A frustrating evening at the Melbourne International Film Festival on Monday as a strange confluence of wrongness occurs.
After all the delays, trailers, introductions, and big-ups to my homies, Dead On: The Life And Cinema Of George A. Romero hit what must be a new MIFF record, starting a full 45 minutes after the advertised time. Festival-goers planning to attend a nine o’clock screening had to choose whether to leave halfway through this film or arrive halfway through the next. It might have helped if they hadn’t decided to include an unlisted short film by Romero‘s daughter, Tina. Her short was hardly the worst thing ever, but it looked like the second-year film it is, and the audience response could best be described as “polite”. Surely if the film is both a) running late and b) longer than you have programmed for, adding short films is not the answer. (The film itself I would describe as “Brighton Grammar girls do Battleship Potemkin as a rock eisteddfod.” Do Americans have rock eisteddfods?). The documentary itself looked good, and I hope one day to see the end of it.
Over at Greater Union, the sensational Not Quite Hollywood was followed by some odd decision making when the microphones for the Q&A refused to work. The woman in charge decided to carry on anyway, getting inaudible questions from the audience so that the people at the front could say things no-one could hear. When the audience tried to tell her the microphones weren’t working she got indignant and shouted “I know that, I just need to get this started”. Um… what? I believe two of the participants were Brian Trenchard-Smith and the film’s director Mark Hartley, but sadly we didn’t get to hear the name of the third. Things seemed to be clearing up as we left, but after such an energising film it seemed a shame to end on a damp squib. Maybe next time they could take five minutes to fix the sound issues, THEN start the Q&A. A crazy idea… but it just might work!