I almost didn’t volunteer this year for the Austin Film Fest – I feel like things have been so hectic and I wasn’t even sure how much I could volunteer. But then I reminded myself how much fun I’ve had as a volunteer the last two years.
Plus… the Film Fest has been the one thing I’ve allowed myself to completely indulge in. I don’t make any money getting involved, there’s no promoting myself or the blog or what I do, I simply go, do whatever tasks are needed, and just observe.
It’s something that really feeds my creativity in a different way, and I always, ALWAYS, have to give myself permission to do that.
In years passed, I’ve done a majority of my volunteer hours downtown at the Writer’s Conference. While I learn so much doing those shifts, I wanted to stick a little closer to my apartment this year, so I chose all theatre shifts.
Theatre shifts = managing the lines going into each film, scanning tickets and badges, and often getting to sit in the back and watch the movies. Between my two shifts this year, I got to see three movies.
Here is the film’s description, from its website:
From the ancient carvings on the temples of Angkor to the international stage. What started as a genocide survivor’s dream to revive one of the world’s oldest sports becomes an inspiring mission to heal a nation.
A story of triumph, heartbreak and coming of age in a Cambodia on the rise.
You can watch the trailer here.
Honestly, when I read the description of this film, I wasn’t so sure how I was going to like it. But I ended up really enjoying it – I almost cried – and once the film was over, two of the people in it were in the lobby and I was so amazed to see them in person.
This documentary focuses on the Grand Master of Bokatar and his extreme efforts to have the martial art recognized as an official sport from Cambodia. He sees the importance in tradition – so much so that he’s hurting financially, taking care of many of his students as they live in the gym.
It’s all the things you want a movie to be: heartfelt, great storyline with compelling characters, and the wonder of whether or not they’ll make it.
Care to Laugh
Here is the film’s description from its website:
Jesus’ world is flipped upside down when his mother, Adelaida, undergoes emergency surgery to remove a brain tumor. Although most aspiring comedians build their careers on the road, Jesus juggles his responsibilities at home in Long Beach, Calif., with open mics and auditions in the Los Angeles area, often driving more than two hours each way every day. As the pressure of his budding career mounts, the family receives more devastating news: Jesus’ father, Antonio, is diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer.
An only child, Jesus becomes his parents’ sole caregiver. Transforming adversity into comedy, he uses his life experience as material for his routine. He continues to reach for his dream while taking over his father’s landscaping business to keep the family afloat. When his set catches the eye of producers at The Late Late Show with James Corden, Jesus may have scored the big break he’s been banking on.
I LOVED THIS!
I love the story of the underdog, the hustler, and Jesus was such a lovable character – I say character even though he is a real comic, and he came to the movie! When I scanned his ticket, I said, “Hey this movie is about you!”
A western Sydney security guard and part-time ghost hunter, Jason King has spent two decades searching for his absent father. As a survivor of trauma, he seeks to reconcile his fractured memories and piece together his past. When his search converges with a police investigation, an horrific family secret is exposed – forcing him to confront a brutal past in order to reclaim his future.
This was also a documentary – this was my year because I love documentaries – and although this was creepy, it really wasn’t creepy because he was a ghost hunter, it was his past.
It was really well shot and I liked that the director included other media – text messages and voicemails – to tell the story. Very riveting, but heartbreaking as well.
See the trailer here.
And that’s it! There are still movies playing this week and sometimes they’ll message us about free movies, so hopefully I’ll get to see more, but so far, I enjoyed everything I saw. Another successful year in the books!
That’s right – I’m coming off a weekend of volunteering at the Austin Film Festival for the second year in a row! After having such a fun and inspiring time last year, I jumped at the chance to volunteer again this year.
I am still nurturing my interest in screenwriting, but have made about ZERO progress on doing much with this interest. I don’t like using the excuse that I’m too busy – but things have been a little crazy lately.
However, I still made time to volunteer. I actually starting volunteering in the spring, going door-to-door passing out advertisements for the Austin Film summer camp for kids. My first official shift during the festival was for the Pitch Competition – where I volunteered 9 hours last year and had so, so much fun!
