oh, hello again

This may mark the biggest gap between posts since this little site started a few years ago; had I known I’d be gone for two and a half months, I would’ve left you on a more thoughtful note than a post about a British baking show (though it is a great show). But here we are.

Just a day removed from the wrap of the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival, I’m still in a haze. It’s like returning from a trip abroad; everything is just as you left it, and yet entirely unfamiliar as you settle back in to “real life.” I’ve slept a lot, and my cat is pretty happy to have me around again. But it’s been a few years since I’ve been on this Festival schedule, so like recovering after a night out, it may take me a bit longer to bounce back than it used to.

I’m far too close to it all to make any objective declaration on the success of the thing; we made it through, and most of the time, what was supposed to happen happened. Films were screened, photos were snapped, guests were feted, audiences entertained.

My day-to-day was primarily defined by the pre-film ceremony of red carpets and press lines, welcoming different filmmakers and actors to the Festival each night. It’s a great vantage point for the comings and goings of everyone in town for the occasion, and even after a decade working in this space, watching these familiar faces join us on the line never quite gets old.

Among all the various details involved in making a press line happen, ensuring the photos are just right included confirming our special guests had the official Chicago Int’l Film Festival lapel pin on, a small, tasteful way of distinguishing these folks. Though they each received a pin upon arriving in Chicago, inevitably they’d show up without it on (a communication snafu to be addressed for next year, obvs).

As any good publicist would do, without blinking I’d snag the one off my own badge and offer it up to whomever needed it. By the end of the Festival, that meant that Damien Chazelle, Danny Glover, Pablo Larrain, Jim O’Heir, Steve McQueen and Barry Jenkins (and probably others I’m blanking on) all left Chicago wearing a lapel pin I’d offered up. As a Festival staffer, it’s just another day on the job. As a cinephile and fan of all these guys, it’s pretty freaking cool to know.

In just a week or two, the frenzy of the film festival will subside; all the seasonal staffers who filled the office and made the whole experience so incredible will depart for their next gigs and we’ll be back to the “off season.” I learned more than I could possible encapsulate here, and I’ve got about 347 days to review it all and improve upon it for 2017. But first, sleep.