Just back now, from the 11th annual CineVegas Film Festival. The event has quickly become one of the most respected and most enjoyable film festivals in America (not an easy feat to maintain both of those aspects).
I almost didn’t make it. I was scheduled to fly out of Philadelphia, and due to weather, there was no way to make my connection in Chicago. All other flights were sold out, and rather than go home and sit out one of my favorite festivals, I rolled the dice and flew standby the entire trip. It was a risky move, considering these were the day’s last flights, but it worked. Not only did I make it to Vegas, but I made it an hour earlier than my original schedule! So was this the beginning of a lucky streak for me at the blackjack tables? Or was this going to be my sole stroke of luck, and I shouldn’t have tempted my fate at the tables? Yeah, that latter one turned out to be the case. I’ve had a very good run at blackjack over the last few years and the payback came to me this week. I left Vegas, but a lot of my money still resides there.
That’s okay, because the festival gives you enough fun, to make even the most dour gambling experience a justified detour in an otherwise exciting experience. There was the combination of discovering acclaimed new films (Easier With Practice, All In), encore screenings of fest favorites (Humpday, 500 Days of Summer), and wild parties (Shoreline’s annual poker tournaments inside the Kingping Suite of the Palms, SAGIndie’s bowling soiree at the Gold Coast, the [redacted] party at Sapphire). Meanwhile, everyone is there. It’s great to enjoy a nice weekend with esteemed press, distributors, filmmakers, and showgirls.
So, what does this mean? Is CineVegas itself on a lucky streak? Hardly. The staff is comprised of the dedicated and skillful programmers Trevor Groth and Mike Plante, as well as the top-notch operational folks Rosie Wong and Roger Erik Tinch. This gang, as well as countless others, make CineVegas work as a great festival in a town that has little to do with indie film. Case in point: I lost a bunch of money playing blackjack. The reason: Las Vegas. I’m not in a bad mood. The reason: CineVegas.