SATURDAY 9:00 a.m. ^ A panel, Distribution: The Next Step. It was moderated by a very articulate and entertaining man, Peter Belsito. He says bluntly, “Okay kid, you’re in a festival, if you’re lucky, things go well, you prove you were right all along, then you go home and open your bills.” I laugh out loud. A really outspoken documentary filmmaker stands up and gives a very inspirational speech demanding the masses rise and take responsibility for distributing our own films. I like him, he’s cool.
12:00 ^ Right before the second screening Phil and Yuko, Gerard Black, the Associate Editor/Title Designer/Miracle Worker and his lovely wife Julie arrive. More hugs. Rule Two: have lots of your good friends around.
They turn away twenty five people who are standing in line to see the film. Completely packed.
2:30 p.m. ^ This audience laughed everywhere I wanted them to and were dead silent in the serious parts. More applause than last time.
The Q&A is really funny. A woman asks, “Do men really talk about sex like that? I didn’t think they talked at all!” I look out in the audience at all the men… there is huge laughter among them. Of course we do! They really seem focused on the measuring-your-penis thing, which takes us by surprise. Karin says women are constantly comparing parts of their bodies to some external standard of adequacy, but never imagine men doing the same thing.
My sister comes up with the brilliant idea to hand out rulers with “The Origin of Man” printed on them at the next festival.
Please, I think, let me get into another festival, because that would be too cool.
3:00 p.m. ^ The temperature has dropped forty degrees in a couple of hours. It’s windy and there are snow flurries.
Karin and I go to the oldest church in town to sight-see. In the courtyard I try and find a sunny spot where it’s slightly warm. It’s useless. I pick a bench, get down on one knee and do it. She says yes. We kiss. We are freezing, we go back to the car where it’s warm and kiss more.
At a restaurant, our friends and family greet us with applause and pictures.
7:00 p.m. ^ Karin and I stop putting out cards and flyers. We’re going to enjoy ourselves. We go to see LOST FOREVER, the hybrid, documentary/fiction feature about a bohemian artist and nature lover who disappeared in the wilds of Utah in the thirties. Mark Larson, the actor I met, plays the artist and is the interviewer in the documentary segments. He’s talented and has real presence. The DV footage of Utah and Arizona is gorgeous.
10:30 p.m. ^ The coolest filmmaker party. Everyone’s over the hump. The mescal flows. I have a chance to talk to Ellen Osborne, the coordinator for the festival and programmer of the shorts. She’s really sweet and supportive. This is not how I expected it to be and I’m so glad I was wrong.
Karin and I go to bed at The Dreamcatcher and look at her engagement ring in the dim light of the room.
SUNDAY 12:30 p.m. ^ Last screening. We’re at the biggest venue, more than three hundred seats. People are already leaving to go back to Albuquerque and points beyond, but there is a line out in front of the theater when we get there half an hour before the show.
We hook-up with Bruce Odland, the composer of the score, and his wife Sally.
Full house. The best audience yet. I introduce the actors and bring them up on stage. I introduce Bruce and bring him up. Each one of them gets an ovation – Lou, Phil, Bruce. I demand that Kitty join us. She does. The crowd applauds it’s hardest.
The Q&A is wonderful.
9:00 p.m. ^ The final party is sweet. When we leave, I say goodbye to Hisham. He’s at a table surrounded by three, very attractive, female volunteers from the festival. I think he digs America. We exchange e-mail.
Outside, I see Kelly Clement. I thank him and tell him I feel like I owe him the world. We shake hands.
Karin and I walk off to the car. Exhausted.
As I walk down the isle to the stage Sunday I promise myself: when it’s the middle of the night, when I can’t pay my bills, when doors slam trying to distribute this film or when disasters are befalling the next one, I will remember the sound and intensity of the applause at this moment.
Stuart Hynson Culpepper is the writer, producer, editor and director of the feature film, “The Origin of Man.” For more information on the film or the director, visit [ www.theoriginofman.com ] or e-mail: [ firstname.lastname@example.org ]