Category Archives: Movies
There are still quite a few films I haven’t had a chance to see yet (Django Unchained, The Life of Pi, Ruby Sparks, The Master, Holy Motors, Zero Dark Thirty and Premium Rush, Men in Black III, The Bourne Legacy, Flight and more). But, from the ones I did see in theaters this year, here are my favorites, in no particular order.
Safety Not Guaranteed
Great cast, good writing, some genuinely funny moments and a fun premise that involves quirky romance and time travel. Loved it!
Based on a fascinating true story. Awesome film on every level.
I’m probably going to lose some points for saying this, but while I respect Wes Anderson’s work, I never really identified with his highly stylized films on any level beyond appreciating the visuals. This is the first film of his that I have deeply fallen in love with. An absolute joy to watch.
Some people say it is the best time travel movie they have ever seen. I wouldn’t go that far (for me, it’s still Back to the Future, Twelve Monkeys and the first two Terminator films). But, Looper is certainly a worthy addition to the genre.
The Cabin In The Woods
One of the best horror films I’ve seen in the last decade. Pays homage to all the staples of the genre, while simultaneously re-inventing it and playing with character stereotypes. Also, a great balance of humor with the scares, in a typical Joss Whedon fashion. One of the most fun experiences I had in a movie theater all year!
There is quite a bit of controversy and mixed reactions surrounding this film. I’m just as frustrated as most about all of the inconsistencies, unanswered questions and self-contradicting character motivations. However, if nothing else – I still feel that Prometheus is miles above the typical pedestrian Hollywood sci-fi crap that we see these days in terms of ideas, raising important questions and making the viewer think. Not a single other film that came out this year (that I know of) has generated as much heated discussion and speculation as Prometheus. I am genuinely curious to see where Ridley Scott will take this franchise next.
Sleepwalk With Me
A cute little indie flick about an aspiring stand-up comedian, his sleepwalking condition and his relationship with his girlfriend from the producers of This American Life. I liked it a lot.
All the technical hoopla about 48fps aside, I loved the hell out of this film. I know there are die-hard Lord of the Rings fans out there that didn’t feel The Hobbit was anywhere close to the LOTR movies, but it was not my experience. I greatly enjoyed traveling back to Middle Earth and being completely immersed in that world once again. The Hobbit delivered everything I expected from it and I can’t wait to see more.
Absolutely batshit crazy sci-fi space nazi extravaganza! Full of campy humor, great visual effects and also, amazingly – very poignant social and political commentary. A must see :)
James Bond is one of my all-time favorite characters. Not all James Bond films are great, but some are better than others. While Skyfall isn’t my favorite of the recent 007 films (Casino Royale still holds that spot), it is better than Quantum of Solace.
I admit, I was highly anticipating this film and it delivered on some levels, but looking back at it now, I feel a little bit underwhelmed by it despite the enormous amount of work and resources that clearly went into making it. Not a bad movie, by any means. Just not as mind-blowing or life-changing as I had hoped it would be.
An exciting pulp sci-fi/fantasy adventure. I think the critics and the majority of the audiences were way too harsh on it. I enjoyed it a lot.
In the summer of 2000, I got an opportunity to work as a grip on a 35mm low-budget indie horror film that was shot outside Colorado Springs, called Suicide Run. At the time, I was still a student at the University of Colorado in Boulder, studying film production. Shooting on location 3 weeks turned out to be an amazing experience. It was like a filmmaking bootcamp! I learned so much on that set, from technical know-how about various types of motion picture lighting and diffusion (assisting John, who owns GripWorks) to general workflow of an independent feature film production. I had a blast and met many awesome people, some of which I became good friends with and still keep in touch to this day.
Ashley Haglund, the director of Suicide Run recently uploaded the entire film to Vimeo, making it available for free streaming and download. While I admit – it’s just a cheesy slasher flick that looks like a bad 90-minute student film, Suicide Run was an incredibly fun learning experience for almost everyone involved (most of whom were, in fact, students). Having said that, there are some cool gore practical effects and a twist ending. If you have time to kill and have a love for B-horror movies, give it a watch!
