For reasons I’m still not sure of, press people were allowed into some LSIFF parties but only as civilians, not as, y’know, press people. Which was understandable. Totally. Most film fests set aside celebrity reserves, areas where star actors, directors, and best boy grips can hang loose and just be their beautiful, fabulous, smart, famous, gripping selves without fear of turning up in compromising positions in the next day’s newspaper. Why LSIFF had a similar protocol in place is understandable, but … there weren’t any bona fide celebrities there.
Not that I was complaining! As I always say, I wouldn’t pay a dime to watch Jesus wrestle Buddha on my neighbor’s lawn. I could care less about famous people. Anyway, at almost every party I went to, I had the same convo, a variation on, “Yeah, a lot of the movies were great, but the Lone Star people need to get some celebrities here.”
Now, I understand that not everyone is as blasse about celebs as I am. I also know that having celebs appear on panels after screenings is one of the best, most enlightening aspects of any film fest, and also that with A-listers like past LSIFF guests of honor Martin Sheen and Fort Worthians Bill Paxton and Janine Turner typically comes national press coverage and that with national press coverage comes more film submissions and with more films submissions comes better quality and so on.
But isn’t there always a third way? To everything? To any “problem” of sorts that needs solving? I think there is, and I think a third way for the LSIFF to maintain its stellar level of programming while getting more butts in the seats, as the old saying goes, is to focus on longevity, to acquiesce to the thought that the first years may be tough going but that perpetuating high-quality programming will attract attention. In other words, let the national press – and celebs -- come to you by doing what you do best.
ANYWAY, the parties. Briefly: Missed the one on opening night but made the happy-hour one the following night at V Lounge, Vault’s downstairs club. Funny, but the only faces I recognized were a couple of Star-T staffers who happened to be there. (Wonder what film fests’ policies are toward “celebrity journalists”?) And the crowd at the one on Friday night at the Longhorn Saloon in the Stockyards comprised mostly people I know from rock shows, which stands to reason, considering that three great bands were on the bill: The Lifters, Telegraph Canyon, and the Rivercrest Yacht Club. Also on Friday, a couple of storefronts down from the Longhorn at the partially opened Lola’s Stockyards Saloon, was an invite-only party, with Texas Music rocker Josh Davis onstage. Again, didn’t notice anyone famous or infamous there, but Davis was great, and the vibe was appropriately celebratory.