Apr. 30, 2005

Sprockets Gala

Last night was the first night of the Sprockets, the Toronto International Film Festival for Children. I worked the "Gala screening", which was Hakan Brakan & Josef, aka Max & Josef - Double Trouble. This Swedish film reminded me a lot of My Life As A Dog. Ten-year-old Max feels neglected as a result of the arrival a new baby sister, and resents his birthday present of a pet turtle (he wanted a dog). The turtle talks though, has plenty of attitude and gets Max into lots of trouble. It all works out in the end though (surprise). I enjoyed Max's imaginary scenes, like the "Kid Store" he thinks his parents might sell him to.

After the film the director took questions from children in the capacity crowd. We learned that Josef the digitised turtle had been cast as a hamster but it was too expensive for them to render all the hair. They could only afford seven minutes of screen time for Josef, although it seemed like a lot more. Also they had a lot of difficulty with Josef's voice until the actor was put in a set that matched the turtle's cage. Then they nailed it in one morning. It's a funny business.

I love "working" Sprockets, because everyone is so delighted to be involved. The kids of course love to be taken seriously and are wide-eyed and intense. The directors are disarmed by the attention because kid's films are generally not considered to be important.

I'm also looking forward to Raiders: The Adaptation. This is a recreation of the entire Raiders of the Lost Ark film by three boys in the eighties. They started when they were ten and needed seven years to finish their project. After one screening for friends and family it was buried for a decade. A few years ago it resurfaced, and has been given tacit approval by Spielberg. Screenings are very rare though.

More film watching: Chris and I saw The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy this afternoon with grandfather. We all enjoyed it, Chris especially. Although huge swatches of the book/radio play had to be discarded they kept the spirit of the original. It seemed well cast to me, with lots of inventive filming.

Listening to: Lucky Man by The Verve from Urban Hymns.

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