Friday, June 13, 2008

WSFF 2008 #3: Half-Hearted at the Halfway Mark

If I were a Telus representative attending the WSFF, I think I’d be kind of peeved.

Today was the third day (not including opening night) of the festival, and Telus is a presenting sponsor – so their ads play before each screening and their logo is slapped on each audience-choice ballot, for starters – yet it seems that no one involved in the fest has bothered to find out what the Telus Mobile Experience is...yet they plug it every single day. Before every screening I’ve attended so far, I’ve heard the exact same half-hearted, confused “pitch” for this Mobile Experience from the person handling the introductory announcements (“Mobile Experience? I have no idea what that is, so somebody please check it out and tell me!”), and it’s starting to get old.

Shouldn’t someone have bothered to find out what this is by now? Given that Telus is obviously handing over a big chunk of change, and the faux-anti-establishment vibe that (intentionally or not) comes across during these pre-film announcements about their product seems more irritating than irreverent on the part of the fest?

I mean, it would take, what?, one quick phone call to someone in the marketing department at Telus? Could it have anything to do with this initiative, announced last year, which I found after three seconds of Googling? Come on. This shouldn’t be difficult. [Note: I am somewhat tempted to believe, or perhaps hope, that this "we don't know what this thing is!" schtick is actually an act, done on purpose to *drive* people to check it out for themselves...but I'm not 100% convinced this is the case. Or, if it is, that it's working.]


I only hit two screenings today, the first of which was largely forgettable. I didn’t really adore Official Selection 10: I Want to Be Adored, a collection of films related to fame, celebrity and entertainment. Honestly, none of them stood out to me, good or bad, and my mind started to wander at some point during each one. The only short that left any kind of impression was Zietek (5/8), a creepy Polish film about an old man who's spent his life carving life-sized pin-up models out of wood...which I thought was fiction but which (I learned afterward when I checked the program book) was a documentary. Um. Yipes.

Thankfully, my second screening of the day – Official Selection 12: Watch What You Eat -- was fantastic. Almost all the films in this collection were great, and the ones that weren’t amazing were still quite good.

I loved Le Grand Content (8/8), an Austrian look at society’s foibles as demonstrated through animated charts and graphs. You can watch the film on YouTube! Other highlights in this grouping were:

* Personal Spectator (6/8), Emmanuel Jespers’ tale of discovering self-worth through the eyes of another. (Note: let me go on the record now as saying that I expect actor Tom Harper to hit Hollywood hard in the future.)

* The Sweetest Sound (6/8), a darky twisted story about the perils of reconnecting with someone you dumped.

* The Frozen City (7/8), a documentary about Winnipeg, MB – the Slurpee Capital of the World. Seriously, these people lurrrrrrrve their frozen beverages!


* No Coke (7/8), a hilarious little Scottish film about a British tourist, a broken vending machine in Norway and an apathetic hotel clerk. So fun!

Tomorrow, one of my favorite programmes every year: the kids’ collection, Shorts for Shorties! This year’s set features three Shaun the Sheep entries. :-D

And STILL no Myrocia sightings. I am starting to have Roger Ebert at TIFF déjà vu...

Total films screened today: 17


Lou said...

Thanks for the link to Le Grand Content! As I watched, I saw yet another item that fits into my current concern for the arbitrariness of order in chaos.

Linda said...

a) If the presenters are mentioning Telus with ironic dismissal and aloofness before the films, they should be slapped. Having volunteered behind-the-scenes for film festivals, I know that sponsors should have their asses kissed, because otherwise there WOULD BE NO FESTIVAL. Ticket sales only make up a small part of the cost of putting one of these things on. I've actually reprimanded dorks in fest audiences who roll their eyes at the mention of Vulcan or Real Networks or Alaska Airlines before every SIFF screening. They really deserve the applause that is practically demanded at introductions at SIFF.

But then on the other side of the coin, if Telus is pouring what is probably several thousands dollars into sponsoring WSFF, they are fools to not take advantage and get their act together. If you want your word to reach the audience, you'd better clarify exactly what that word is!

Linda said...

Oh, my second para was supposed to be b). ;-)

Vickie said...

Oooh, "ironic dismissal"! That's an excellent way to describe it.