As I mentioned in a previous posting on this blog, I was promoting a screening for Joshua Oppenheimer's extraordinary The Act Of Killing. I saw the film last July and knew the moment I saw it that this was going to be one of those that lasted a long time, and a few months back I sent a letter, really on a whim, to Dogwoof, hoping to get the film screened in some shape or form. A few days passed and I thought "what the hey, at least I tried," and I couple of days later, while sifting through the pile of spam e-mail that I have piled up because I'm a stubborn git and find the prospect of spending time to delete my inbox beneath me, I found an email from a gent by the name of Patrick Hurley. Patrick was helpful in giving me the details to PopUp Cinema, a very handy and accessible booking website which Dogwoof themselves operate, wherein for a flat fee an individual, organisation etc. can book a licensed screening for the film. Having this knowledge, of course I jumped at the opportunity to do so.
So, fast forward to yesterday, and I'm setting up for the screening. The projector which I was using's VGA port was broken, but thankfully I was able to connect it to my Playstation via an HDMI port, and the sound, while by no means perfect, worked very well in terms of audibility and clarity. I was setting up the canvas on which the film was to be projected, tightening it out so that there would be no folds, when the thing came crashing down on the back of my head. Turns out that the hook that the canvas was to be screened on ended up coming out of the roof, so here I was left with nothing screen the movie on. It was a hot day to be indoors, and as such I end up spending much of it running around with my shirt off, sweating my bollocks off like Lucian Freud trying to get this thing set up. It was looking like I might have to nail the thing to the roof, but in some part of my brain I got the bright idea of using chains, and as such I improvised a pulley system on which to hang the canvas. I gave the movie a test run with lights off, and everything looked just swell, far better than I could have expected given the madness I had setting it up.
Doors opening at 6.30pm and the movie, which was meant to be begin at 8.00pm, ended up started at 8.30pm in order to accommodate my introduction and any potential latecomers. In all, four people ended up attending the screening (not including myself, incidentally). I've been talking a lot about this, and I'm sure some of you may see that is a disappointment, maybe you'll even find it funny that not many people showed up. Yes, I lost money and yes, less people turned up than I expected, but does that mean that I'm going tuck my tail between my legs? No, emphatically no. I did not have an Easy Rider moment, no "we blew it." I simply sat there with the rest of the audience, enraptured in a masterpiece.
You see, for my great pleasure was in the titular 'act of doing.' I used to be, but I'm no longer one of those people who talks about doing all these things and never follows through with them. Everybody talks, but how many actually walk? I'm satisfied in knowing the fact that I busted my hump to get this screening going and that it was not futile, not for nothing. Of course it would have been nice to have had more people show up to see this film or maybe even bring a bit more money in for The Warzone Collective, whose premises I used and to which all of intake from the night is going towards. However, I am not and have never been interested in profiteering, I have a job and live in relative comfort, so I have nothing to worry about. What I am interested is working with people who have a genuine passion, integrity and the strength of convictions to follow through with what they say they're going to do, because I'm past the stage in my life where talk for talks sake is regarded. I take comfort in knowing that however small my audience, if they are able to take anything away from Josh's film, I did something good. That is what I am interested in.
I would like to thank Joshua Oppenheimer, for his time, effort and dedication in bringing together The Act Of Killing. His personal support of this screening is also greatly appreciated. A thank you to Dogwoof is also in due order, specifically Patrick Hurley, whose patience regarding my genuine ignorance of film exhibition was very helpful. To the folks of The Warzone Collective, for letting me use their premises to put on this film.
This is by no means my riding off into the sunset, but rather an announcement of my intent to continue driving forward my advocacy of the arts and of my own. I have sent an email to Arrow Films, hoping that I can pursue a relationship with them, so you'll be hearing from me soon.
Don't count the chickens before they hatch!