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We need to talk about Worcester FilmWars. 72 hours to make a short film, what? Wait – YES!
When I heard about Worcester Film Wars I got really excited – there’s always been a little part of me that wanted to do a fast and furious film festival entry. I’m the kind of person who likes to binge-do stuff – get the ducks sorted and then just, you know, plow though the project.* Stuff like the Choreofest that Carolyn Jepsen let us all peek into last month as she catalogued it in pictures, gets me weak in the knees. I love watching that kind of super fast collaborative thing, and I have loved the idea of being part of one even more. So when Grime announced that they were putting this together, I wanted in like whoa.**
Best thing about this filmy business? Working with people I love. Jenith Charpentier & I had worked on proof-of-concept film for Rabbit Heart all the way back in the beginning and it was a total treat, so I was absolutely stoked to work with her again on filmstuff. April Desmond & I have worked on a variety of projects from layout to raiding and enjoyed the process deeply – and, sister, her eye for the camera o! o! o! We rounded out our team with Will Dearest, who, you know, I like just a little bit,*** and April’s hubby, Ted, also wonderful, whom we didn’t even know would be available until a few days before – bonus! See what happened there? Four Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival judges and the producer – oh, hello, no doubt we’re making a poetryfilm.
What you’re looking at here are five Very Busy People – we started a Facebook message thread and then kinda forgot about things until the prop swap a week later, because, well, life. Teenagers, dogs, work, impending business trips, one impending wedding, groceries – alla that nosed in. Will had a doctor’s appointment on Friday morning to have some cardiac pictures taken and would be guaranteed loopy until at least noon, so we decided to start shooting on Friday at 2.
Jenith lent her poem, Alice’s Lament, already recorded and ready to go. She also brought some teenagers to the table, which was wonderful, as all the adults involved are all a little camera shy. At the last minute Our Man Cub walked in the door to round out our cast – whom we would have for roughly 2 hours.
A couple years ago I woke up with the startling realization that I’ve lived in Worcester, MA longer than I’ve lived in any other place. But as the saying goes, If the cat has kittens in the oven, you don’t call them biscuits. I’m not a native – I still get lost while driving here, I’m unclear on all the prideful fuss around that statue on the Common, I do a crap job of using wicked as a modifier,* and y’all is still my favorite pronoun.** I’m not entirely sure I know how to Worcester yet.
So anyway – with all that in mind, I started a blog project with the aim of not just understanding this city in which I live, but also maybe to fall in love with it a little bit, too: The 100 Delightful Things in Worcester project began in 2013 (2012?) And then, um… well, I kind of fell out of love with the project – stuff got in the way, and work got super busy, and I started Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival, and just, I dunno – I lost track of the whole thing around item 6.***
But now it’s back! As I’ve been working on R♥ it never fails – someone asks me if it wouldn’t be better throw this affair in Boston. And my hackles go up, because, you know, I live here – and also, you know, Worcester deserves nice things. And so, with the help of fantastic R♥ intern Audrey, the 100 Delightful project is up and running again, this time on film (because home movies are fun, y’all! Wicked fun, even).
We figured we’d start things off right with a quick Sunday afternoon trip to the venue for Rabbit Heart, Nick’s Bar & Restaurant, at 214 Millbury Street.
*Seriously – watch when it comes out of my mouth. Generally it’s followed by a blink and a blush. It gives me Feelings. Feelings like I’m doin’ it wrong.
**Shortly after I moved here I worked waiting tables. It never failed to amuse paying customers when I would ask, “Y’all all set?” after setting down the food.
***Seed to Stem – which has actually moved since the blog post. They’re over at Crompton Place now.
Mercy! Has it really been 17 days since Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival wrapped? It feels like it was just this last weekend, and I am still absolutely flying from it. We had a spectacular weekend celebrating poetry on film – you can see all the good stuff here (pictures) and here (the finalists) and here (all the films), if you weren’t able to make it, or if you want to relive it (highly recommended! Omg, so much good work!)
