san miguel adventure fun time part three of six-
festival de cine
The major take-aways:
talk to strangers sometimes
if you still have your hearing, always keep earplugs handy
a good thunderstorm should never be ignored
Onto the film festival!
The Guanajuato International Film Festival –GIFF is essentially three film festivals happening back to back in three different locations in Guanajuato. Films are shown first in Leon, then San Miguel De Allende and finally Irapuato. Theoretically, we could have driven out and seen our film in the three different locations, but that would have been, shall we say, over-doing it.
In San Miguel, our film was showing on a Monday evening in this building that had a few lives before becoming a cultural center named after a fellow with the nickname “El Nigromante.”
As a writer, poet, journalist, lawyer, and politician Juan Ignacio Paulino Ramírez Calzada was an important voice in the shaping of Mexico in the 1800s. But some how I’m hung up on the fact that he could easily have been called Nacho the Necromancer.
Admission was free. There were no tickets to get in the theater. You just had to line up and hope there was a seat available. Even for our own showing we had to get in line to secure seats.
Our little short film played in a block with several others that were all quite strong pieces. It felt well curated. Showing along with the film that actually won in the Best Mexican Short category felt like a nice nod from somebody.
So then it’s Monday night.
There’s a official film festival party mere spitting distance from the cultural center at some bar (the Duke). Hugo and I went over the check it out. Gotta network somehow.
There was a wall of bouncers at the entrance who would not let us in even a minute before the start of the event. Wristband and lanyards notwithstanding.
When we finally got to peek in through the milling bodies at the entrance, there was a cluster of press, a logo wall, and folks dressed like this was a high end fashion parade.
There was no way we would even really get into the place without disrupting some important uppity-shmuck.
Instead we went out to have a drink at a dive bar with some other film makers we just met. They were also out on the sidewalk equally under-dressed and wondering what was supposed to be happening.
We had a lovely time chatting. My brain DELIGHTED in the way they fell in and out of Spanish and English and I could still follow most of what they were talking about.
By the time we got back to the party it was well down-graded from ‘fancy.’ The press had packed up and were long gone. Everyone was so drunk they didn’t care what your societal status was.
With the immediate sensorial onslaught, we lost track of the people we had just been hanging out with. We took a turn around the place looking for familiar faces. There were two floors of nonsense to search. The second floor was a deafening dance party.
Hugo convinced me to go back up and have another look around there, but we were held up by the night’s live entertainment:
Freaking fire dancers.
I could not believe open flames were allowed in that crowded space.
The energy was exuberant in an unhinged way. Many were in the abandon of drunkenness and were randomly throwing themselves into dance. You had to forcefully plow through to get anywhere.
I remember seeing a group of imposing drag queens- a shade of queens glittering in one corner. I did not have to plow through them. They were not in the way and behaving foolishly.
I would not have lasted a moment in that space without earplugs. Not only was the music rather ‘basic af,’ it was infernally loud.
Nothing about the situation was making me feel happy. The music and people’s drunken vibes only made me feel like I would just start screaming nonsense things and eventually become violent. So I tried to be still and film stuff. This is all part of a film festival right? Is that not appropriate? What do I know?
We did manage to find and say good night to a couple of people and then get the heck out of there.
That was enough industry partying for me.
Through the first three days of the week, Hugo and I got to see just about all the short films that we were in competition with. Ours was the only animation shown and people took notice notice! And like it! That’s a confidence boost when you are in unfamiliar film world territory.
We saw a couple of famous faces in person even! At least Hugo knew who they were.
During one of the film showings we attended, a thunderstorm almost completely distracted me. I don’t get to experience many thunderstorms where I currently live. I had this quiet desire to get out of the theater. I wanted to go out where the lightening could find me. Not the rain, but the lightening. Perhaps I just needed some fresh air. The theater was stuffy. And it had been a while since I experienced thunderstorm. I don’t take them for granted.
Would you have gone to that party?
Are you a thunderstorm person?