Monday, June 06, 2005

Raftman's Razor, and being proud of your friends

For me, one of the big highlights at the Seattle International Film Festival was a shorts program called "Accidentally Growing Up"... specifically one short called The Raftman's Razor ( There were probably a couple dozen people in the theater that specifically hooted and hollered when the film started. You see, Raftman has some local connections (for instance, one person in the audience yelled out, "That's my brother!" as the closing credits rolled). For me, the pleasure was that my good pal Joel Haskard from college wrote the screenplay, and his cohort Keith Bearden (whom I also knew in college) directed it.

Knowing the people involved behind-the-scenes of any film, whether it be a short or feature or documentary or whatever, totally changes your perception and enjoyment of a film (hopefully for the better). Have you ever had a screenwriter or filmmaker friend who has all the passion and the drive, but maybe not quite the talent? Making anything creative is tough, and I can vouch for that. Writing about other people's creative work (movies) is a heck of a lot less intimidating than creating your own.

There is a scene in Raftman that had my friends' personalities written all over it, and it made me giggle and clap my hands. The short film is about two teenage boys that are obsessed with a serial comic called The Raftman's Razor. The storyline of the comic is this: A man in a suit sits drifting at sea in an inflatable raft, and at one point he gives himself a shave with a straightrazor and a cup of shaving cream that is the only other thing on the raft. While doing this, you see a voice bubble, with a single quote... something profound like, "A life not lived is a life not worth living." (or along those lines--sorry to make up a quote, guys)... and for the next 30 pages, NOTHING HAPPENS. He just drifts in his raft. The boys get the latest issue, and there is some new clue about the Raftman... something is going to happen! In triumph, the boys jump up and down, doing handstands, and playing air guitar solos in a victory gesture. Just like something Joel and Keith would do.

A small movie like Raftman reminded me of why I love movies. There were a dozen or so people in the audience that were directly involved in the making of this short film, and another dozen or so friends that were there in support of the movie. There was this ripple of electric excitement in the air. After all that work, it was in a film festival! People unrelated to the movie liked it and applauded! Really, how fun is that? Most filmmakers, like most artists, have day jobs like the rest of us... but to see a labor of love, of passion, make it from idea to screen to film festival is just about the coolest thing ever, and it was totally fun to be a part of it... If only so I could run home, call my old friend Joel, and say, "HEY!!! I saw your movie at SIFF! Wahoo!!!!" :)

EXCITING FOLLOW-UP: So when I finally got to talk to Joel on the phone, praising him about his coolness, he was kind of shellshocked. He had just found out more info about the NEXT festival the movie will be screening at: The Nantucket Film Festival. Apparently Nantucket is screenwriter-centric, so he and his pal Keith will get a short film screenwriting award presented by... STEVE MARTIN!!!! If that wasn't enough, the fest then offhand told them when their short film would screen. A choice spot is to screen before a feature film, because more people see it than during a screening with only a collection of shorts (like I saw it). So, yes, their movie will screen before a feature. Yay! Which one? Jim Jarmusch's "Broken Flowers" (starring Bill Murray), which just won an award at Cannes, and happens to be Nantucket's OPENING NIGHT FILM. Oh. My. God. How COOL is THAT????


1 comment:

Linda said...

The SIFF awards were just announced, and Raftman's Razor won two awards:

Grand Jury Prize, Best Animated Short: The Raftman’s Razor, directed by Keith Bearden (US)

Golden Space Needle Award for Best Short: The Raftman’s Razor (USA) directed by Keith Bearden (winner receives fabulous Power Mac G5 courtesy of IrisInk and Seattle Mac Store).