I scanned some of the behind-the-scenes photos I took during production of SR (using an APS-C film camera – that’s before the digital days, folks)! I thought it might be fun to share them here.
Of course, I couldn’t resist putting my hands on the 35mm Arri camera:
There is a funny and terribly embarrassing story that involves myself, this cute little bunny rabbit, a mountain road and crashing the director’s car:
Last night, the 34th Annual Starz Denver International Film Festival kicked off at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House with the premiere of Drake Doremus’ new film Like Crazy.
I try to go and see at least a couple of films at SDIFF every year, but this was the first time I attended the red carpet opening night event. I liked the film a lot, which critics are calling a love story for the new generation. I’m not sure if I would go as far as to compare it to 500 Days of Summer, as it has a very different and slightly more melancholic vibe. However, it’s on-and-off relationship subject matter is familiar, and I definitely found the film very moving and engaging. Amazing work by the lead actors (Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones), which didn’t feel like acting at all.
Here are a few bad cellphone snapshots from the red carpet – forgive me for not bothering to bring a proper camera :)
Saturday was the final day of principal photography on Automaton (a sci-fi film project, which I recently blogged about). After we wrapped shooting, I asked Andrew (the AD), to take a snapshot of us, extras, in costumes. It became a running joke throughout the shoot about which of the extras will last through the end, as some people were dropping out since production began. For retro-futuristic humanoid robot servants, I think we’re looking pretty handsome!
I have to admit that as much I consider myself an avid film buff, I really haven’t kept up with the world of cinema recently; not nearly as much as I have in the past. This is partially due to my generally being busier and having less free time on my hands, but it’s also because not many of the mainstream films have really grabbed my attention lately. I finally watched The Slumdog Millionnaire last week, and while I thought it was a good film, well-acted and dynamically shot, all of the hype surrounding it puzzles me. I’ve felt the same way about most of the critically acclaimed films in recent years, such as Little Miss Sunshine, Juno, No Country for Old Men and Crash, which were okay, but evoked little more than a smile or a shrug from me after viewing. I just found it difficult to relate to any of them. Although, I must say that Slumdog is probably the best of that bunch.
Summers are the worst now. I remember not that many years ago, when I actually looked forward to seeing all the big “event” summer movies and had my imagination blown by Jurassic Park, Independence Day, Deep Impact, Contact, The Matrix and Gladiator. Well-made popcorn entertainment that, while not exactly the highest form of art, still managed to elevate itself above the rest by technical innovation, spectacle, and especially in case of Contact and The Matrix – even some seriously deep, thought-provoking ideas.
Now, all we seem to get is regurgitated, recycled, sterilized crap in the form of comic book adaptations, sequels and remakes. Maybe, if I was 12 years old, I would eat that garbage up and enjoy it. I doubt it, though. When I was 12, I was still geeking out on Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones, Star Wars and ET. I feel that there is nothing in recent summer movies that comes even close to these pop-culture classics. Everything nowdays is dumbed-down, watered down and the standards are lowered to cater to the lowest common denominator, which is apparently 12 year-olds with a distinct lack of brain cells and with extreme cases of ADD. Yes, I’m talking about all of you Michael Bay fans :)
This summer, however, I find myself more excited and geeking out than I have in years. Seems like this will be the return of my beloved genre of sci-fi to the big screen en-masse, starting with the new Star Trek film, which for me embodies everything a summer “event” movie should be: a fun, entertaining, well-paced and unpretentious escapist adventure. Not a pissing contest to see how much shit can blow up on the screen and how many vomit-inducing, quick-cut action scenes can be crammed into an agonizing two-and-a-half hour runtime [cough] Transformers [/cough].
