Friday, April 20, 2012

The Search for the Holy Grail

My wife, Terry, agreed to meet me at the Florida Film Festival to see the Animated Shorts. I got to the Enzian a little before Terry and ordered an Orange Blossom Pilsner. There wasn't anyone in the box office so I sat at a table and sipped my beer, watching people as they arrived. I waved hello to Kim Robinson from the Mennello Museum. She sat down at my table and began knitting the tiniest baby slipper I have ever seen. She had seen at least ten films already although she stopped keeping count. She essentially takes the week off and sees all the independent films she can. A line started forming for "Single Ticket Holders." I wondered out loud if there was a line for "Married Ticket Holders." Kim decided she had better stand in line so she could get a good seat.

Terry arrived and she checked with the box office. The Animated Shorts program was sold out. A woman in blue was at the head of the "Standby Line." We sat down in the second and third standby spots and waited. The group of people behind us all knew each other. Director Sari Gilman approached from the Eden Bar. She recognized these long lost friends and her face lit up. There were hugs and a quick flurry of conversation as they tried to catch up before the line started moving. Sari is a film maker from San Francisco. Her film "Kings Point" is about the need for companionship and the difficulties of growing old in America, of being alone. Terry and I looked at each other and our eyes grew large. Sari spends most of her time alone in a dark room cutting and editing scenes together. Between screenings of her documentary short, which is half an hour long, she hopes to promote the film. Promoting the finished product is difficult for any artist. The film is being screened one more time on April 21st at 1pm at the Regal Park Village. I will not have a chance to see it since I have class that day.

The line started moving and we made it into the Enzian Theater in Siberia at the back of the theater. An announcer asked someone from Lure Design to stand up. Lure was the sponsor of the Animated program. She then thanked Full Sail and asked Full Sail staff to stand. I remained seated. My favorite animated short was "Notes on Biology." With stop motion jitter, children entered a classroom, sitting at their desks. Notebooks are opened, some neat and tidy and some a mess. A student starts animating a wheel turning as the teacher drones on about Biology. The notes spark to life when he draws a robot elephant. I learned a new word, ectoecology, which is how an organism abopts to its environment. A Film Festival staple, Levni Yilnaz, entertained with his "Random Observations about Sex." Animator Bill Plimpton was in the audience and he had two shorts in the show, my favorite being "Summer Bummer".

After the screenings, there was a free screening of Monti Pithon and the Holy Grail, outside on the brand new inflatable movie screen. The thing looks something like one of those inflatable kids romper rooms or slides. I've actually never seen "The Holy Grail", so I was excited. The film had already started and the hillside lawn next to the Enzian was packed to overflowing. I sat right next to the screen, and looked up the hill at the audience. I couldn't really see what I was doing but at least I caught an impression of the couples lying on blankets enjoying the show. Terry found me and shouted in my ear that she was going to go. That morning I had my heart carved out with a dull knife. Luckily, it was just a flesh wound and my hand can still put marks down on a page. I finished the sketch in no time flat since I couldn't see any detail. I looked up at the thin elongated knights on the screen which billowed in the wind. A few drops of rain fell and I left before the movie was over. Someday I hope to see the whole film.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

1 comment:

Bill Carpenter said...

We appreciate your sacrifice and wish you a speedy recovery. Don't want to face life without your sketches.