Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Edinburgh Film Festival 2009

The Annual Apology

First of all, the annual apology for the huge rush job on the last four days of last year's blog, but -hey!- at least I finished it this year. Sort of, anyway. I promise I will go back and fill in the quotes at some point, but I left my notebook in London so I can't remember any of them right now. I also don't have my records for how many films I saw in the end, but I've a feeling it was around 42. Again, I'll check when I get back to London.

The Story So Far

Anyway, I've been here since Sunday evening and apart from being an Annual Special Guest on Duncan's team at the monthly FilmHouse Film Quiz (we won and I'll treasure my...er...Corona t-shirt with pride), I've hardly spoken to anyone so far, largely because I spent all day yesterday holed up in the Starbucks on Lothian Road, mainlining coffee and frantically trying to get two week's worth of reviews done (plus reviews of the Edinburgh films I've already seen) before the Festival kicks off on Wednesday. I managed 8 out of 15 reviews and will hopefully be doing the other 7 tonight.

A Few Random Thoughts

1) As is tradition, I spent the four and a half hour train journey going through the programme (the first time I've really looked at it, apart from a cursory glance at the launch) and sorting out my screening schedule. I've highlighted a list of 52 films I really want to see (weirdly, the exact same number as last year) so that's the goal for this year: 52 films in 13 days.

2) I'm staying at the Budget Backpackers hostel again this year and am already the target of karmic revenge. After tormenting fellow journalist and unfortunate dorm-mate Saxon Bullock with my snoring last year, I'm sharing a dorm with other snorers. Still, despite being jolted awake every couple of hours or so, at least I don't feel as guilty that I'm keeping everyone awake. (f you're reading this, foxy Swedish girls from last year, I am once again very sorry indeed).

3) I'm cutting and pasting this from last year, but once again, what the bloody hell is the point of making a big deal about your "Free Wi-Fi" if you're going to block all the FUCKING power outlets? The FilmHouse and the Cameo, I am looking at YOU. Grrr. Actually, there might be a glimmer of hope at the Cameo, as I spotted a load of unblocked power outlets behind a sofa this morning, but further investigation is required. As for the FilmHouse, I remember someone telling me last year that the manager was a tight git and that I shouldn't let him catch me using the power outlets, but that no-one else cared. Just my luck then that the bastard caught me on my first day. I shall have to use stealth in future, although I can foresee several run-ins before the Festival ends. All this means I'm in a weird situation – I've found two quiet places with sockets but no Wi-Fi (Starbucks, the new Nando's near Cineworld) and two places with Wi-Fi but no sockets. There is always the Delegate Centre, I suppose, but it's impossible to get any work done there because you're constantly bumping into people you haven't seen since last year. So the Holy Grail of Free Wi-Fi and available sockets remains unfound. All suggestions gratefully received, etc.

4) No word yet on whether the system for requesting public screening tickets is the same as last year (see last year's blog ( + link)), but I suspect it is. Fingers crossed, anyway.

5) Breaking news on the Videotheque front! Only just found out that the rubbish DVD players have all been replaced by brand spanking new digital system, which means no stressing that someone else is watching the film you want to watch. Also means they'll actually do overnight loans of check discs, which is unheard of.

6) Like last year, I'll be doing a review per day for ViewLondon's sister site ViewEdinburgh.co.uk, but I'll also be posting links to them here, along with potted reviews of basically everything I see while I'm up here. Aiming to manage more than seven days of blogging this year but, well, I say that every year. Still, hope springs eternal and all that.

7) And finally, the same bit of pedantry as last year. In previous years, I've called the first day of press screenings "Day One", but that's confusing when the festival actually starts a day later. Last year, I called the first day of screenings "Day Zero" and no-one died, so I'm doing the same again this year. Next year I won't even bother mentioning it. (Though I should also acknowledge, again, that yes, I stole the idea from the Empire Cannnes blogs).

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