I am definitely looking forward to Terminator: Salvation (which looks good and I hope it won’t disappoint), District 9 (the trailer for this one sneaked up out of nowewhere and looks intriguing), Sleep Dealer (Mexican cyber-punk sci-fi – hell yeah!) and Moon (everything I’ve heard about it so far is very promising; it seems almost in the Solaris/2001 category of great sci-fi cinema; I hope it will deliver).
And then, there are Angels and Demons, Land of the Lost, Inglorious Basterds, Public Enemies, Bruno and Year One. I’m not sure how many of these films I will actually be able to see in the theater, but they all look great. And later this year, we’ll get 2012 from the other guy who likes to destroy the world in various ways – Roland Emmerich; and [deep breath] Avatar, which may be the Holy Grail of hard sci-fi from the King of the World himself, Mr. James Cameron.
I’m excited. No, I don’t expect any of these films to change my life (except, perhaps Avatar), but I’m thrilled to be a part of the summer movie-going audience once again. It has been far too long since I had anything coming out of Hollywood to look forward to, and this is refreshing.
Last night I went to see Jan Saudek: Trapped By His Passions With No Hope For Rescue, a brand new documentary about the amazing Czech photographer Jan Saudek. Like many others in the audience, I was familiar with his work, but not so much with his life. This film has shed some light on Saudek’s fascinating, troubled, borderline perverse, grotesque, and yet strangely touching and beautiful life story, but of course – not nearly enough to truly understand the man. I doubt that would be possible for anyone. And, while the film left me with a bag of mixed emotions about Saudek’s personal demons, it reinforced my appreciation for him as an uncompromising and controversial artist.
It has been several years since the last time I’ve been to Starfest, so when the opportunity came up to attend this year’s sci-fi convention, I decided to jump on it. April has been an exceptionally busy month for me in terms of projects, activities, planning and organizing various tasks. I would have gladly taken Saturday off to unwind and relax. But then again, Starfest comes only once a year! So, I made the plunge and bought a pair of tickets for myself and Stephanie, who really didn’t need much convincing to come along. She was excited to attend her first sci-fi convention and was actually quite enthusiastic about the sheer awesome geekiness and grandeur of the event.
The most frustrating aspect of sci-fi conventions is also the same one which plagues all film festivals: it is simply impossible to see and experience everything in the program, because multiple events always overlap. You have to pick and choose your battles, but something cool is always bound to be missed. C’est la vie.
Stephanie and I got to the Mariott at DTC around 10am, walked to the registration desk and picked up our tickets and convention brochures. We looked at the schedule and made a tentative list of things we wanted to see. The crowds were already trickling in and we began to see many people in costumes, waving their magic wands and light sabers. Now, I am what you would call a passive science fiction fan. I love sci-fi, and I definitely geek out on many TV shows, books and films. When I was younger, I also used to love building scale models from kits and collect Star Wars toys on occasion. However, I’ve never really belonged to any fan clubs, or been the one to dress up in costumes, even though I get a huge kick out of seeing other people wearing them.
The first event we went to was Ed Kramer’s (ILM technical advisor on all three recent Star Wars films) presentation about the history of special effects and motion capture. We watched about 10 minutes of it before going upstairs to see a panel on the portrayal of the military in science fiction, led by authors Mario Acevedo and Dayton Ward, and moderated by David Boop. I’ve never heard of any of these guys, but according to the convention brochure, Mario Acevedo has written such books as The Undead Kama Sutra, X-Rated Bloodsuckers and The Nymphos of Rocky Flats. Awesome titles, what can I say. We were only able to catch the last half of the panel, but it was definitely a stimulating discussion, and also something I’m interested in. The military sci-fi subgenre has always been one of my favorites (especially in great works such as Ender’s Game, Starship Troopers, Aliens, and TV series like Space: Above and Beyond and Battlestar Galactica). Unfortunately, the small panel room was full, so Stephanie and I stood by the doorway, from where it was very difficult to hear what people were saying. There was some discussion about the Star Wars prequels vs. originals, the issues of deep-space communication and military chain-of-command, among a few other things.
