Hello, everyone! My name is Gerald Jackson, Jr., and I am a Florida based filmmaker making the rounds at the 2008 Jacksonville Film Festival. Since film is my passion, JaxCAL.org and I have united to give you all the insight on what is going on this year. Thanks to all the wonderful people at JaxCAL.org and the JACKSONVILLE FILM FESTIVAL for making all of this possible.
May, 16, 2008.
First, allow me to say how much downtown Jacksonville parking enrages me. Although I consider myself a very “up to the minute” person, having to drive around for 30 minutes to find a freakin’ place to park really gets my goat! Because our progressive city’s lacks parking, I was 10 minutes to late to my first screening! I felt the dire need to pop some Dayquil.
(Brazil, 2006; Dir: Diego de la Texera)
Allow me to state that I love foreign films. After teaching college for two years, the biggest complaint I have heard is how hard it is to read subtitles and watch the film. Believe me, it’s difficult at first, but after a while you get used to it.
After researching this film, I learned that it is from our vibrant neighbor south of the equator– Brazil! If you know anything about Brazilian culture, then you know that they are very….open…about their sexuality. Of course, I expected the same here. Boy, was I right! In the first thirty minutes, I saw more breasts than a box of Popeye’s chicken! Also, there were many “love” scenes. Probably the most disturbing was seeing an older gentleman “make love” with a woman from the…uh…..Leave it to your imagination. I felt the need to pop some more Dayquil.
Overall, I found the film to be very interesting. Since I missed the film’s opening, I was a bit confused regarding the film’s genre and plot. From my understanding, it focuses on a commune that lives in the desert that has a very vibrant view of sexuality. They eventually learn to live together with few rules, away from main civilization. It was very colorful, although the constant usage of dissolves helped to skew my understanding of the film’s narrative at times.
I have to commend the Film Festival on how they present the opportunity for people like myself to meet the director. I met Diego de la Texera. He is actually on his way to Cannes, but made a pit stop in good ol’ Northeast Florida. From him, I learned that the budget was close to two million, the film took around eleven weeks to film, and his next film will deal with a Puerto Rican/Venezuelan soldier learning about his roots.
I was curious how nervous Mr. Texera was that American audiences might not understand Brazil’s take on the “birds and the bees.” Diego responded that he was not only surprised, but he was very pleased. In our Bible belt city, the audience reacted well during the areas he was hoping. I guess in the process, not so many cultural differences were lost.
While leaving, I had a huge shock! I bumped into a Florida State Film School alum! Dennis Huack is a 2003 graduate living the big life in Los Angeles. I’ve had the pleasure of working with him on many FSU Film School productions. He wrote and directed a short titled “Al’s Beef.” It was a western short being shown at FUEL COFFEE HOUSE. It was nice to see a fellow alum doing great things and traveling the country. The film starred Dean Stockwell of ‘Quantum Leap’ fame. The film won at the Cape Fear Film Festival, and after playing the Tallahassee and Jacksonville Film festivals, it will make its premiere in Hoboken, NJ. Good luck Dennis!
I never took my Dayquil, and right now I don’t feel well at all. Regardless, this hearty reporter went down to the Jacksonville Landing to participate in the most important part of filmmaking. NETWORKING! The Film Festival threw an after party with large amounts of Latin salsa and jazz. It was not hard to spot filmmakers, since most had their ID’s around their necks. I noticed a few of the directors debating intensely. I wonder if they are arguing about film stocks or lighting designs.
My friends Allison and Celeste came up and joined me for the fun evening. The weather was awesome, and the Landing courtyard was “off the chain.” I danced, talked to other filmmakers, and met with Jesse Rodriguez, the Festival’s Programming Director. He had a huge undertaking this year by heading the Film Fest, but he seems to be doing it cool and collectively. I really like how he’s aggressively promoting bringing international cinema to Jacksonville. Huge kudos to Mr. Rodriguez!
So ends a wonderful evening….OR SO I THOUGHT! As we walked to our respective cars so that I may go home and fight this cold, Allison received a horrible surprise. HER CAR GOT BROKEN INTO! Lovely. Just lovely. We had to wait over an hour for everything to be processed by the JSO. If I may offer a suggestion, could more foot and bike patrols be put downtown when major functions are going to be held there? Is this a result of Peyton’s budget cuts? Needless to say, this was a major inconvenience. Situations like these need to be really taken into consideration, especially when we get a lot of out of town visitors.
Signing off on PART 1 of GERALD’S ADVENTURES AT THE JACKSONVILLE FILM FESTIVAL! You’ll hear from me soon!