Wednesday, April 18, 2012

BIFFF Day #12 (Tuesday, 4/17)

Following Monday night’s madness, the final official day of BIFFF could not help but be a little anticlimactic. Which is not to say it wasn’t enjoyable, especially since I would start off the day hanging out with Eric Valette and Mick Garris at the pre-awards Awards announcement. (Press people get all the good stuff, I’m now convinced. If you have the opportunity to gain a press pass for any event, I say grab it…unless there’s an extra VIP pass lying around, of course.) Is it wrong for me to have been ignorant of the fact that the press is given the results before they are officially announced in public? Was I just being totally naïve? Maybe. In any case, I learned who won what (which I’ll go into a little further on down), and then chatted with several of the journalists as well as cool cat Eric Valette.

I also learned that my interview slot with Marijana Jankovic of Beast had been bumped in both location and time slot, so we exchanged email addresses to conduct the interview over the interwebs (not my favorite way to do things, but whatcha gonna do?) With my afternoon now open, I elected to catch up on my reporting, then headed over to the BIFFF site to sneak in some last minute screenings via the press room computers, which included the Spanish supernatural slasher Paranormal Experience and the German “vengeful ghost story” feature, 205: Room of Fear, both of which were worth the watch even if they were nothing special.

Cost for admission to the awards ceremony and the Closing Night screening of Cabin in the Woods was an additional $18 or so, and being that I a) already knew the winners and b) would be able to see a matinee of Cabin when I got back to the States for $6, I elected to take a pass on the Big Night. Sure, it would have been nice to do the full nine yards, but as it turned out, I should have bought my ticket earlier because the event was 100% sold out, to the point where Jonathan had to reneg on his offer to sneak me in because, “Seriously, there are NO seats left.” Again, not a big deal, and it allowed me some genuine chill time in the lobby area, drinking a Cuvee des Trolls with my new pals Eduard and Laurence, discussing the Festival, Chicago, Brussels, other fests, life in general and the fact that Eduard had not slept in an actual bed until very recently. (True story – he has apparently been sleeping on the floor or a couch for the past 40 years, which I found fascinating for some reason.)

After the film let out, and the masses filled the commons area for the final time, there were many chit-chat sessions, photos aplenty, and a whole lotta laughing and yakking.

It was hitting me hard that I might not see most of these people again except in cyberspace, and well, that realization was sucking up a storm. Not that I’m not tempted to return again next year, but it’s going to depend on schedules and cash flow, both of which are volatile intangibles in the life of good Dr. AC. So, there were blather sessions with our beloved press team, emcee Stephane (who gave me one of the juiciest French cheek kisses on record – I think my beard is still moist from the impact), Steve, Wouter, Richard, Dorien, and countless others.

The night went on (and on) until your humble narrator was entering his pumpkin stage, and without the BIFFF adrenaline being pumped through my veins, I was feeling the effects of the past two weeks (and I’m sure the beers weren’t helping matters for this borderline teetotaler). Finally, after standing with the smokers one final time (seriously, FINAL TIME, kids. You. Must. Stop. Smoking.), we called it a night and headed home. Bye bye, BIFFF. See you again sometime!

I’ll be serving one final BIFFF post tomorrow or the next day, just to wrap things up in a tidy bow. But as this my last night in Belgium for the foreseeable future, I feel inclined to consume some mussels, munch on a waffle, and wash it all down with a fine lager and a piece of dark chocolate. Vive la Brussels!

Here are two final Fool’s Views for the road. (Final tally: 53 total BIFFF movies)

Paranormal Experience (aka XP 3D) (2011) (1st viewing) d. Vizcanio, Sergi (Spain)
Five medical school students of varying degrees of obnoxiousness embark on a extra credit field trip to an abandoned mining town supposedly haunted by the spirit of a vicious psychotic doc. It's your standard run-of-the-mill supernatural slasher, with some fair gore effects (and some less successful CGI ones), all done with a Spanish accent and in 3D (the preferred medium of slasher flicks these days, it seems). Not bad, but no need to rush.

205: Room of Fear (2011) (1st viewing) d. Matsutani, Reinier (Germany)

Freshman Jennifer Ulrich discovers that her new dorm room has a dark past, one that seems to connect back to the mysterious disappearance of room 205's former occupant Julia Dietze whose video diary reveals a dark, violent sexual history. It's a worthwhile if unremarkable ghost story/body count flick, one that doesn't make too many demands on the viewer, and delivers the goods promised. Not the worst way in the world to wrap up the fest.

2012 Totals to date: 174 films, 152 1st time views, 90 horror, 55 cinema

Pick of the Day: Room of Fear
(though the competition was admittedly pretty lean...)

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