A man standing next to us was leaving, so he handed me a little red ticket. “What’s this?” I asked him, and he replied that they were going to do a raffle at the end of the discussion, for a small prize. I thanked him. So, when it was time for the raffle, much to my surprise, the number of my little red ticket came up! Amused, I walked up to the panel table, where Mario Acevedo presented me with a small red rubber duck, autographed. He said it is known to bring luck, but the luck could be either good or bad, so I should be careful. Stephanie and I were much amused.
We walked downstairs to the autograph line to check out the Adam Baldwin autograph signing. I gotta say, I love Adam Baldwin. Most people probably know him from the great but short-lived TV show called Firefly (masterminded by the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon) and its follow-up film, Serenity. But, he also appeared in a vast heap of other cool things including The X-Files, Independence Day, Full Metal Jacket and much, much more. We were going to see Adam at the Q&A at 3pm, but I wanted to get a few photos of him up-close, which I probably wouldn’t have gotten the chance to do later.
We had a little bit of downtime before the next event (Warner Brothers’ Get Smart presentation and Q&A with actors Masi Oka and Nate Torrence at noon), so we strolled down to the Dealers Room and did a lap around the tents and tables filled with a myriad of cool/geeky sci-fi things – action figures, t-shirts, buttons, toys, books, DVDs, posters, autographed photos, swords, costumes, and god knows what else. By chance, we came across a clearance bin with some crappy plastic toys, but miraculously, we found a pretty kick-ass Alien figurine for only $2 bucks. I don’t really buy toys anymore, but damnit – it was $2 bucks, I couldn’t just pass that up! Along with the toy, the vendor gave me a matchbox from the original Star Trek motion picture. Once again, I admitted to myself that I am, in fact, a geek.
After the Dealers Room, we stopped by to check out the Art Show. As always, there were some mediocre works, but there were also quite a few amazing pieces. I especially enjoyed the set of photos by Carl Chopp that used Denver city landmarks as backdrops for scenes from famous Hollywood science fiction films. It was hilarious and incredibly imaginative.
When Stephanie and I got to the Main Events stage, it was already packed. We couldn’t spot any empty seats, when a familiar face showed up in the crowd and gestured us to follow him. It was David Boop from the Military in Sci-Fi panel. He had two empty seats next to him, so Stephanie and I plopped ourselves down and thanked him. We introduced ourselves and David gave me his card. He was surprised to learn that my name was Vadim, because he happens to have a Russian character in one of his novels with the same name! But, he’s never actually met anyone named that, until now. Small world. Now, I’ll have to check out his book, as well! We talked for a couple of minutes, before the presentation started. They showed a clip with the airplane scene from Get Smart, which was hysterical. Steve Carell is awesome, and I definitely cannot wait to see this movie. When the video was over, Masi Oka and Nate Torrence came onto the stage for the Q&A. Besides having a part in Get Smart, Masi Oka, of course, plays Hiro Nakamura on Heroes. Both he and Nate Torrence were very animated and seemed happy to be there. They praised Steve Carell and talked about how much fun it was to work with him. Masi said that Steve was very down-to-earth and humble in real life. You’d think Steve would be funny and cracking jokes all the time, but it was strange to hear him talking about something mundane, like the real estate market. Masi also talked about his prior work at ILM before he got into acting. All in all, it was a fun presentation, but some of the questions asked by the audience members were downright idiotic. Unfortunately, this happens at many Q&As where fans finally get a chance to meet and interact with their celebrity heroes and all they can come up with is something like “So, uh, what’s your favorite color?”
The Speed Racer presentation followed, but Stephanie and I had to leave, since we wanted to check out the Zachary Quinto autograph signing. As we were leaving Main Events hall, David invited us to come to his Flying Pen Press Space Pirates discussion panel at 2pm and we said we’ll try. He seemed like a really nice guy.
