This morning Dave McKean and I saw Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza's remarkable documentary "The Aristocrats". It seems, on the face of it, rather unlikely that a film in which a hundred comedians talk about and tell a particularly obscene joke, of the kind that comedians tell other comedians rather than the public, could be a really beautiful meditation on art and personal style and individual magic and what it means to be human, of boundaries and what it means to cross them, but that's what Paul and his editor have made out of the hundred hours of footage they taped. It was astonishing, and Dave and I walked out of the screening just happy. I think it just edges out "Kung Fu Hustle" as my favourite film of the festival so far.
Then more interviews. This evening a few of us went to see Hal Hartley's "The Girl From Monday" which may have been good, but I can't tell you, as the whole lack-of-sleep-and-sitting-in-a-warm-dark-place thing caught up with me, and I dozed through it, a bit guiltily.
Friday night is the MirrorMask premiere, in the Eccles Theatre. If you're at Sundance and you want to see it, judging from the other premieres at the Eccles, I think you'll be fine: just do the wait list thing. It's a huge cinema and neither "The Jacket" or "The Girl From Monday" were actually full. (I suspect the same will be true of Saturday in the Library, but I might be wrong.) Dave and I will be answering questions afterwards.
Incidentally, I'm trying to organise (well, I'm not actually doing the organising) the promised signings in the Philippines and Singapore before or after the Melbourne convention and Australian book signings this summer. The signing in the Philippines looks like it's happening, but I'm not sure about the Singapore one, as originally I was going be brought in with Dave McKean by the British Council, a plan that was scuppered by MirrorMask, and now I'm not really sure who to talk to. (If anyone in Singapore has any bright ideas, feel free to let me know.)
I know I ought to write something about the two Salt Lake City screenings last night, but I think I'm too tired, so here's something that came in from someone in the audience:
I just saw Mirrormask here in Salt Lake City at the Sundance festival. It was an amazing movie and I would recomend it to everyone. I wanted to say something about Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. This was the third showing of the film and it was in Salt Lake City rather than Park City. This means that the two of them had to drive about 30 minutes down the mountain on I-80 in order to have a question and answer session with the audience at the screening. In my experience as a long time resident of Salt Lake many filmmakers only really put in 100% effort for the premiere and then they are more concerned with the parties or networking and deal making. By the final showing of a film you are sometimes lucky to get an unknown supporting actor to show up at the screening. Neil and Dave were different. Besides the effort they had to make to get to the screening they were also very entertaining. They did not give lukewarm canned answers to audience questions. Instead they were funny and informative. They would frequently elaborate upon a short answer and turn it into an amusing story concerning the process of making the film. Finally, after the official Q&A session they were willing to stick around for some informal one on one time with the fans. I even managed to get Neil to sign a couple of books for a friend that was unable to make the screening (I was the guy in the wheelchair with the half a dozen annoying questions concerning the state of various projects). Even though I am sure he has done this tens of thousands of times Neil was warm and gracious while he was signing the books. He made eye contact, small talk and put you at ease. Tickets to Sundance films are incredibly hard to get even for locals. The personal treatment and the effort and respect that Neil and Dave showed to the audience made the two hours plus of waiting in line outside the theater in the cold with just the hope of possibly, maybe there being a small chance you might be able to get a wait list ticket entirely worth it. I did put a mini-review of my first impressions of Mirrormask on my blog at http://wessel12.blogspot.com/ I have only been doing this (blogging) for a couple of weeks but the half a dozen or so friends who actually bother to read it will know that I thoroughly enjoyed Mirrormask and highly recomend it.
and here's another, from the wonderful Olga: http://www.fabulist.org/archives/2005/01/_mirrormask_pre.html
and I was just sent a link to an Ain't It Cool News review: http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=19254
and I think I'm going to skip the 150 e-mails, and hope there aren't too many emergencies waiting, which will mean 300 to try and deal with at some point tomorrow, I suppose. Good night.