Day 1, Thursday April 10th 2008:
Greek Short Film Retrospective part 1, + 2 features (50’s sci-fi from the US of A)
We upload -excuse me- hang on the wall the 6,25 sq.m. banner, and passers-by stop to stare. At least our poster image is impressive. We keep getting calls from persons of some age asking “Are you really going to play 50’s sci-fi movies? When? How many?” Right. We supposedly chose the MIKROKOSMOS movie theater in order to appeal to a younger audience. But they all come, creating the most bizarre audience mix I have seen in years. The elders, they come to view what used to trouble their minds, and perhaps still does. The young, they come to see what scared and impressed the older generations. But also for the three Greek short films which, in typical local mood, use humor to face ugliness – the female womb invaded by TV, African magicians against the rich and vulgar, Life against Death portrayed as a battle between a man and a woman -Death is the male, of course. The Absinth(e) drink helps the audience clear away the Reality Fog. SFF-rated is on, and it spins faster.
Day 2, Friday April 11th 2008:
Greek Short Film Retrospective part 2, + 2 features (50’s sci-fi from USA & Japan)
Risky day – the screenings are similar to those in the opening night. But people show up again, mixed, trying to kill time, to stop time, to enhance time… I don’t know, I’m too busy being anxious about the screenings -whether they will screen without technical problems, of the kind so loved by digital media… I know that if one such thing happens, everybody will remember that one moment. But it doesn’t. Tonight, Hollywood endings make the audience have -audible- fan, the Greek shorts are in a dark mood and the Japanese give color to the screen and to xenophobia.
Day 3, Saturday April 12th 2008:
1 50′s sci-fi movie + GHOSTS & MONSTERS thematic short film parade, + CALL OF CTHULHU
I don’t know why I placed the main Competition section of the festival on Sunday and not on the universally hot Saturday Night. Perhaps I was chasing the sold-out. And I got one. I saw it coming early on, and a big smile started to creep on my face. Thankfully the engineer makes a mess with timing, forcing me to cut a screening and face -embarrassed- the Audience. I explain how the Audience Award works, and then we start again with the secret screening of the festival – a two and a half minutes-long sci-fi joke, very well filmed and executed. People roar and feel good -good, because in a while, they won’t. The eight shorts gradually prepare the mood, and then the Great Cthulhu un-comes on the screen. By now, people are standing on their feet – the theater is packed. But no one talks, no one whispers, for the whole 47 minutes that the silent film lasts. I didn’t see or hear much talking later, either. Just before I can relax and enjoy the big success, tomorrow creeps in: will they come for the Competition, or did we exhaust them tonight?
Day 4, Sunday April 13th 2008:
Short Film Competition
23 shorts from all over the world + 1 documentary(Guest of Honor)
But they came, again. The shorts are many and some generate a lot of audience buzz. I don’t place bets -I know that it takes just a few loud mouths to create the noise – but ALL hands fill in the questionnaires from which the Audience Award will be determined.
While the bitter-sweet documentary about long-time STAR WARS fans “The Last Line” screens, I start to process the questionnaires. The laptop screen suddenly goes pink and motionless. Shut-down, restart: it works, but now the clock is ticking. I appear running in the main hall with the other gang members looking at me, in wild-eyed anticipation. “You’ ll be surprised” I yell, and I once more stand in front of the Audience to announce to them what their collective will has decided: and the SFF-rated 2008 Audience Award goes to “ZOMBIE” dir. Chris Armstrong, a cynical, sarcastic black & white animated short that reveals everything about Zombies (Do we live among them? Do they live among us?) and Human Beings (Do we live among them? Do they live among us?). And SFF-rated ends. The last of the five hundred people that came during these four days leave the theater, and the only thing that is left to do, is to start planning for the next year. It’s called obsession.