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MagazineCulture & CommentaryI am a Film Festival Survivor

I am a Film Festival Survivor

Daedalus Howell and Irina Pantaeva -- photo by Ryan Lely.My name is Daedalus Howell and I’m a film festival survivor. At least that’s what I’ve been able to glean from the footage our faithful video entourage acquired (lensed by auteur-provocateur Brodie Giles, flanked by a garrison of accomplices), which I’ve used to reconstruct the following events:

Day One: Missed all the sneak previews, downed a case of wine at the fest’s opening reception, made French toast for the Contessa, Giles, ace shooter Ryan “Flash” Lely and I have no recollection of any of it. E-mail me if you have any details or if we need to “talk.”

Day Two: I had begged the Contessa to smother me with a pillow, which seemed the only way to abate the hangover I had acquired the night(mare) before. She declined. She didn’t want to waste the effort she had put into making sure I had a life. I cribbed my riposte straight from “Lawrence of Arabia”: by both saving and killing me, she would both be the giver and taker of life, in short, a god. She mulled this momentarily, but we agreed there was only room for one god-complex in our relationship. Furthermore, my hangover wasn’t anything a little Gloria Ferrer couldn’t fix, which flowed like a fountain at the girl and the fig shindig later that afternoon. There, I re-acquainted myself with industry pals up from Low-Cal and was located by my assistant Ms. Stranzl, who dutifully collected business cards so that I wouldn’t obstruct the silhouette of my coat with padded pockets. Then, abetted by chum and collaborator Jerry Rapp, we began shooting doc footage of supermodel Irina Pantaeva that quickly devolved into an improv comedy with bits shot at Sonoma Museum of Visual Arts’ Goya opening (it ends two days later in mortal combat between the rangy runway veteran toppling a mad Liverpudlian actor named Lenny – his mate Mick, the Ollie to his Stan, watched dolefully as his partner was trounced by the Siberian sylph.

Day Three: Road shotgun with Spitzy on film fest bus doing dog-and-pony style “survival guide to Sonoma” while en route to St. Francis Winery and Vineyard. We reminded our audience that Sonoma can out-drink Hollywood any day of the week and later proved it. I openly suspected fest sommelier Christopher Sawyer of trying to drown me in wine. Giles says he’s keeping the tape for “leverage.” More French toast (I hear).

Day Four: Replica, the flick in which I starred helmed by my pal (and personal fest guest) Raymond Daigle, screened well at the Lounge, despite sounding like it was underwater. Bolstered by success, we tripped through the Lasseter tribute, went gonzo at the Gala and took the party home, where it burned until 5 a.m. Bob “Angus” Taylor and I tossed a guitar back and forth as Diva Donna, the Dame et al, reveled without a cause. Hittelman and Pantaeva staged a performance-art installation involving eye-pillows. We danced to the entire “Pretty in Pink” soundtrack and convulsed with laughter at the interpretive contortions of human pretzel Geoff Garner who, with Sawyer, perfected the art of “floor swimming.”

Day Five: Awoke, magically, without a hangover. Stranzl called to prep me for our next screening, which I otherwise would have missed. More success – we took the informal and impromptu “audience award” (hello, laurel leaves), then actually saw some films. At some point, I apparently scored a three-picture deal, the contract for which I found drafted on a cocktail napkin wadded in my coat pocket. Oddly, the only signature on it was my own, which was ringed in rouge from the bottom of a plastic tumbler of zin or possibly lipstick.

Daedalus Howell
Daedalus Howellhttps://dhowell.com
Welcome to one man's search for meaning through media making. Whether you're an active "creative," or an artist-adjacent culture serf, perhaps you will find my (mis)adventures in the screentrade, publishing, journalism and other arts edifying and inspiring — or at least mordantly humorous. More about me here.

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