GUEST COLUMN: THRS Intern Brian Bolt talks William & Mary Global Film Festival

February 18th, 2013 at 8:03 am by under THRS Movie Reviews

Special to The Hampton Roads Show

By Brian Bolt

For a town known more for tricorner hats than directing caps, Williamsburg, Virginia recently enjoyed its fair share of moviemaking glitz and glamour.  This past weekend, the red carpet was rolled out for the sixth annual William and Mary Global Film Festival, an event surprisingly not lacking in celebrity.  The pint-sized star of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, Jared Gilman stopped by the historic Kimball Theater, as well as Helene Bergsholm, star of the 2011 Norwegian film Turn Me On, Dammit!  Pro skaters Tony Hawk and Mike McGill Skyped in a Q and A session about their film Bones Brigade, and Oscar-nominated director Behn Zeitlin Skyped an introduction for his widely acclaimed debut, Beasts of the Southern Wild.

However, it must be known that film festivals, like the giant, prehistoric swine Hushpuppy must contend with, are curious beasts, especially in a town like Williamsburg.  They attract local retirees who have a passion for film as well as college students with a passion for free booze (kidding, they’re cinephiles too).  This peculiar blend of generations is at first startling but somehow manages to result in glorious conversations about classic rock and obscure filmmakers from the 1940s.

Personally, though, I had the pleasure of working as an intern for the festival, performing such essential tasks as tearing tickets and dispensing wine to the festival big wigs.  Yet the most important lesson I learned was not that it is unhygienic to rip something with your teeth or impractical to use your hands to unscrew a wine cork.  No, the most important thing I learned was that kids are kids, no matter how many silver screens they’ve graced.

It took about a day and a half, but I finally mustered up the courage to stride up to Jared Gilman and say hello.  Actually, it was more like an awkward hover as other people spoke to him for a few minutes.  However, in those key seconds, I had the opportunity to plan out my greeting to the syllable.  It first struck me to use a Moonrise quote as a lead-in, but I quickly abandoned that as hackneyed, clichéd, and definitely something he’d see from a mile away.  Then I decided for a more formal approach.  Maybe something like “Prithee, good sir, have you enjoyed the marvelous films thus far?”  This idea melted away with a swift shake of the head, but, before I knew it, the conversation in front of me had ceased and the fifteen-year-old eyes behind the hipster glasses locked gazes with mine.

“How are you enjoying our fair city?” I spat out.

My world was crumbling around me.  This was far worse than my disastrous Newt Gingrich run-in where I chatted exclusively about meteorology.  This was someone from film, a medium I absolutely adore.  I had to fix it.

“I mean…there have been some cool movies, right?” I managed to sputter.

“Yeah,” he said with a nod.  “Some real cool ones.”

Despite my clumsy verbiage, Jared turned out to be a very down-to-earth guy with a friendly demeanor.  He and Helene were pros at taking a seemingly endless amount of pictures with fans (including me!) and they even took the time to talk to me about a movie I had submitted for the 24 Speed film-making contest.  It was absolutely the highlight of my adrenaline-packed weekend when Jared told me he enjoyed my hastily cobbled-together movie.  Even if it was just for a moment on Kimball’s silver screen, I had managed to capture the attention of a person who had captured the attention of millions of other people.

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