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Out with the Old, In with the New

Out with the Old, In with the New

A look backward: The old year, seen as a decrepit old man, limps off and the new baby 2012 approaches. The newest addition to my own family, my sister’s granddaughter Zelia was born January 1, 2012 at 10:25 am in Paris.  This puts me into a perfect state of mind for the coming year.

As I myself “age”, I begin to understand my place in history as a segment on a continuum of time and space in which we are living, not only in our own country (through its various upheavals) but that of other countries and (cliché) of the planet itself.  I begin to perceive a role I am playing historically as I live through my own different stages of this transitory human experience.

Movie-wise I have lived through the rise of indies and the growth of technology: from my first days at Hollywood’s International Famous Agency also known as IFA and the 1970s invasion of Los Angeles by the New York indies, to the technological development of consumer videotape and the creation of a job called “film acquisitions” to the present time.  A different sort of Los Angeles indie film folk has invaded New York (Rose Kuo to New York Film Society with her crew, Dana Harris and Anne Thompson to Indiewire…).  Moreover the present time is notoriously a time when there is so little work to be found by so many determined individuals except for entrepreneurial creations of our own.

This year ended suddenly for me after intense travels.  Last month, starting November 2, I rushed through the American Film Market in 5 days of its annual 8 day run where 1,523 executives representing 718 companies from more than 70 nations mingle together to sort through 2,500 movies from 35 countries.  It reminded me of a “rummage sale” like in the old days in L.A. when the giant department stores, the May Company and Ohrbachs had their sales in the 1950s and 60s, and hordes of shoppers rummaged through tables of clothing looking for bargains.  Now the stores are the sites of the future Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Academy of Motion Pictures and Television’s Motion Picture Museum and of the Peterson Automobile Museum. 

I say I rushed because before AFM was over, I was off to Seville, Spain for 4 days of the Sevilla European Film Festival followed by 2 days at the spectacular home of Margaret von Schiller in Almeria, Spain, and then off to Wroclaw, Poland for 7 days of the 2nd edition of the American FIlm Festival and its collateral, inaugural “Gotham in Progress” to be renamed next year as “Indies in Progress”, capped by two bonus days for myself to visit the small publishing town in Poland where my great grandmother was born in 1861.

I returned home to say hi to my family and then rushed off to Palm Springs for two concentrated days of writing unfinished job assignments and then I was off to Havana for its International Festival of Cinema, from which I have returned in time to attend the Palm Springs Film Festival early January, then Sundance, then Rotterdam and its Cinemart and Berlin in February with its fest and Talent Campus and after that, Guadalajara in March.  Whew!!

During this past two months, Indiewire has completed its internal transition, (See Brian Knegt’s article), and I have not blogged at all because I no longer knew how to use its newly designed internal blogging mechanism, but now I do, and so, I begin with summaries of my travels.

Returning to the subject of personal and shared history, I want to talk of secrets.  As children we all learn what secrets are, and they hold a certain fascination, which, by virtue of being secret, never dims.  As an adult I now see the effects of those secrets on myself personally, on other individuals and even on countries.  The film up for Best Foreign Language Oscar, A Separation depicts this exactly. I am speaking of both one’s own secrets and the secrets hidden by others.

We’ll start with secrets in Spain as I began my latest odyssey there, and go to Poland and then to Cuba…in installments…Tune in tomorrow…

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