The lights came up one last time. The curtains closed (yes, the Hollywood Theatre still has screen curtains), and people began to shamble about with melancholy grins on their faces. It’s always with a heavy heart but utter joy that the HP Lovecraft Film Festival comes to an end. Like so many such festivals, it is put together with love and passion. So much hard work goes into the festival that a small part of you is glad when it’s over, but the next day feels so empty. There were hugs and handshakes. Promises to stay in contact over the year. Plans to shoot Antediluvian horrors for the 12th annual festival. Final photos taken. I had really wanted to attend the traditional, though never sanctioned Lovecraft Drink Fest at the Moon and Sixpence. Alas, your friendly neighborhood Geek had nothing left to give. 3 days and about 6 total hours sleep took their toll.
As always, I had a wonderful time at the festival. I’ve been to many film festivals, but the Lovecraft festival always feels a little different. These aren’t people trying to cut huge signing deals and even those who want to make films as a career act differently. People who make these short films do so because they love the tales, they love to make audiences laugh, scream, and think. While we may all get swept up in our own individual projects, we are always willing to help out our fellow filmmakers. You just don’t find that kind of camaraderie in traditional film festivals.
As I sit here and think about the past three days I begin to reflect upon what I love about the film festival, and what I would try to do differently if I ran it. And, if I have such thoughts, I might as well put my money where my mouth is and lay those thoughts out. And don’t forget to check out Big Bad Brother ?D for his thoughts on the festival.
FIVE THINGS I LOVE
5 – The Hollywood Theatre. I can’t think of a better place to hold such a festival. One of the last classic venues left in this country, the Hollywood Theatre is a stunning building to behold. She has sweeping inclines, finely carved frescos, and pagan gods looking upon the streets below.
4 – The variety of entertainment. I know that it is called the Lovecraft FILM Festival, but I am a person who enjoys seeing musical acts and live performances. I enjoy seeing people express their passion for Lovecraft in different mediums. Keep it up.
3 – The merchants. Every time I go to the festival I wish I had a better job, a job that would allow me to buy every damn thing I see. This isn’t your cookie-cutter Hollywood swag. You can find the best T-shirts, props, books, music, anything.
2 – The people. I love Portland. I love all things weird and wonderful. You mix Portland with Lovecraft with horror fans. My friends, that is a recipe for good friggen times. From the festival organizers, to the filmmakers, to the speakers, to the attendees. You simply could not ask for better folks.
1 – The shorts. I know that I sound like a broken record, but the shorts make this festival. Limited budgets, limited equipment, unlimited passion, unlimited creativity. I never want to see these go away. There is even a small part of me that doesn’t want to too many well polished shorts being shown. I love seeing films made by a group of friends with a HandiCam.
FIVE THINGS I’D TRY
5 – Tickets. I know this may seem a little small. But, it’s the little things that can wear on you. The arm bands didn’t really work for me. I understand the reason behind them. Perhaps a hand stamp. One for each day or one for the weekend. Show your ticket, get stamped.
4 – Refreshments. The staff at the Hollywood do a bang-up job of keeping us cultists fed and hydrated, but they only (rightly so) carry theatre food. I wonder if an outside group could be tempted into setting up a food table. The festival runs late and apart from a couple bars, the food selection runs thin in the Hollywood district. Plus, the idea of Cthulhu theme food makes me giggle.
3 – Arrangement. I love the Hollywood. I understand it’s spatial limitations. However, I think a bit more time should be taken in designing display and flow space for the merchants. Also, it would be wonderful to have ticket checkers outside the screens and allow anyone (regardless of their ticket purchase) to wander the merchant tables. I’m sure the business’ would approve.
2 – Live acts. It has seemed that over the past few years the poor live acts get shoved in corners. Perhaps set aside some block time and let the live acts perform in a theatre and not the merchant hall as films are in progress. It disturbs the film and doesn’t give the performers the respect they deserve.
1 – Advertising. I know so many local people who don’t know of the festival. This festival is completely wonderful and I want everyone to know about it. Advertising should start earlier, perhaps June or July. Place early ads in horror / film magazines asking for submissions, merchants, and ticket sales. Lets bring in the people. The Lovecraft festival is already great fun, but lets make it an event!
I want to thank all the following wonderful merchants, filmmakers, and Lovecraft supporters for helping make this festival a weekend that I never forget…
(Please, anyone I forget to mention, drop me a line and I’ll fix it)