Posted by: Matt Q. McGovern | November 29, 2018

filmfest2018

A few weeks ago was the annual film festival I’ve been attending for years. http://filmadelphia.org/festival/

As I do every year, I scheduled the week off from work so I could give as much time as needed. What was different this year was I finally bought a pass which gave me full access to all movies (instead of having to buy tickets to any of them, scheduling them, etc.). It may be more expensive but I am more than comfortable with donating to the Philadelphia Film Society, the organization that runs the film fest as well as films all year long. I’ve been a member for years and remember the time in the past when the film fest was in financial trouble. I remember them struggling for a year or two, then acquiring a historic Philadelphia film theater and turning it into their headquarters.

Now, they have acquired another theater with the size, location, and presence to positively match up with any other in the city. Formerly named the Prince, it is now named the Philadelphia Film Center and is located at Broad & Chestnut Streets in the heart of Philly’s center-city district. The non-profit, member and volunteer-run organization has come a long way and I’m proud to be a member of it.

Having the pass this year enabled me to just show up every day at the beginning of the movie times, and pick a movie. I usually try to keep it spontaneous by day, since I’m on vacation and don’t like to be so dependent on a schedule. Doing it this way for the past few years has given me a different perspective on what films I’m drawn to and also has opened my eyes to films I may not have seen otherwise.

I set out each day with a trip to a cafe near the theaters in Philadelphia’s Olde City section, an area I’ve always loved to walk around. Writing has surpassed reading as an activity that I immediately associate with being in a cafe sometime in the last ten years. 🙂 As such, I began each day with breakfast in the cafe and writing in my journal (longhand). I write whatever is on my mind and in whatever voice comes to me. I cover the films I’m seeing or are about to see, what I’m looking for from them, the setting around me, what I want to write next, what writing of mine needs revisiting, etc.

During each film, the PFS representatives (film programming, etc.) talk a little (thanking the members, volunteers, turn your phone off, etc.) before introducing each film. A lot of their introduction I’ve heard hundreds of times over the years so I usually tune out until the start of the film. In previous years, I’ve gone over the film program book to read the summaries of other movies. This year, for the first time, I brought out my writing journal and continued where I left off in the cafe. I found this an amazing experience, especially as I occasionally continued to write while the film was on and the theater was dark.

There was one film that I was really starting to dislike, and it turned around for me. I can’t say for certain that my narrating it longhand had this effect, though it is likely that my writing about why I didn’t like it seemed to slow my reaction down. The music for this film was amazing and I needed to note that. Maybe it made me more patient to see what else the film would offer. I ended up loving the film and I think writing about it is worth noting. Reading about it afterward was interesting and should be in the future as well as the lines of my writing wavered on the page during the filming.

I was sorry to see the time come to an end as I had settled into the daily film routine quite comfortably. Going to old city cafes, seeing films, reading, and writing is a routine I can do forever. Now I’m reviewing the filmfest program book to see what movies have made distribution so I can acquire the ones I didn’t get a chance to see in the theater. These movies are unique and in my opinion are better than the mainstream movies. Feel free to visit the site above and look through the movies. I believe you won’t be disappointed.

 

 


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