I wanted to share a story or two from my previous experiences at SavFF.

I feel like the festival can boast a really fantastic environment. Such a large mix of bright-eyed students mixed with the Savannah high-class makes for an interesting time. The conversations you end up having are with people who fall into one of four categories; art-students who are pretentious cocks, art-students who actually have taste, older Savannahians who are pretentious cocks, and older Savannahians who have taste. Of course this is no different than any conversation you’d have in Savannah at any other time of the year, there is never any shortage of pretentious art school students, or older folks who become pretentious due to their proximity to an art school. However, festival week means all those discussions are about movies, and that means I care a bit more.

As brain-meltingly ridiculous as some people can be, there is superb company around, and many amazing conversations to be had. One of my favorite such conversations was with one, Mr. John Sayles.

I don’t want to be cliche and apologize for my appearance in presented photographs but, well… I’m real fucking sorry. In case you couldn’t guess, I’m the douche-bag in the hat.

Either way, John Sayles received a Lifetime Achievement Award (which is the name of the award most honored guests get) and presented his new flick, Honeydripper. At this point, I had seen no other Sayles movies, so I was going into it pretty blind. I was immediately impressed with his control of everything (director, writer, producer, editor), and I ended up liking the movie. It wasn’t anything that changed my life, but it was certainly a good time and plenty heartwarming. The Q&A afterwards was pretty informative and interesting, but it was at the after-party where Sayles proved to be a genuine badass.

This particular night the party was at a bar/restaurant. They had a little VIP mezzanine set up and this is where Chris Cooper, the shyest man I’ve ever encountered in my life, stayed. John Sayles though, didn’t take long to being mingling. Soon enough, he had a crowd of eager students around him talking. After hovering around for a moment I wedged myself in, and spent the next hour and half listening to Sayles answer our questions. We spoke about his movies, movies that were out then, his novel writing, and all kinds of other topics. (Apparently he was halfway through writing a novel he was expecting to reach 800 pages, or some other enormous length.) He was amazingly genial and willing to answer anything we asked. He doled out advice and coming from a guy who has been involved with dozens and dozens of movies, it was good stuff. He gave us plans for breaking into screenwriting, tips on running sets, and ideas of how to approach the industry. There is no person I was more glad to meet at the Fest than Mr. John Sayles and I hope I get to meet him again and tell him so.

I know that was a bit thin, but it’s been a long day. That’s all I can handle writing tonight, tomorrow I’ll have the Brett Ratner story, and my Milos Foreman experience.

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