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MY FILM FESTIVALS IN 2006 -- A flitting birds eye view --

1. ROTTERDAM -- FIRST TIME -- TIGER IN YOUR TANK (ERASMUS YOUTH HOSTEL, good GRASS available at local cafe)--started JAN. 20  -- First time ever there and dug the city.  See my full report elsewhere, In any case, it was a jolly good way to start out the festival year. And the Chinese year of the Hound as well.

 BEGIN SZEMLE WED. FEB. 1 -- a pretty interesting szemle as these yearly Hungarian film weeks go, and lottsa good food between shows for the foreign press courtesy of the Acacia Vendeglo. Taxidermia  -- a non-stop vomitorium show -- took the prize as best -- urp -- flim. (cough, spurt)

3. BERLIN -- PARTICLES (A-40 HOSTEL) -- GRBAVICA WON GOLDEN BEAR --I saw it later at cottbus.
Went to Berlin straight from the Budapest Szemle, and it was a good one. This must've been my seventh or eighth Berlinale and the city is beginning to feel like a second home. Those crazy wurst and Bratkartoffel in the ZOO station, the coffee and cakes at the THOBEN patisserie across the Plotz, the colonnade stores along Budapester strasse -- the Europa center , the gedachtnis kirche and tobenschmoben bookstore, then on down Tienzenstrasse to KDW and Wittenberg platz -- good food every ten steps of the way and super Muenchner Leberkaese on the first shop on Tienzienstrasse .. . Ach Du lieber -- und Donnerwetter geshtank... and the U2 Linie will get you nearly anywhere you wanna go!  -- from Pankow to Uncle Tom's cabin -- The best film of the fest was the last one -ALLABOUT EVE! --at the Zeughaus on under the Lindens, and the best lobby was the new Adlon Hotel at Brandenberger Tor -- Throw in a trip to Freie Universitat in Dahlem and you got it all covered -- except for  the other thirteen boroughs out there you hacen't gotten to yet -- Berlin is a biiiiiG city!

4.  ISTANBUL -- MOREAU AND DEPARDIEU --MANY HUPPERT FILMS (Grande hotel de Londres with the parrots in the lobby and the fresh breakfast with endless black olives in the basement) = BUYUK LONDRA --    FLEW STRAIGHT OUT out from Seattle via JFK on TURK HAVAYOLLAR - OVERNIGHT TO ISTANBUL -- longest flight I've taken since I lived in Japan and used to fly to Asia all the time.
Took the regular bus from airport to Tepebasi -- hotel BUYUK LONDRA -- AH, HOME SWEET HOME ...
first film was Huppert in Piano teacher film at French Institute on upper Istiklal -- This was my second Istanbul and I was not quite as enthralled with the city as the first time around -- found it quite dirty and shabby now that the first mental sheen is off -- In fact I rather dug Ankara more! That gal who looks like Minnie Mouse and is built like a brick shithouse was still there --  What a piece she must be, Pretty naive, but maybe less so than I think...Lot of Turkish films -- maybe ten in all this time around and the big discovery was ZUHAL OLCAY -- the Turk equivalent of Catherine Deneuve, only younger and much more appealing.  Some really interesting Turkish films with Can, the actor who now lives in Hubgary.  Lots of social action ib the cafe lobbies of the festival cinemasd. Like a big family affair, Love the Turkish way of socializing over tea -- Lots of good food oin the Tepebashi fish markety -- Time stands still in Istanbul!