I feel like I came out of this year better than I went into it – it’s been a slammin’ year, y’all.* And I was about a week behind the whole time. And I got super ambitious halfway through when I realized we had a glut of Very Good Submissions, so I decided we needed a second day of showings, but hadn’t really thought about the work that entailed (oops). So what I’m saying is that, whoa – I’m kinda proud of myself for getting it together on time.
But more than that, I’m still awash in all the feels about the the festival itself. In a nutshell, even with a couple of late-presenting snafus, it went off beautifully, and I was thrilled with the shows. But more than that, I was thrilled with the connections that happened.
Friends came from across state and out of state. There were lots of hugs, and people got to reunite and to meet each other – some of them who had learned about each other just online. Makers met makers and talked about the things that makers talk about when you get them together. It was more than I could have hoped for.**
Looking down the barrel of the afterparty,*** I very much expected that when everything was put to bed this year, I would be exhausted. But instead I put it down feeling invigorated, inspired, and excited.
One of the things I do at festival is catch as much footage as I can of people talking about the festival. Mostly it’s because I love a souvenir (and also, it’s for grant apps), and there’s nothing nicer than a moving snapshot, hello. But also, it’s because I am a curious creature who’s generally engaged in some research, and primary sources are the best thing in the world for research purposes. So I asked questions – I asked about process, and about favorites, and about what it’s like to be a judge or a filmmaker, or an audience member. I asked What made you do this? I asked How does it feel on this side of the curtain? I asked What do you think about the short film format? I asked How did you pick your collaborators? And it turns out that I know some super smart people who have super smart answers, and I was bowled over, and humbled, and overjoyed to hear the answers.
September has come and hit me full in the face, and I sincerely cannot believe the shit I’ve gotten myself into. Where do I even start?
Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival is rolling along smoothly, at least. We’re coming up on the last little bit of judging this week, and then it’s on to let the finalists know that their films are moving on. Which is probably the most exciting part of this, outside of the actual festival dates – really, is there anything finer than handing out good news?
In the meanwhile, there are the details: tickets go on sale tomorrow, there’s a final judging party on Tuesday, the shows need to be curated and the program printed, posters need to be made, the trophies need to be constructed… And Sunday Rabbit Heart is the spotlight feature at the 7Hills Poetry reading with Angelique Palmer, so today and tomorrow are going to be a story of mad scrambling to put gear together. Next year we hire an intern, hello. #somanydetails
This is what research looks like for me:
Obsessive hunting down of information (which could take anywhere from hours to months), coupled with a bookmarks list in my Chrome account the length of my arm, coupled with a browser history that brings me the occasional deep and burning shame. And, frequently, an expression plastered on my face that’s somewher between “Oh! Oh, I Had No Idea…” and “What In the Actual Fuck?”
Consequently, my husband & I have an agreement that whoever goes first, the other one will erase their browser history and burn their journals, preferably before family arrives, optimally, before the medical examiner’s big grey van pulls up to the curb.
Because I am a curious fish, and I will Google, really, anything.
I mean, it’s one thing when I want to know about commencement speeches. It’s only mildly embarrassing to admit that sometime in the end of June I will inevitably find myself cleaning closets while sobbing as someone’s YouTube playlist runs on my laptop for three or four hours.*
It’s entirely another thing to not know, and then seach to find out what the terms “Destiel” and “Wincest” mean. And surely “knot” is just some Aussie slang for the common human penis? (Spoiler: nope. And you can thank me now that I’ve done the research so you don’t have to, because iw.)** For the record, I know now that the descriptor “slash” is not entirely synonymous with “fanfiction.”
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Remember that time when you wanted to do a Big Something, but you were scared shitless, and so you didn’t do it? And then for a really long time after, you sat around and said things like, “Man, I wish there were more poetry videos that weren’t just performance selfies. You could do so much more with the medium,” or, “Someone really should run a poetry film festival in this town. I bet some really amazing work could come out of that.” And your friends hung out with you while you said stuff like that, and they nodded their heads, knowing that, in spite of your idea being a really cool Big Something, you’d never actually get off your ass and make it happen, because you were afraid. Remember that?
Oh, yeh – that was me.