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LA Film Fest – Day 3

June 28, 2008

Los Angeles Diary, Day 3

By Michelle Emanuel

Guest Blogger

The first item on today’s agenda was to meet Scott Prendergast (director of KABLUEY, which opened the last Oxford Film Festival and won the Hoka for Best Narrative Feature) for breakfast at Jerry’s Famous Deli in Westwood. It is a New York-style deli, where the menu is spiral bound and includes ads for other local businesses. Breakfast items were on page 15. Nice. I had the standard American tourist breakfast trifecta (eggs, bacon, pancakes), while Scott took the more California filmmaker route and ordered à la carte (fruit, granola, muffin, no coffee). I brought him up to speed on everything in Oxford, and he told me about Kabluey’s upcoming theatrical premieres in New York, Austin, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. He’s also working on a new, untitled, project which has not yet been cast, but we hope that it will eventually screen in Oxford – if not during the festival, then for a special event.

From there I headed off to the American Film Institute (AFI – the ones who do those lists every year of “best heroes and villans”, etc.) to visit the Louis B. Meyer Library and to chat with its director, Caroline Sisneros. Again the GPS took me down Sunset Boulvevard through Beverly Hills into Hollywood, and again I shrieked with delight every 500 feet, eventually arriving at the AFI campus, which is on the grounds of a former Catholic college. Beautiful architecture and landscaping. Very peaceful. And Caroline was an extremely valuable resource, whom I will certainly contact again. The library itself primarily serves the students (called fellows) of the AFI, who are mostly filmmakers, but they also serve people like me who are doing “scholarly research” as well.

I left AFI with the intention heading back to Westwood to see a feature called HOTTIE BOOMBALOTTIE, but I underestimated LA traffic, and also the GPS was taking me on a route different than the one I arrived with, so when I accepted that I would not make it in time, I decided to head to another library on my list. However, because I still have NO CONCEPT of Los Angeles geography, I ended up basically backtracking my route back to AFI to get to the USC campus. So in essence, I spent about 2 hours in the car. Sorry, environment!

The University of Southern California (USC)’s Cinema-Television Library is on the ground floor of the Doheny Memorial Library. Like the J.D. Williams library at Ole Miss (where I work), it is located in a pedestrian zone, and finding parking is a challenge. I parked illegally in a parking deck when I could not find a metered space, and hoped that I could get in and out before anyone noticed. The CTL is basically an expanded reading room, with its own circulation/media desk, viewing area, reference desk, and stacks (= libraryspeak for “shelving”). There were only 2 public computers, and they were behind a column by the reference desk. Perhaps they expect that USC students will bring in their laptops. However, as my laptop is four years old, and might as well be a stone tablet, I left it at the hotel. The great thing about this library, however, is that they subscribe to a database that Ole Miss does not – the Film and Television Literature Index Fulltext (from Ebsco) – which allowed me to email my articles to read later, after I’ve returned to Mississippi. And they had 2 books in their collection with chapters that interested me; I wrote down the citations so I can interlibrary loan them when I return, mainly because I could not be bothered to get a visitor’s copy card.

It was now 3:00, and I decided to hit one more library, which was risky since I would have to get back on I-10 to leave USC, and who knew how long that would take. The Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library is located on S. La Cienaga in Beverly Hills. It is a gorgeous space, and they keep it that way by requiring that you leave almost everything you bring in the building in one of their lockers. It is frequently the policy of archives that you use pencil only, that you not use a cell phone, no cameras, etc. But this archive had a Level 5 security protocol that surprised even me. Still, it was worth it to be able to go upstairs and use their databases that are only available on site. And if I had more time, I would make use of their unpublished script collection, which may not be photocopied. But I only put enough change in the meter for 75 minutes, so that will have to wait until my next visit (someday).

From there I headed back to the Landmark Theater, where Rotten Tomatoes.com was hosting their 10th anniversary party, but because I was slightly early (as it was too risky to go to my hotel first) I decided to roam the mall one last time (Macy’s! Nordstrom! Kiehls counter!). I checked into the party at the Landmark Wine Bar, had my photo made with Alex from RT wearing a tomato suit which would eventually be worn by many a person. I was happy to see RT’s Jen Yamato who had invited me to the party – she was on the Media panel at the last OFF – and soon Scott Prendergast arrived, and brought in the Kabluey suit (sans head) to pose for photos with the tomato. And hilarity ensued when other people wanted to wear the suit for their own photos. My plus one, Russell (a friend from college who has lived in LA for 10 years), also arrived and we schmoozed, drank complimentary Stella Artois and SmartWater, ate lots of cheese and warm hors d’oeuvres, chatted with RT staff and other guests with (unfortunately) illegible nametags. I spoke with Spencer Parsons, the director of I’LL COME RUNNING, which I had enjoyed on Wednesday, and will hopefully be posted on its distribution.

After the party, Russell and I were going to have dinner at the Literati Café in Brentwood, where he recommends a turkey aspergaus sandwich, but we realized when we arrived that we really weren’t that hungry after all, so we just got dessert and coffee. Then we returned to my rental car at the Landmark, and I headed home like the old lady that I am.

Tomorrow is my last day in Los Angeles before heading to my conference in Anaheim. I have one more archive to visit (UCLA), and a whole bunch of touristy things to do, including Hollywood.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 30, 2008 11:06 pm

    Can I comment on my own blog? JEALOUS! Fun time..and you got to see Scotty P, cool!

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