September 18, 2004
Upon Return from the Toronto Film Festival
Is it egocentric to brag about a film based on one's own novel?
After all, it's not really my work anymore-- it's more Gregg Araki's. Right?
Well, I've seen the film three times now, and I still love, love, love it.
I just got back from the TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL, where Michael and I had an amazing, blissful time. Our hotel wasn't exactly in the swankiest part of the city--the Salvation Army soup kitchen and "havin'-a-conversation-with-myself-'cause-the-crack's-so-good" streetwalkers pretty much proved that--but we really didn't spend too much time there. We were primarily at the premiere, at the parties, at press conferences and photo shoots, and so on. And best of all, we were helping to generate buzz about the movie, which, as I've said before, is (a) terrrrrific, (b) faithful to my novel, (c) emotionally devastating, and (d) hauntingly gorgeous to watch. So, yeah, I'm bragging.
Monday, September 13 was the official North American premiere (one week after the world premiere in Venice). Fortissimo Films threw us a dinner party beforehand. Some of the folks in attendance: Gregg, of course; me & Michael; castmembers Brady Corbet, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michelle Trachtenberg, and Jeff Licon; producers Mary Jane Skalski and Jeffrey Levy-Hinte; crew / production people like Beau Genot, Josh Zeman, Wouter Barendrecht, and others; peoples' agents, managers, friends, boyfriends (ie Michelle's man Shawn Ashmore of X-Men / X2 fame) and even family (ie, Brady's wondrous mom, Mary Corbet, and his great-aunt).
Here's the main group of us (Jeff, Gregg, Brady, Michelle, me, Joe, Mary Jane, and Jeff) at our pre-premiere dinner:
The premiere went over really well. People had strong, emotional reactions. I got to meet Gus Van Sant, who was in the audience. Gregg introduced us (me, Mary Jane, and the cast) beforehand, and we gave a Q&A afterward. I was overwhelmed-- it was odd seeing it with such a huge crowd, and also with Michael beside me; also, Gregg really made gracious, unbelievably sweet recommendation of the book itself, which seems a pretty rare thing for a filmmaker to do.
The following day was the screening for critics and press. Wednesday, the 15th, was another screening, this one to an even larger audience. Surprisingly, the crowd consisted of a lot of "older" people-- it was strange to see the "little old lady" type watching the film-- but they also seemed to respond well. Afterward, we gave another Q&A, with Gregg eloquently leading.
Parties-- we usually went as a "Mysterious Skin" group. Free drinks all around! Free food! Free glimpses of (occasional) stars and (many) wannabes! We went to the Motorola party, the Premiere party, the ICM party, the "Stage Beauty" party (where me, Michael, Joe, Brady, and the film publicist Craig Bankey were crowding ONto the elevator just as Claire Danes and Billy Crudup were getting off) and, on the final night, the "Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things" party, where Asia Argento and J.T. Leroy were the DJs and played a lot of glam rock.
I could report a lot more, but I'll let the press fill in the gaps.
First off, here's the page on Mysterious Skin from the Toronto Film Festival catalog and website: SKIN
Here's a nice article about the film from indiewire.com, where the writer discusses Gregg as well as directors Todd Solondz ("Palindromes") and Lodge Kerrigan ("Keane"): Araki/Kerrigan/Solondz
Here's one that's made us all really excited, a from heavyweight A.O. Scott at the New York Times, that used MSKIN as a touchstone for his Toronto overview (may need signing in to view): A.O. Scott
And finally, here's some wireimage.com photos of the cast and Gregg, in posed portraits, at the pre-premiere dinner, and at the premiere (I'm even a couple of these) or press conference:
September 05, 2004
Venice Festival Highlights
Well, I wish I were in Venice right now instead of in my messy room in Roslindale, Massachusetts.
I'm living vicariously though emails from Gregg Araki and, tonight, the first review (from VARIETY) and press photographs on Yahoo! of Gregg, Brady Corbet, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It seems the world premiere at the festival went over really well. If you want to read the Variety review, I think it'll be up for a little while at this Yahoo! site: Mysterious Skin
There are also some pictures here and there, and the occasional update on imdb.com... I'll also keep posting news as it happens.
In ten days, though, Michael and I will be off to Toronto for the festival there, so I will get to share some of this excitement. This will be the first time Michael will see the movie--I'm pretty sure, and more-than-pretty hopefully, that he'll like it. Plus he'll get to meet the boys and Mary Jane and other involved parties.
What's been happening here? A week or so ago, Michael was a fellow at the Bread Loaf conference, and I drove up there with our pal and fellow writer Christopher Castellani to visit him and other folks. I've never done one of these writers' retreat / conference type things, and I sort of had my apprehensions, but I wound up really loving the two days I spent there. I got foolishly smashed one evening (on about nine beers and one gin & tonic), and, possibly because these things don't mix well with Celexa and Wellbutrin, wound up only half-remembering the last two hours of the night. The following day, driving back through the gloriously beautiful mountains of Vermont, Michael informed me that I had been shouting really embarrassing things at a helpless young Southern boy. This made me want to fling myself out the window of the moving car.
For my birthday, 22 days early, Michael bought me a new tennis racquet.
Except for the 2 days I spent visiting M at Bread Loaf, my time was completely saturated by the OLYMPICS. I get this way every four years (well, really, every two, although the Winter Olympics don't quite snag me the way the Summer Olympics do). The human interest stories make me cry... I follow every word and breath of Bob Costas... I start exercising more, believing I'll one day be good enough at SOMETHING to qualify for some event (yeah, right). This year I was, like everyone else, obsessed with Michael Phelps, but I also fell in love with a bunch of non-American teams and athletes. As usual, I wish the networks would show a little more of the foreigners, but then again, I'm not sure when I'd find time to watch all of it. Anyway. Synchronized diving became one of my new favorite events. The final match between the Brazilian and Italian mens' volleyball teams was completely amazing. I love high jump. The interference / attack by that religious fanatic moron on Brazil's Vanderlei Lima was so shocking I couldn't speak for nearly an hour. I could go on and on. I can hardly wait for summer 2008.
I have finally finished my gargantuan freelance textbook writing project.
I owe about 150 people emails.
I think I'm now rooting for the twins Kami and Karli to win the Amazing Race.
I'm rereading Jeff Eugenides's THE VIRGIN SUICIDES because it's so damn good, and also the remainder of the uncollected Richard Yates short stories I haven't read before. I also just finished the FOUND MAGAZINE book, and I'm reading the brilliant surreal freak-out comics in the new Mark Beyer "Amy and Jordan" collection.
Finally: please... anyone reading this... go out there and urge people to learn the facts and vote against george bush.
Posted by at 02:59 AM
September 02, 2004
Mysterious Skin at the Venice Film Festival
Today-- September 2, 2004-- is the world premiere of MYSTERIOUS SKIN at the Venice Film Festival.
Michael and I weren't able to go, but we'll be heading to Toronto on September 12th for the film's inclusion in that festival.
The film is gorgeous and important and stays remarkably faithful to the book; I couldn't be happier with it.
I love you, Sigur Ros...
It's now 3am and I'm dead tired, so I'll update more on this site tomorrow.