Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hell Yeah

Digital Video & High Def Festival 2008

We were nominated for 3 awards - Best Score, Best Drama, and Best Story/Writing. I would have been happy with any one of those. The first category we lost was for Best Score. Okay, I thought, there's still two more. We sat through endless awards - almost as many as the real Academy Awards. (However the organizers did an excellent job of emulating the Oscar ceremony - complete with film clips of nominated movies, and an attractive hostess ripping open the envelope with the award winner).

About two-thirds of the way through, we finally got to Best Dramatic Feature. Since there were only two movies nominated in this category - us and someone else - I figured this was our strongest chance. A 50% chance. If we lost this one, we would be the ONLY LOSER. (Conversely, if we won, that would mean we were only better than one other movie. But who cares, I would have taken that. I wanted the gold statue.)

The clip they showed for 'Defying Gravity' was the one in which Shore is in the cemetery teasing Cassandra with the sketchpad and beanie baby. This was possibly the least dramatic scene in the entire movie. I watched it and thought, Even I wouldn't select this as Best Dramatic Feature. So no surprise when we lost to the other drama.

At this point I was extremely discouraged and wanted to go home. But that would have been bad form. There was still one other category we were nominated in. I gave up mentally rehearsing my acceptance speech.

Finally - I think it was the second to last of at least 30 categories and a 3 hour ceremony - we got to Best Story/Writing. There were 5 or 6 nominated movies in this category. Our clip was shown last. It was the one with Jorge and Shore driving in the hearse, and Shore is ranting about Mormons and Muslims and Jehovah's Witnesses. I was pleased with that clip.

The attractive hostess ripped open the envelope and handed the slip of paper to Tony, the Festival Director/co-host. He glanced at it, looked up, and said, "I just want to remind you folks, this award is for Best Writing. As in a story." I realized he was making a disclaimer. The kind of thing you would say so that your festival wasn't sued for religious defamation. That's when my heart started to flutter. That was my potentially offensive movie he was talking about. So I wasn't surprised when he said DEFYING GRAVITY.

I threw down my glasses and handbag and headed for the stage. I can't remember if Craig was following me or if I was pulling him up with me. I blathered some thanks to those who were there with us that night ... Bea Bernstein, Abbie Bernstein, Craig, and Wendy. I told everyone that Abbie was my first writing partner, and we'd come a long way since our first collaboration: "The Six Million Dollar Man Goes to the Planet of the Apes." Which I still think is a viable concept.

Craig took the microphone and thanked his father for dying last year so that we could spend his inheritance on the movie. I swear, that's what he said. I looked at him like he was crazy. So did the hostess, festival directors, and the entire audience. But he somehow managed to back pedal and say something about spending money on something that both our fathers would have been proud of. Without exaggeration, I think ours was the most memorable acceptance speech of the evening.

I carried my gold statuette around with me all night and the next day. I took it to school and shared it with all my students and fellow math teachers. Now it is on my desk, staring at me. This is even better than the trophy I won in 12th grade for 'Best Expository Speech'.

Next up: Riverside Film Festival this Friday.