5. LA CONTESSA SUSAN Smoluchowski, picked me up at the airport. SpokeFrench. Spent first 3 days at big hotel. the rest at Milgroms.  Books in Dinkytown -- john de francis "spoken chinese" !! -- ancient light (cosmology) and Lucy Davidowicz, hard cover -- wow! First night double feature at best theater was Mongolian and Tibetan. Mongolian famil;y with little daughter was a Knockout. Best flick of fest. I'd say. Weordo twist-freako film was also interesting -- the director a discovery. Closing night big guest was actor NED BEATTY. Before hat it was Mexican direcor Arturo Ripstein. Didn't like his film (walkout) and didn't care for him personally.  Funny how you can be let down when you meet a (fairly) bigname.
After that much time at office and lots of Arby's roast beef. good party at fancy estate. Good grass. Very high. Susan was --very nice looking, She also took me back to the airport after a extended for a whole week.  The major happning of the fest was meeting Leslie & Robin and contessa susan. Grady was gracious at all the parties but never answerted my e-mails later. All in all, this was a socially fun and filmically interesting fest with many of the kinds of films I would never see otherwise.
I flew back to Seattle after this, and then on down to San Fran to visit Leslie and Robin on the cinco de Mayo weekend. Steve Arian and Suzy took me out to the airport on monday, and i flew back up to Seattle, where after onlt two or three days I caught a =n SAS flight to Warsaw via JFK.

6. JEWISH MOTIFS, WARSAW -- 3RD TIME --AT MURANOW -- HOTEL MDM --selection not as good as the preceding year but action in the little press officeand the Muranow lobby was better. Met Jolanta RR of APF at Israeli Party. I flew out to Warsaw directly from Seattle on SAS via Stockolm -- or wuzzit Copenhagen? Then moved over for a pleasant two week stay in Lublin at the dom Studenta Zaocznego. Lublin is my favorite unknown hideaway in Europe! Caught a minibus back to Warsaw, stayed a couple of days at the Syrena in Wola, then took a one-way flight back to Budapest,

7. KARLOVY VARY -- NO FILMS -- BISSET NO-SHOW - GOOD PARTIES -- PC W, TIM BOTTOMS at press conference. Before the festival I spent July Fourth in Prague smoking pot on Tom's balcony then went on to KV by bus. First person I met at the THERMAL hotel was Turkish film critic Dorsey from Istanbul and he clued me in to a swinging Afternoon party on the balcony which segued into the INDUSTRY PARTY upstairs where I barely recogged Matha Otte and hung in with Otto of Vienna, and met Wyler's daughter of Rochester Women's festival. At closing party I was bombed on local loco weed and ran into Ivana Vookie of Zagreb looking mighty fine in black dress and upswept hair.  Latin danced to the orchestra (TEQUILA!) then walked home along the film poster lined stream that goes up the middle of the walk through town -- One of the most romantic summer night promenades in Europe. On the walk along the brook I met and took pix of Basa Emek and Ahmet Bo. of Turkish Eurofest on wheels festival --  Two of my fave people.  Woke up the last morning, Sunday, at the youth crash pad after sleeping on the bare floor, with a lame elbow which has been the bane of my life ever since!  Back to Prague on the pre-dawn bus and from there, after a week at the college dorms on the hill overlooking the city --(another favorite Euro summer hideaway of mine) caught a flite back to home-base Budapest.

8 VENICE -- FOUR DAYS THAT SHOOK MY ARM -- BLACK DAHLIA, SCARLETT JOHANSSON, HOLLYWOODLAND, THE QUEEN -- YOUTH    HOSTEL ON GIUDECCA ISLAND -- The Giudecca Youth Hostel was great and surprisingly uncrowded. The nice thing there is the morning coffee along the Vaporetto docks. It was touch-and-go getting the last vaporetto back from the Lido every night, but whatta place! --Venezia. Also, by accident, caught a friday nite Oneg Shabat in the Ghetto near the train station. Love venice, but the pain in the arm killed the fun and I had to leave after only four days. Last film I saw was Preminger's "Bunny Lake is Missing', a minor masterpiece of the film noir genre. Then quick flite back to Budapest where I Wrote the rest of the festival up from the Italian newspapers (Corriere della Sera & La Stampa) at the Marriott Hotel in Budapest.  I won't mind going back to Venezia once the arm is back in order.

