The big screen makes it better

2009-07-31 13:11
I was sitting at my desk last Wednesday, when I thought, "You know what? I'm going to Durban." Not next month, not next week, but this weekend. A few clicks and a couple of grand off my rolling credit later, I was unwittingly on my way to the Durban International Film Festival, which just happened to be launching on the same weekend.

Wow! Life is beautiful. But not in the way you expect.

You see, although I intended to spend most of my time in the warm, warm sea, it was SUDDENLY winter there (you can't plan a holiday, you can only book it) and so instead of lolling around in subtropical paradise for three days, I only bodyboarded twice (in a wetsuit).

Instead of engaging in healthy outdoor pursuits, I spent most of my time at crazy parties learning about filmmakers, what they do, and what goes down in the bars at the after parties. Read about Durban Film Fest Babylon here.

It helped that I already knew a few filmmakers from my normal life, because a film festival, if you're invited into the inside of its partying, sexy underbelly, is something completely different to what we see when we buy a ticket, watch a movie, and go to dinner (I've always thought dinner and a movie was the wrong way round). We all have dreams, but filmmakers live theirs. I'll be upfront about the fact that I envy the glamour and stuff, but it's not all about that. And the so-called glamour can get tiring... We all love going out and going crazy once or twice a week, but imagine travelling the world trying to sell your film, taking it in the gut, face-to-face when people hate it?

It's not easy, even if the drinks are usually free, and partly because they are. Free alcohol is always much stronger.

I quickly realised that we all deal with the same basic problem when it comes to our jobs and our lives. The worst thing that you can ever hear (apart from "You're fired") is "You aren't good enough. Yet." I get that a lot, being an online journalist. Luckily, filmmakers – the good ones at least – make movies about exactly that feeling. Because they're human too. In fact, when I'm down, I head to my nearest cinema, buy myself some popcorn and a soda, and sit in the dark to think it through. In that situation, a serious movie is usually more comforting than any comedy. Watching comedy alone makes me feel even more lonely, most laughter being the mocking, carnivorous joy it is.

So get a visual guide to the Durban Film Fest (some of the films may show up in your local cinema or video store, too) or see what's up on the circuit in your town. And remember that sometimes when nobody's there for you, the big screen can make it better.

* Taken from a nursery rhyme my friend Kirsty taught me, which works pretty well on sulking kids: Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I think I'll go and eat worms. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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