We left Main Events hall walked down to the autograph line. Zachary Quinto showed up just as we got there. It was almost surreal to see Sylar (and future Spock!) up close, sitting just a few feet away, sporting a hipster hat and thick black-framed glasses. I snapped a few shots of him, before we moved on to the Atrium. I didn’t realize this, but now that I think about it – it’s kind of crazy how in the last several weeks I brushed shoulders with a large chunk of J.J. Abrams’ universe, first with Lost (Jeremy Davies and William Mapother), and now the new Star Trek film (Zachary Quinto). It definitely feels surreal.
After wandering around the Atrium and taking in all the sights and sounds (501st Storm Trooper battalion photo ops, Hollywood movie replica vehicles from Jurassic Park and Ghostbusters, various fan club tables and overall convention mayhem), hunger started to kick in and Stephanie and I decided to sit down at the café for some grub. The place was packed, and while we waited for our orders, I grabbed my camera and walked over to the other side of the Atrium to get some shots of the Intergalactic Belly Dancers performing in front of a dazzled crowd.
After lunch, we hit up the Model Room, where I was surprised to find the amazing talking B9 Robot. I would go as far as to say that this was the coolest thing I’ve seen so far at the convention (variations of this robot appeared in classics like Lost In Space and Forbidden Planet). You had to be there to appreciate it. Especially, his “impersonations” of other talking computers, like HAL 9000. The whole thing was just awesome.
I’ve always liked scale models of vehicles and creatures from famous sci-fi movies and TV shows, so checking out the Model Room was a lot of fun.
By then, it was almost 3 o’clock, and we started heading back to the Main Events hall for the Adam Baldwin Q&A. Unfortunately, as we got caught up in other Starfest activities, we never made it to David’s Space Pirates panel.
The Adam Baldwin Q&A was incredibly entertaining. He’s one funny and personable guy, and it was especially cool to find out that his brother lives in Boulder, and Adam has been there quite a few times and even climbed the third Flat Iron. He talked about his acting career, about Firefly and how it changed his life, about his bit in Independence Day, and how he would love to work with kids. Hopefully, we’ll see more of him in the future.
After the Baldwin Q&A, we wandered around the convention floor for a little while longer, got some freebie movie posters, took more photos and then walked back to the Main Events hall to see the last part of the Trailer Park and the following Q&A with Zachary Quinto. Zachary was very eloquent and seemed like a very intelligent actor. He talked in some detail about his career, the characters he plays, about Heroes and the much-anticipated J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek film (coming in May 2009). Zachary also spoke about his early struggles as an unknown actor in LA and his perseverence that ultimately paid off. It was all very inspiring.
We finally left the convention around 7pm with a tentative plan to have some downtime and then come back in time for the Costume Contest and Federation Ball. However, we were both so tired from the overwhelmingly packed day of activities, that we finally decided to just head back home. By choosing to see some events, we missed others, including seeing Nichelle Nichols (Uhura in the original Star Trek series), Cliff Simon (Stargate SG-1), Nana Visitor and Anne Lockhart. Like I said – you have to choose your battles. All in all, we had a great time.
Apparently, Summer Glau has been invited to Starfest 2009. I’ll definitely have to plan on attending that one, if only for that reason. Hey, I said I was a geek, didn’t I?
I just got back from the 2008 Vail Film Festival, where I did still photography and videography (with Michael Howard of Invisible Productions) of the various events that took place at the festival: Q&A sessions with actors and filmmakers, VIP parties and cocktail receptions, sponsor presentations, musical performances, filmmaker discussion panels, red carpet arrivals, awards ceremony, and much, much more. In many ways, I still feel a little bit shell-shocked from the vast array of activities and incredible experiences that were packed into the four-day weekend. I got to meet one of my favorite actors and to schmooze with other very cool people, some of whom I met last year; others were brand new faces. It all seems like a big blur now, full of excitement, mayhem, and surprising opportunities, and I loved every minute of it. Now, I have to sort through the 800+ photos I took in the last several days. The thought alone gives me shivers.