 HOTEL CODINA -- wonderful week in Donostia. Plane flew in directly to Donostia this time instead of Bilbao the past two years. Lost my Mifune posters on the way out. Super cute blonde gal in coffee room. Lotta coffee this time around.  Spent most of my time in the XLNT press room -- best on the entire circuit. Press cons with Dillon and Oliver Stone were outstanding. Love this town and love this festival. Best town on the circuit!  In between took a two day side trip to Barcelona with Abbass Yari - to get extra pages in my passport at the consulate there. Great all day bus trip up and back thru Aragon and Pamplona, and a brief but strong renewal with the city of Barcelona itself after staying there a year ago on the way to Mallorca -- and not having been there since the '92 Olympics..

10. ROME -- NINE DAYS ==MONICA BERTOLUCCI. the body beautiful BLASTS FEST INTO ORBIT - The DEPARTED, The DI NIRO, Harrison Ford on jetlag -- the rousing Wm. Tell Overture, Richard Gere in Perrson, Scorcese and Di Caprio give classic press conference -- XLNT films in big outside hall --
 THIS  was the best film festival of the year altho I saw almost nothing of Rome except for what you see on the daily bus ride out from Rome Termini, hostel where I paid thirty euros per  --  great lovely private little room and free coffee and croissant at the cafe on Piazza Sta Maria Maggiore in the very center of Rome. I need to spend more time in Rome. I feel extra alive there. I caught a few glimpses of Via Veneto, but not enough.  Flew back to Budapest via Milano on AIR-ITALIA. Flight down along the coast was eye-catching. Passing thru Milano Malpenso airport is getting to be a habit.

I FLEW in from BP. Beautiful flight across the Alps. Breakfast on 9th floor of hotel with panoramic view of the city, Film center was near the old synagogue. I got somewhat of a feel for the city by walking around a lot in the afternoons, but my hotel room was so comfortable i didnt wanna go out much at night after a day at the festival. The TV stuff n the fest was surprisingly good. And the jean-Paul Sartre docudrama by Goretta was outstanding.

12. COTTBUSS -- DDR DOCS REVEALED -- (HOTEL 5 STAR) -- Picked up by festival car at Schoeneberg airport in Berlin and driven almost 100 kms. to Cottbuss. Fest boss Roland Rust obviously wanted me to cover it for the website and it turned out to be a nice little vacation in East Germanby, and a retouching with this odd city on my third visit after about a five year gap. Last time around I went to see Tosca and fell in love with thighd of the lasdfy on Englisj horn.  this time the fest was more centered and spruced up. I had fun. Big hotel buffet breakfast was enoughh for the whole day.  I got into Lusation-kashubian a bit but not too much. One day I met that born-again pretty old lady in the woods and walked all the way out to her place with her on the edge of town where she fed me lunch. I think she took quite a shine to me.  So now I do feel rather back in touch with the funny town of Cozebus. It was fun, and then I was driven back to Berlin in a festival car, but got off at ZOO and decided to stay a while -- lost 500 euros the first hour there but was bailed out by Cochenhausen, who fronted me 500 Euros.  This last flight of the year to Berlin Schoenefeld was paid for  by the filmfest on one of the cheapie airlines. The hardnose young guy at Ferihegy Customs  threatened not to let me back into Hungary unless I get a new passport. On this flight I met Arkadi Blatow, and stayed in Berlin after the fest with him in Upper Neukoeln on Donau strasse, smoked a lot of pot, watched Ky. Fried movies and met the unusually fetching French gal, Maura Rougier of Jeanne d'Arc land --  whatta trip! Finally caught a commercial flight on MALEV back to Budapest and finished it out there until Dec. 17, when I flew back to Seattle with my punctured eardrum and lame left arm.  And the rest is history ....Los Angeles, Barrows Drive -- Sunday, February 18, 2007

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Alex the fest guy:-)
how many festivals are you planning for 2007?
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THE FESTIVALS BLOG by Alex Deleon. Watch for festival coverage from the circuit.

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