This year… it was a little more stressful. I hadn’t been at my shift very long when one of the judges needed a cup of coffee (specifically, a medium coffee with 2/3 coffee and 1/3 almond milk). I was sent on the errand.
Of course, the coffee shop in the building was closed. I went back to my station and was told to “go somewhere nearby”…little did my shift manager know that I don’t really KNOW what’s nearby. So, I ventured to the 3rd floor where I heard there was free coffee.
Indeed, there was free coffee, but no almond milk. Only little containers of half and half. So, I moved with a quickness outside. Two blocks away was a giant “Day of the Dead” parade, on top of the Film Fest crowd – everywhere was packed. The first two coffee shops I found were closed. Awesome.
Coffee shop number three was open… but with a huge line. I jumped in line anyway. When it was my turn to order, I was informed they were actually OUT OF COFFEE. How does that happen?
I said I would wait… and about 20 minutes later, I got my order and moved as quickly as possible back to my volunteer station. I apologized for how long it took, but my manager assured me it was ok.
Well, until I looked at my phone to see she’d sent me several frantic messages basically thinking I’d run off downtown with her credit card. Umm what? I confronted her about the messages and she was all, “Ohhh just ignore those!”
Regardless, she stuck me on door duty for six hours leaving me uninspired, with tired legs. I don’t think I’d survive in Hollywood.
On Sunday, I arrived at my first-ever shift to volunteer at a theatre! During this shift, I took tallies of how many people were lined up to see the movies, and helped count them into the theatre. I also got to sneak into (with permission) the theatre to see one of the films and enjoyed a free Coke and some free popcorn! Fantastic!
The movie I saw was called “Meerkat Moonship”, created by Hanneke Schutte – who was present for the viewing. Here’s the official description from IMDb:
“Gideonette, a timid and visionary girl, lives with her parents in a small town. Her dad Gideon, battles daily to allay her fears about the curse of the Gideon de La Reys. Throughout their family history every Gideon de La Rey died in a freak accident at a young age. In order to prove everyone wrong, Gideon named his daughter – Gideonette. Although Gideonette has had to endure endless teasing about the curse, her dad has tried to convince her that they’ll both grow old. When he suddenly dies, her worst fears are realized and she retreats into a dark world where her imagination runs wild. Realising that Gideonette needs to get away from the curse her mom sends her to her grandparents. Here Gideonette meets Bhubesi, a deaf boy who’s ‘training’ to become an astronaut. While her grandfather builds Bhubesi a Moonship, the brave boy wins her trust and they embark on a curious journey of wordless friendship that helps her to realise she can’t hide from death. When fate hands her a final blow and her newfound strength is tested, she has to decide whether she’s going to let the curse consume her or defy it.
Gideonette, a timid and visionary girl, lives with her parents in a small town. Her dad Gideon, battles daily to allay her fears about the curse of the Gideon de La Reys. Throughout their family history, every Gideon de La Rey died in a freak accident at a young age. In order to prove everyone wrong, Gideon named his daughter – Gideonette. Although Gideonette has had to endure endless teasing about the curse, her dad has tried to convince her that they’ll both grow old. When he suddenly dies, her worst fears are realised and she retreats into a dark world where her imagination runs wild. Realising that Gideonette needs to get away from the curse her mom sends her to her grandparents. Here Gideonette meets Bhubesi, a deaf boy who’s ‘training’ to become an astronaut. While her grandfather builds Bhubesi a Moonship, the brave boy wins her trust and they embark on a curious journey of wordless friendship that helps her to realise she can’t hide from death. When fate hands her a final blow and her newfound strength is tested, she has to decide whether she’s going to let the curse consume her or defy it.”
This was a BEAUTIFUL movie! I even teared up a few times – ugh! I think people are really going to love the aesthetic of this film, not to mention the message. Wonderful!
All in all, it was another great year with the Film Festival, and yep, I know I’ll be back next year!