Meanwhile, here are a couple of things that made my day. No, scratch that – they made my YEAR!
Several months ago, my friend Michael, with whom I had previously worked on a couple of movie shoots, asked if I would be interested in coming up to Vail for the Vail Film Festival and shooting B-roll footage, filmmaker Q&A sessions, interviews and VIP parties. All my expenses and lodging would be paid for, and I would get to spend four days in a beautiful (and quite expensive) mountain town, doing the things I love the most – hanging out with friends, shooting videos, taking photos and watching movies. Of course, I said hell yes!
This turned out to be an even cooler experience than I thought it would be. In addition to getting all kinds of swag, I got a chance to work deep behind the scenes of a film festival, meeting all kinds of interesting people and re-uniting with others that I haven’t seen in years. It was a blast. I forgot how much I enjoy doing this kind of stuff.
There was a period in my life a few years back, when I worked on a lot of film and corporate video shoots as a grip and production assistant. I enjoyed it for a while, but then it became tedious and exhausting – extremely long hours, physically demanding labor (carrying and setting up heavy equipment, constant commotion and mayhem that is typically present on movie shoots), but most importantly – I was basically a gopher, running around and carrying out the wishes of the creative people in charge. After a couple of years of this, I told myself that it just wasn’t worth doing anymore – working my butt off for other people, without having any kind of creative input. I studied filmmaking in college: cinematography, lighting, editing. I didn’t go to film school to become a miserable PA. So, I made myself a promise not to work on any more film or video shoots (even if they pay well), unless I was the one organizing them, or at least – working in a creative capacity, either as a camera operator or an editor. I figured, I already have a steady full-time job, I’m making a living, and if I’m going to do any kind of film/video work for others in my own free time, it better be a project that I will enjoy, otherwise there is no point in doing it. So, I spent the next several years working only on my own little projects, such as the on-going gig with the Russian Science, Art and Sports Center for Children and small photography projects on the side.
The Vail Film Festival was exactly the kind of opportunity I was looking for. It was a perfect mixture of fun and work. Michael and I had full-access passes; we were the official videographers for the festival. We were present at screenings, red carpet interview sessions, filmmaker panels, photo shoots, concerts and VIP parties. We were right there in the trenches, so to speak. It was incredible. I consider myself a pretty humble individual, so it was fascinating to find myself amidst the stable of high-profile people – celebrities, musicians, PR types and folks in the high eschelons of the publishing and entertainment industries. It was hectic at times, but it was also incredibly fun and exciting. A good balance for this type of work, I think.
I can’t possibly write in detail about every single thing that happened in those tightly-packed four days, but I can provide a quick and dirty recap. Thursday was spent settling in, unpacking gear, getting our passes, t-shirts, and being introduced to all the key people we would be working with. Best Life magazine, which was the main sponsor of the festival, had a VIP tent with food and drink bar and showcases from other sponsors – Subaru (yes! It made me proud to drive my Forester), Epson (sweet, I have an Epson photo printer), Smart Water, Izze (my favorite!!!), Stella Artois and a few more. We spent a lot of time in that tent, shooting their products and occasionally stuffing our faces with yummy snacks and drinks. Thursday night was the opening ceremony, screening of Snow Cake (great little film, by the way) and presentation of a Breakthrough Actor of the Year award to Hayden Panettiere (star of NBC’s show “Heroes”), who couldn’t attend the festival and instead sent her videotaped “thank you” message. After the screening, we crashed the opening night party and shot a little more footage there, but mostly just drank, talked to a couple of gorgeous women from Nashville (heh) and munched on chocolate-dipped strawberries.
