These Are Free, Right?


I’m a relentless truth teller (by “truth” I do not mean the eternal truths of the universe, I mean my personal and completely self-righteous opinion). I will blurt out my truth at the drop of a hat with complete disregard for the impact it has on others. I try not to upset people, but the sad truth is… I kind of enjoy irking those who dare to disagree with me. Knowing my nasty rebellious tendencies, Tim Rhys, publisher of MM, asked me to write a bi-weekly blog. He’d read a cheeky article I wrote for a friend’s blog, www.hotinhollywood.tv, and found it somewhat amusing. My initial answer was a gracious “not in a million years.” I was terrified that I’d write something incriminating or embarrassing. I think that’s what he was counting on. Finally, I relented.

I’ll be writing about my personal experiences in the film world. I live in L.A. so most of it will take place here. Although, I’m going to be traveling to film festivals in the next year so I may send a note from an exotic location once in a while (one can only hope).

Recently, I went to a FIND event. (Film Independent—previously known as IFP West until Dawn Hudson, executive director of the IFP nation seceded with the entire west coast. I don’t know the details of the split but I’d like to imagine it was a fierce battle to the end! And then they all had tea and cookies and became best of friends. Am I right?) I made a valiant effort to attend a FIND screening with my friend, Jennifer Luckett (go ahead, IMDB her, she’s adorable.) As a FIND member, I get to bring one guest to each of their free screenings. This one was particularly popular. They were screening Married Life at the new Landmark theater in West L.A. (based on the ArcLight model: High ticket prices, fancy snacks and drinks and numbered seats.) The fact that Chris Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, and the director, Ira Sachs, would be present at the Q&A had pulled everyone away from their computer screens.

Despite our arrival 45 minutes early, we didn’t get in. These no-RSVP screenings really bug the crap out of me. We were five people away from the cut off. Fortunately, there were other films playing at the Landmark; we opted for The Other Boleyn Girl. Scarlett Johannson! Natalie Portman! I knew they could act, but those young thespians can act! Holy kamoley. And the rest of the troop also kicked some serious screen butt. Jen and I were busy plotting how to cast Scarlett or Natalie in our next film project when we stumbled on to the tail end of the Married Life cocktail reception.

We crashed it. I made a determined trajectory to the bar and snatched a couple white wines. I asked the handsome bartender (all bartenders in L.A. are handsome), “These are free, right?” I realized an instant later that I reeked of “indie” but I didn’t care. I am indie! I’m proud not to be earning any money making films! (…this too shall pass)

Where was I? Drinking. White wine. With Jen. I turned and saw a guy signing people’s programs. I surmised he was the film’s director. I whispered to Jen, “Watch this. I’m going to be totally obnoxious.” I stepped up to his little party and said, ‘You must be famous.’ He looked up with incomprehension. ‘Everyone wants your autograph,’ I said with a wink. What he didn’t know was that I was the only one who didn’t actually know who the fuck he was cause I’d missed the Q&A. I glanced at Jen as if to say, ‘See, obnoxious, right?’ And then I quickly slinked away. Hopefully Mr. Sachs won’t remember that little encounter when we rub elbows at the next Spirit Awards.

I got the buzz from the crowd that the movies was “okay.” I felt oddly justified for missing the screening. But, please, don’t take that as a review. I didn’t actually see the movie. And I should know by now how much credence to give other people’s film opinions… See it for yourself.

The highlight of the evening was meeting the most gracious, kind and humble Mr. Chris Cooper. I LOVE HIM!!! (In a fraternal way. The guy’s been married for a gazillion years.) Since I’m now officially a John Sayles groupie, I’ve decided to include two actors in my fan club: Cooper and David Strathairn. (I’m the fannee. They’re the fanners.) LOVE THEM!!! And they’re all buds. Gotta love loyalty. I wish I had the balls to stick to my actor friends. I’m ashamed to say I’m about to desert my original movie cast in favor of… funding. Yes, sad, but true. Pathetic, actually. So why am I broadcasting my bad behavior to the world? It’s that annoying blurt the truth Turret-like syndrome I mentioned earlier. Aargh.

What I did right: Boldly say hello to Chris Cooper and usurp 10 minutes of his time.

What I did wrong: Not run to my car, pull out my script and shove it into his unsuspecting arms. Isn’t that what any red-blooded truly committed, passionate indie moviemaker would do?

In the meantime, my friend, George Zaverdas (he showed up 90 minutes early!) was busy schmoozing with Patricia Clarkson (after I’d given him a healthy shove in her direction. Hey, he said he adored her!) George, flushed and pleased as punch, reported that he’d had a great conversation with Patricia and she’d called him “charming.” I think he repeated this a few times (he’s gonna kill me if he ever reads this.) He is charming. And we were all a little tipsy… We were both amazed by how accessible and friendly the actors were. I guess we’re all in the same boat and the ones that recognize that fact choose to be kind to their fellow travelers.

Ultimately, FIND is a great organization. Anyone who can bring together artists and filmmakers in a casual environment and inspire them to dream and rub shoulders with the people who could further their dreams has my thumbs up.

Eternally optimistically yours,
Anne

Anne Norda is an artist, writer, director and producer with one feature, Red Is the Color Of, under her belt. She was born in North Hollywood, schooled at the Parsons School of Design and was a Fulbright Scholar in photography. She’s a Finnish and U.S. citizen and has lived in Paris, Helsinki, LA, NY and Bangkok. Her dream is to run a major movie studio. Or be a Pulitzer prize-winning poet and dedicate her life to art and the transformation of humanity. Whichever may come first.

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