dash uptown for the Q&A. It could work, though it's a little tight.

Speaking of tight, we received a list of upcoming "Wordplay" events, many of which are in New York. Wow, the calendar is filling up! I'm worried they'll show the movie to so many people, there'll be no one left to see it when it actually opens. Not everyone wants to see it multiple times like me. However, IFC knows what they are doing, and these events should generate buzz galore. I'm buzzing like a little bee myself, and I haven't even contacted far-flung friends and family yet.

I got a jury duty qualification questionnaire. Uh-oh. They'd better not call me when I need to travel to DC and LA. IFC will have to write me an excuse: "Please excuse Ellen from jury duty. She is being a movie star this week. Thank you."

I finally finished my First Look ARC book from Harper-Collins, and submitted a review. Not sure I'm allowed to talk about it - it was a fun memoir by a celebrity journalist. I haven't picked up "Primary Colors" in a while, but might go next to "The JAP Chronicles" since someone on BookCrossing wants to trade for it.

With all this excitement, I mustn't forget I have work to do.

"American Cannibal: The Road to Reality"

Today's Tribeca movie was a documentary, "American Cannibal: The Road to Reality." This appealed to me because I've watched way too much reality TV. And I happen to know Michael, one of the directors.

First I had to go to the Times and get out Sunday's puzzle. Everything was ready before noon, and this was done without a hitch. The dailies were not ready yet, but I expected them by the time I returned from the movie.

I arrived at the theater almost an hour early, and was told to wait in a line that seemed more for door sales. The line was in the sun, so instead I stood against the building in the shade. They soon moved ticket and pass-holders to another line, where I saw Pen Gwyn who also had a Daytimer pass. She also bought several night and weekend tickets (including "Wordplay" next Sunday), but 15 daytime movies should be enough for me. We compared notes and don't plan to see any more of the same things. It's a big festival.

Some women who had been waiting on the wrong line were moved ahead of us; this was OK as we knew we'd all get decent seats. Chatting, we discovered one was co-director Perry's mother. The filmmakers' story was as Cinderella-like as Patrick's. It started as a small educational film for writers on how to pitch. One writing team soon found itself in bizarre circumstances, and that became the story. The movie was not ready in time for Sundance, but then 3 festivals fought to get their premiere, with Tribeca winning out. They are now looking for a distributor.

The film was done with humor and humanness. You felt for the writers, who soon were in over their heads in a situation so surreal it plays like a parody. We first see Gil and Dave pitching "Golden Girls Meets Sex and the City" with geriatric versions of Carrie and company. When that doesn't pan out, they try the high-concept "10 medically certified male virgins compete to be with a porn star" (with losers "prematurely ejected"). A producer with a background in peddling sex tapes is interested, but somehow they instead go forward on "American Cannibal" where contestants are wined and dined the night before leaving for an island rumored to have, well, you know... then woken up at 3 a.m., and the journey goes downhill from there.

Various talking heads weigh in on how reality has gotten out of hand, including Syracuse professor Robert Thompson who has been quoted in the media so often one wonders when he has time to teach. Even Trishelle from the Real World makes an appearance. I'm still thinking about the movie, which is the mark of a good movie. The directors gave a Q&A afterward, and we saw subject Dave in the audience. Later I went back and read the production blog http://blog.acme-pictures.com.

Leaving the theater... SWAG! We got "American Cannibal" water bottles, a nice touch. I had said a quick hello to Michael before the movie and now had to get back to the Times. The daily puzzles arrived minutes after I did so it's a good thing I had the movie to occupy me all that time.

I got home late and reluctant to cook, so ordered from Turkuaz for only the second time. Zucchini pancakes, chicken yogurt kabob, bread. Now I'm stuffed.