Festival Diary: Late Night Movie Bender Edition

World Premiere of Waiting for Mamu by Director Thomas Morgan with special guest Pushpa Basnet at the Bijou by the Bay.

World Premiere of Waiting for Mamu by Director Thomas Morgan w/ special guest Pushpa Basnet

July 30

You’ll forgive this first entry because the TCFF movie bender that I’m on is mixed with the on-call responsibility of middle of the night wake-ups to rock my 11 month old son back to sleep without falling asleep myself. Midnight is my new 3am.

The Fest Day 1

The Blue Jasmine Opener was the Woody Allen that I’ve come to seek/enjoy almost as much as early work like Take the Money and Run and Bananas. Jasmine was a mix of comedy and edged social commentary starring a mix incomparable actors like Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin with rare talents that Allen seems to be able to sock away for the perfect part based on a type with supporting roles by Andrew Dyce Clay and Max Casella (Doogie Howser’s best friend/co-star). Blanchett’s flip flop between various stages of nervous breakdown and recovery was phenomenal.

July 31

Luckily started the day with the comedy The English Teacher because I inadvertently stacked docs Waiting for Mamu, Propaganda and Dirty Wars back to back to back, in that order. I’m going to hold off on my responses to Propaganda and Dirty Wars for now because I don’t think I’ve completely formed them – both films both punishing and compelling at once. I have the pleasure of moderating a discussion on Propaganda at the end of the week with the director, Slavko Martinov.

But Waiting for Mamu; I am ready. I ended up putting it on my list because I ran into producer Angela Bernhard Thomas at the Front St party who gave me a quick overview of the story. The gist: in Nepal, when parents commit crimes, their young children go to jail with them. The doc’s heroine/subject Pushpa Basnet has made it her life’s work to change the system by essentially fostering the children in a home where she helps educate the kids and nurture their self-worth. It’s a doc that serves the subjects and makes attempts to offer solutions instead of simply pointing out a problem and rolling credits. Thomas Morgan (writer) said this afternoon that the film is not the end of the story, but that the story won’t end until the filmmakers can help Pushpa raise the money necessary to release the 80 children still in prison with their parents. Pushpa Basnet currently fosters 44 children.

44 children! And I am having a hard time just getting one to sleep.

Michael Mittelstaedt is the director of the Motion Picture Arts Division at Interlochen Center for the Arts. He is currently on sabbatical writing his first Western that he plan to produce in the summer of 2014.