FFF Day 9 A Surprise Film and a Party

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# 1 Daughter in her Mask for the Revel 19 Bash

Today it’s Number One Son and Number One Daughter who accompany me to the FFF.  First stop–a mystery film at The Enzian.  

Inside the theatre, we run into Lev who is here to watch the surprise movie.  Lev is the creator, and sole artist, for the “Tales of Mere Existence” short films that have become a You Tube phenomenon.  I introduce Lev to Number One Son, who is a big fan.  They enjoy a few moments of creative banter before the lights dim for the unknown film about to start…  

“Exit Through the Gift Shop”  Chris Blanc, General Manager of the Enzian and the FFF, was at Sundance and discovered a remarkable documentary about street artist-modern art guru-and generally insane Thierry Guetta.  

The power of the FFF artistic judgement is evident as the theatre is packed, even though this was a “surprise film” and no one in the audience knew what film was going to be shown.  

The movie chronicles Thierry’s rise from a compulsive videographer, to a street art stalker and finally to a street artist himself (aka graffiti artist) who gains worldwide fame (and notoriety) with a huge art show in the abandoned CBS building in Southern California. Along the way, we encounter a number of notable street artists, including the elusive Banksy.  I have never heard of Banksy, but he is clearly a main player in this medium. He appears under a shadowed hood with distorted voice. Although he is only in the film for few minutes, he is highly advertised in the promos in an apparent attempt to create more buzz for the movie.  

Like watching a play, within a play within a play, seeing a documentary about street art, partially filmed by a compulsive videographer who then suddenly becomes the subject of the movie, is a fascinating dive into this world. Not only is it populated with exotic, often subversive, character, it can be quite lucrative. Some of Banksy’s artwork has sold for the high six figures.  

After the film, I try to track down Lev.  As one of the most original, creative short filmmakers, I think he would be the perfect person to give me a review of the film.  Instead, I run into Chris Billing, the filmmaker of my favorite FFF film of this year, “Lost Sparrow.”  I speak with Chris for about an hour and I will report on that in two separate blogs.  

When I finish speaking with Chris, We race into the Enzian for “Racing Dreams.”  This feature documentary won the audience award at the FFF this year.  The film chronicles three teenagers who participate in national kart races.  

It’s a fascinating look at a world that I never knew existed.  These races seem identical to their grown-up NASCAR counterparts, complete with corrals of campers, pit crews and the need for lots of money and sponsorship.  To make it in this sport, you have to attend around 40 races a year and it costs upwards of $5,000 per race.  It’s ironic to see these families living in small, often mobile, homes while pouring all their time, energy and resources into their children’s (or sometimes their) dreams of winning the national kart circuit.  

Although very interesting and competently made, this film was not in the same league as “Lost Sparrow.”  I wonder if the feel good, high energy of racing is why this film took the audience award while the shocking and painful subject of “Lost Sparrow” made it difficult for viewers to vote for it.  

But there is no time to dwell on that.  We have to find some masks and/or silly hats in preparation for tonight’s closing party–Revel 19, held at the backlot of Full Sail University.  

Number One Son, Number One Daughter and I head to Pier One where they have a nice collection of Mardi Gras masks.  The two of them buy very exquisite, hand painted Italian masks.  

I tell them the story of when I was 16 and went to a large youth rally that had a silly hat contest.  Upon arrival, I realized I had forgotten my hat.  There was nothing in my car but my first aid kit.  Inside was a roll of gauze tape.  I wrap the tape around my head and present it as my “hat”.  I wound up winning third place in the contest!  

I decide to reenact this childhood triumph.  We drop by Walgreens to pick up some gauze and red fingernail polish.  While we are there, Number One Son finds a small birdcage with a red sparrow that tweets and turns inside the cage.  It’s only $4.99 and he decides it will be the perfect complement to his mask.  He will wear it on the top of his head.  I think he’s crazy, but then again, I’m the one wrapping gauze around my head.  

We get to backlot at Full Sail–a university that specializes in filmmaking and other creative arts.  It’s the perfect venue for the party.  

Number One Daughter helps me wrap my head in gauze, then applies the red nail polish to resemble a wound.  When someone remarks about the hat, I just say in a very tired voice, “Man, I feel shot!”  

After enjoying the incredible food that is a staple at any Enzian party, it is not long before someone taps me on the shoulder to announce that I have been selected as one of the ten finalists for the silly hat contest.  I smile to myself, making a note to give Number One Son a lesson in how to win an  award for a silly hat contest!  

I make my way to the judges area, only to discover that Number One Son is already there.  Apparently, he is also one of the ten finalists.  Well, when I win I will explain to Number One Son why my hat was the more creative choice.  The judges on the stage gradually eliminate the contestants one at a time.  Now there are only four contestants left–and I am one of them.  

Three Silly Hat Finalists

Wait a minute, Number One Son has also not been eliminated!  The judges conferences get longer–they’re having a hard time deciding.  Finally, a decision is made.  I am dismissed as the fourth place winner.  I get dinner and a movie for two at the Enzian.  

The next silly hat is eliminated and Number One Son has made it to the final two.  The bird in the cage atop his head is chirping and twirling away.  After much debate, Number One Son takes home the second place award–dinner, a movie and $75 at the Enzian bar!  

The crowd is laughing and clapping and having a great time.  

In the meantime, I seek out Number One Son.  I want him to give me some tips on how win a silly hat contest!  

# 1 Son Wins an Unexpected Prize

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