2013 Berlin Film Festival Day 9: Dark Blood

By @wfavontagen
2013 Berlin Film Festival Day 9: Dark Blood

And so the 63rd Berlinale is at a close. Over the past week I have been having the time of my life, and I hope I was able to share some of that with all of you. Through my writing, I have talked in length about the experience of going to the movies, because while it’s great to get technical, talk shop, and give awards, in the end movies are an experience. Movies are a moment to step back, get a different view on the world, and hopefully learn something about ourselves in the process.

I just stepped out of the Cinemaxx, and was met with the disassembly of the festival grounds. I am sad to see it all go, but am inspired to try my best to make it back next year. Inspiration might be the perfect theme for me to end on. I know I have told you all I love movies, but what I have not mentioned is that I hope to one day make them. For the time being, I am a journalist, and have been for the past three years. I love stories. I love hearing stories, and most of all I love telling them. While I have enjoyed my past works as a news videographer, reporter, and editor, I have let myself get a bit distracted in the form. It put me through college, and I think at one point I was convinced it would be the launch pad to get me into film–that I would, at some point, have the chance to simply transition into film production.

During the Press conference for Don Jon’s Addiction, I had the opportunity to ask Joseph Gordon-Levitt a question. I asked him, as a first time director who just finished his debut feature film, what advice did he has for the others out there looking to make it. “Don’t wait for someone to give you permission,” he said. “Don’t wait for the moment. Go out and make the moment.” This really was not new advice, in fact, I may have offered it to others myself, but for some reason, in this context–coming from him in a place where everyone’s dreams and ambitions are finally coming to fruition–it really sunk in.

My final film screening at the festival was Some Like it Hot. This is one of my favorite films, created by my favorite director, Billy Wilder. Coincidentally, the title was also the theme of this year’s Talent Campus–the portion of the festival that offered all the filmmaking lectures and panels of which I attended six sessions. I hadn’t seen the film in years, since about the time I decided to actually get into media. I forgot how good it is. I forgot how original, and just plain fun of a movie it is. I am leaving this festival with a new drive. I have a box full of scripts that I have written over the years. What English-Writing graduate doesn’t? My sights are set, and I’m done finding distractions and reasons to wait. It’s time to just say “go.”

Dark Blood (Capsule review)

Dark Blood movie

In 1993, director George Sluizer ended production of his film, Dark Blood, when the lead actor died unexpectedly. I’m too young to have much to say about River Phoenix. I was five when he died, and I don’t remember the media rampage that followed. I grew up knowing him as the rough kid in Stand by Me, and as young Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade. Dark Blood is an experience that unfortunately most people will never get to see because of legal issues regarding the films ownership. Technically, the footage belongs to the studios insurance company, who knows–nor cares–about the importance of piece. Topics addressed about death and loneliness are chilling, knowing what fate falls on River just a few days after the scenes were shot. Dark Blood is a movie that will stay with you; not only because of the extreme situation surrounding the film, but because it is an exceptionally visualized film, well produced with a captivating story. If you ever have the opportunity to see it, it is worth whatever effort it might require.

Full Dark Blood review

IN CLOSING: Tomorrow morning I leave Berlin to continue my work in the Harz Mountains of central Germany. I hope I have succeeded in giving you all an adequate glimpse at my experience here. I have had a great time covering this festival, and sharing my observations with you. It has been a privilege. We’ll see you at the movies!

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