Keeping with tradition, it’s time to begin the great screening and writing nights and days for the 48th Chicago International Film Festival. Last year proved difficult at times, mainly because after a day of working, I had a night of watching and writing, but overall was greatly rewarding. Aside from seeing films in advanced, your write-ups are what people use to make their movie watching decisions. Plus last year, a few of the directors offered their gratitude for spot-on summaries. It’s a great networking tool to say the least.
I’ve screened three thus far and have yet to be disappointed. A lot of previous festival winners (Cannes, Sundance), which I think patrons of Chicago will greatly enjoy. So very confident the fest this year will be just as fantastic as last year. Schedules will hit stands later in September with the Festival running from October 11-25.
This past week, Chicago welcomed the annual Just for Laughs festival. Last year, I was able to attend a couple of smaller shows, but this year, all bets were off.
After Rochelle’s boyfriend was unable to go to the Conan show, I got the invite. We posted up outside at 6:30 a.m. to ensure we scored great seats. It paid off as we received the fourth row! Anna (my mentee and Rochelle’s sister) made shirts for us to wear throughout the work day and it was a struggle to stay focused. At 4, we all headed over to the Chicago theatre for the taping. Despite boasting a guest list I wasn’t too thrilled about, the show was phenomenal (though to be fair, those seats were the main reason). Aziz Ansari popped out of nowhere and did a little something, at which point, I sat shell-shocked in my seat.
A few days later, Amanda and I went to see Nick Offerman‘s show (Ron Swanson for those Parks & Recreation fans out there). He’s married to Megan Mullally (neé Karen from Will & Grace), so I was equally pumped when she made an appearance and performed for a bit. Offerman’s set was so incredibly fantastic. I felt like Leslie Knope receiving advice from my mentor as he went through his 10 tips for prosperity. I firmly believe we should clone him.
After leaving the set, we ran into Retta, who plays Donna on Parks & Rec. In the last season, Donna and Tom (played by Aziz Ansari) do a bit about “Treat Yo Self.” It’s a day (“The Best Day of the Year”) devoted solely to yourself and everything you love. Amanda and I took this idea to heart when we booked a northeastern adventure in August to see Mumford & Sons in Maine and the Lumineers in Central Park. So naturally when we saw Retta, we had to do “The Best Day of the Year” pose.
I cannot wait to see what’s in store for next year’s Just for Laughs Fest!