Snoopy Dancing Before the World Premiere

Anchorage International Film Festival Diary (part 2)

Cool movies and cool people: Andrew Thomas took footage Ralph J. Gleason shot nearly 40 years ago of Vince Guaraldi, shot a bunch of new interviews with jazz artists and cultural figures to make The Anatomy of Vince Guaraldi. It’s only showing once, so I trudge over to the Out North Theater (getting massively lost as usual) to watch it Saturday afternoon.

All I know about Vince Guaraldi is that he did the music for the Peanuts specials, so the movie is a treat — and includes lots of interesting material about Guaraldi, jazz in general, and the counterculture of the 60s and early 70s. The Q&A after is fascinating — Thomas lost his house and sunk the last of his money into making the movie.

Later, I get massively lost (again) heading over to the Bear Tooth, where I watch The Temptation of St. Tony, an Estonian art-house movie that has a lot of early buzz. The movie is a classic film festival selection — a surrealistic foreign film gorgeously shot in black and white and filled with plot details that don’t entirely make sense, but hint at some greater commentary about society. After the screening, I hand out MUSH postcards to the exiting crowd. St. Tony is a polarizing movie — half the crowd completely loves it and the other half hates it with a vengeance. Several people ask me to explain to them what happened and what it all means. Later, I chat with lead actor Taavi Eelmaa; he’s in Anchorage to represent the film — and is lighthearted, colorful, charming, and fun (pretty much the exact opposite of his movie).

After a while, I wander over to the Spenard Roadhouse after for an AIFF party. I’m tired, so I doubt I’ll stay long, but the cupcake caterers advise me on cupcake flavors to compliment my beer and then I keep meeting fascinating people. I talk with Andrew Thomas about his time at Rhino Records, meet a bunch of the crew from The Beekeepers (who always seem to travel in packs), talk to a bunch of staff people from the festival (who tell me the presales on MUSH are very good and ask if I can show up at 11 the next morning for a TV interview), and wind up staying much longer than I’d planned. As I’m leaving, I run into Shannyn Moore, who gave me an interview in March for my movie (and had me on her radio show on Friday). She’s surprised I didn’t cut her out of the film. (That surprises me; when I asked her for an interview I didn’t know what exactly she’d say, but I was sure it would be great and would help represent the importance of the Iditarod to Alaska and Alaskans.) We talk for a bit and I tell her the Scott White story — which might just be my favorite thing in the movie.

When I leave, my car is the only one left in the parking lot — so much for just dropping by the party briefly. I find my way back to the hotel and catch up with a bunch of filmmakers and festival people in the bar. I trade screeners with Chris Brown (who directed the much buzzed-about Fanny, Annie, and Danny), which I missed because it was showing at the same time as The Anatomy of Vince Guaraldi. (More to come…)

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