The Right Juice had its world premiere at the Atlanta Film Festival on March 30th. The screening was very successful. 94 people enjoyed the film at the Plaza Chipotle Auditorium and almost all stayed for the Q&A afterwards. It was specially lovely that there where a number of Portuguese Atlanteans in the audience who loved seeing a taste of home on the big screen. Karen had to pull me back from chatting for too long in Portuguese during the Q&A, stating quite rightly that the majority of English speakers might be interested in what I had to say too!
I had such an amazing time at the festival. Of course I was incredibly nervous about the screening, but after the first laughs all the tension just flowed out of me and I sat back and enjoyed the film. That is one of the advantages of comedy as a genre. You get audible, physical audience feedback. Just hearing people laugh out loud at all the funny moments that we worked so hard at getting right throughout all the stages of getting to the screen was so gratifying and made me really proud. And sharing a marque with Game of Thrones was just too cool!
The film screened on the third day of the ten day festival. After the screening I was a little deflated and wondering what I was going to do with myself for the remaining week, but I needn’t have worried. I met so many fun, energized and interesting people, and saw some amazing films, attending informative, interesting lectures and panel discussions. My favorite film of the festival (besides TRJ) was an Icelandic film called Metalhead from director Ragnar Bragason. Touching, moving, wonderful.
And I was invited to speak on a panel too. The title was ‘Transitions: Shorts to First Feature’ and that was definitely a subject I could speak about! I shared the stage with two wonderfully talented filmakers, Rashaad Ernesto Green (Gun Hill Road, Grimm) and Juli Jackson, who’s first feature, 45RPM, also screened in Atlanta. Luckily we had a great moderator who managed to keep me on point and made sure I didn’t ramble on and on. Of course our panel was at 10 in the morning, so many festival goers didn’t make it (the parties where amazing) but luckily Chris invited Karen and I to do a Pop-up panel later in the week, where we got to talk some more about filmmaking to a small but enthousiastic crowd, sitting on couches at the filmaker hangout.
Another first for yours truly was getting up on stage at one of the parties and singing karaoke with a live band. A regular feature at the Ten High, I am completely sold on the concept. Rather than singing along to a canned click track, you get to perform with a kick-ass rock band. Incredibly handy, as I kept missing the cues, but the band leader patiently hand signalled me whenever I went wrong, and counted me in. And he and the drummer provided awesome backing vocals, so it even sounded pretty good… probably.
To be honest I’ve run out of superlatives. I had a lovely time, met great people and had an awesome screening of The Right Juice. Now to get another film made in time for next years festival so I can come back in 2015.