Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Portland Film Fest - Arrival

So the plan was to write about the Portland Film Fest every night before I go to bed, but my classes are at 11am and I just got back from the opening night party... so things may be a day or two late.


Last year I had insomnia the night before I flew to Portland for the film fest and arrived a grumpy old man who just wanted to go to sleep... but it was opening night so I tried to stay awake during the opening night movie and then went to the opening night party and then, finally, crawled into bed with fewer than 8 hours before I had to get up for my morning class. Last year I also skipped all kinds of meals, one day having my first meal at a 9:30 showing of a movie... cinema pizza! This year I decided to do everything possible to get a good night’s sleep, and I managed just over 6 hours before I had to head to the airport... which was fine. Good even.

I flew into Portland and as I was getting off the plane, got a call from the guy who was supposed to pick me up. He had car trouble, and would be about an hour late. So I cooled my heels in the airport, next to a sign that said for $5 I could take a train downtown and it would only take 35 minutes. Of course, once downtown I wouldn’t know which hotel they were putting me in. I’d been in a different one both times I’ve done Portland before.

The fellow shows up in an awesome yellow Corvette and we zoom into town. He had left the paper with the answer to where I was staying in the car that broke down, so he had to call in... and the answer was the Mark Spenser where I had stayed the first time. The rooms is some sort of mini suite with a kitchenette and a little living room area. Nice. The kitchenette has a microwave and fridge, so I walked over to Target to get some microwave meals and some other food things I could bring with me during the day so that I wouldn’t have to wait until that 9:30 cinema pizza again.

Now it’s 6pm and I have no idea where Film Fest HQ is or where opening night is. I walk to where HQ was last year... and it’s not there. I remember seeing a program at the hotel’s front desk, and backtrack to the hotel and ask to take a look at it... and get both the HQ address and the location of opening night (Cinema 21, where it was year before last) and the time it starts... 6:30.

Now, I was thinking that it would start around 7:30. I was wrong.

I race to the HQ address, which is closed, and then race (on foot) to Cinema 21. The hotel is on 11th Street, Cinema 21 is on 21st Street, so that’s 10 blocks plus a few blocks over. I manage to make it in time, but I have not eaten and stupidly did not bring any of the stuff I had just bought with me. Oh, and I have no pass. At the front door, there are people checking passes. Opening night tends to sell out, and this is a local grown film... so lots of friends and family of the filmmaker. I”m screwed.

But one of the volunteers recognizes me from 2 years ago and she gives me a hug... I am sweaty as hell from speed walking across town and she probably wiped her hands off when I wasn’t looking. Yech. Why do people always hug me when I’m the most sweaty?

But I get in... and find the line for the snack bar... which is *huge*. I get in line, and hear that they have sold the last slice of pepperoni pizza. By the time I get to the front of the line, they have olive pizza... fine, and a large diet Dr. Pepper. $10 total (which isn’t bad for cinema pizza and a large drink). By now the cinema is full and I sit in the front row, extreme left seat. Hey, legroom! That legroom I didn’t get on the flight.

Lights go down and the movie begins...

More on this tomorrow.

- Bill

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