Friday, May 23, 2008
SIFF 2008 Opening Night
Although it's true that the title Battle in Seattle sounds like a monster truck rally (as noted by Andre Benjamin's character in the film), I have to admit, it surprised me. I went into this screening prepared to hate what I assumed would be a melodramatic, over-acted, heavy-handed piece on the WTO riots - but what I saw was actually pretty good.
Did I love it? No. But did I hate it? No, again. It's an easily digestible, multiple character story without much depth, but it does its job. I learned more about the WTO, the protestors, the political maneuvers and the aftermath than I ever knew, so that's something. Sure, some of the dialog was abysmal, but I thought Townsend did a good job his first time out, showing us all aspects of what was happening. In the end, what I got out of it was this: any one of those characters could be us. And what happened, and what continues to happen, affects everyone. So there you go.
Now, let's talk about the Gala party,AeP
Please don't misunderstand me when I say this, because I dearly love SIFF, and I always have. I know they're a Non-Profit, and as such don't have big money to throw out on these things, but let me just say: if I had a nickel for everyone I ran into last night who was severely pissed off about the replacement of open bars with cash ones, I'd be at least a couple hundred dollars richer this morning (Gillian said something in her post about it being a fundraiser, so maybe that's why? But, that's the first I'd heard of it).
For the 4 previous opening night parties I've been too, there's always been free-flowing Bombay Gin, Vodka, Champagne, Wine & Beer. Everyone tipped their bartenders generously, of course - the dance floor was always full, and by the end of the night, EVERYONE loved the movie. This year, after poking around a bit, my party-going companion and I found out there were three levels of wristbands:
VIP, which got you all the free booze you wanted + the good food, AKA: sushi from Nijo (keep In mind, the paying customers forked out $200 for this)
Faux-VIP, which got you 2 free drink tickets + the good food (not quite sure what the qualifications were for this one)
Regular Gala, which got you $5-$7 drinks, + a few food items like tiny sandwiches and some kind of crostini thing, and,AePa mysterious free champagne cocktail with peach and Dungeness crab (???), which no one was touching. (paying customers forked out $50 for this)
So, going back to my Non-Profit understanding - SIFF, I get it, I really do. However, it was probably not wise to go from EVERYTHING to NOTHING in the course of one year, without any type of warning. A "hey, we need to cut back this year so the bars will be cash" statement might have been nice. Or, how about easing those ticket buyers into the idea with at least a few free drinks? Last night's party was almost empty at 11pm - I have the pics to prove it.
Also, the irony of the upper crust being so segregated from the regular people didn't escape anyone. I suspect you'll being a see a lot of blogs addressing this same subject today!