On Friday, Michael and I walked around, got some scenic shots of the town, had lunch at the music lodge and then shot video footage and stills of the bands (well, solo artists, actually) invited to play at the festival all the way from LA, including Meiko and one of my personal favorites – Cary Brothers, who was featured on the soundtracks to Garden State and The Last Kiss, as well as TV shows like Scrubs and ER. All of them were super-nice, laid-back guys. When Cary Brothers was outside, getting a smoke, I took a moment to introduce myself and politely asked if I could take his photo. He said of course, so I quickly snapped a few shots. What a great guy, not to mention – a wonderful musician.
Later in the day, we crashed a filmmaker reception party, shot interviews with people like the film commissioner, screenplay award winner, a few other people I don’t even remember, and Haylar Garcia, the director of Do It For Johnny, the Colorado premiere of which we caught later that night. He was also present at the Q&A afterwards. Friendly and funny guy, he seemed really happy to be there. It made me smile when he said that he shot his entire movie with Canon MiniDV cameras like the GL-2, which is what I was using to shoot all my festival footage. So, all of you digital haters who think that a feature film shot on MiniDV won’t stand a chance of getting distribution or breaking into the industry, there is your proof. I won’t lie and say it looked great on the big screen (it is DV, after all), but for a film like this it worked just fine. Garcia has my respect; if you watch Do It For Johnny, you can see just how much persistence and stamina this guy has. He is the little indie guy that never gave up following his dream, and after much struggle, his efforts finally paid off. It was truly inspiring. I wish him all the luck in the future.
Saturday was our busiest day – shooting red carpet arrivals, interviews with Sophia Bush (star of CWs One Tree Hill and The Hitcher), Harold Ramis and a few other celebrities who showed up; the screening of Knocked Up followed by the Q&A with Harold Ramis; some other various b-roll footage. It was a hectic, but exciting day. Because Knocked Up hasn’t even been released yet, Universal sent two of their own security personnel to make sure that no pirate activity took place during the screening. These guys looked like the Secret Service – black suits, ties, walkie-talkies. They even had specialized night-vision scopes to observe the audience and spot anyone who would be stupid enough to bring a video camera into the theatre. Pretty fascinating stuff. One of the security guards turned out to be Russian – small world! We talked for a little bit, and he even let me play with his scope. Heh. Somehow, that sounded wrong.
Harold Ramis turned out to be just like I imagined him – really humble, laid-back, down-to-earth, yet hysterically funny. I’m a huge fan of Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day (come on, who isn’t??), and I liked pretty much everything else he has done since then, including the big Christmas episode of The Office. I couldn’t believe I was standing a mere four or five feet away, shooting an interview with him and snapping still shots. It was surreal. I remembered watching the various premiere coverages on E! and seeing celebrities on the red carpet and huge lines of photographers lined up in front of them, snapping shots, flashes firing everywhere, and the actors’ faces lit up and smiling into the cameras. This is exactly what it was like, except perhaps on a slightly smaller scale. And I was right in the middle of it all! Surreal, I tell you.
Then, there was a VIP party in a lodge at the top of the mountain, to which we had to take the gondola. At night, hovering over a mountain, white snow below us, it was spectacular. Everyone was at that party – actors, directors, musicians. I was a bit lost and disoriented, so I just drank one beer and got tipsy. It must have been the altitude.
We got home around 3am, then we had to wake up at 6 and quickly edit some highlights from the footage we shot in the previous days, so that it could be mailed out to Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition and a bunch of other places that might run it (you know, the quick :30 second snippets like “–and in other entertainment news, this weekend at the Vail Film Festival in beautiful Colorado–”… Blah, blah, blah.
Amazingly, we finished everything on time, had yummy brunch and wrapped everything up. Then, I drove Michael to the airport and headed home. Semi-delirious and exhausted, but happy as hell. It felt bittersweet to leave all of the people I’ve met behind, a feeling that anyone who’s ever worked on a movie shoot knows very well. On any kind of shoot, you work with many people so closely and spend so much time together, they all become almost like a big family. And it’s always a little bit sad to leave in the end. But, I was really glad to come back home and finally get a chance to relax and unwind. And The Apples In Stereo concert at the Bluebird that night certainly helped, as well!