Sunday, December 9, 2007

Eliot Lives!

St. Louis International Film Festival was a great homecoming. STL is always very welcoming - so much so that we even stumbled upon a bar with a familiar name...

Early Friday morning we met a bunch of twisters, organized by a local named Silly Jilly, at Blueberry Hill - a famed hangout on The Loop. Silly Jilly, Thad, and several others twisted balloons for us to use for publicity. The people at Blueberry Hill welcomed us, and all of the vendors on The Loop seemed into it. When we approached one store owner to say we had an odd question (could we put a balloon duck on the front table to promote our film?) he answered, "That's the easiest question I'm going to get all day. Go for it!"

Then, we went to Wash U for a fantastic luncheon organized by Jill Stratton, our former RA boss. We ate Mexican food, showed clips from the film, and answered questions from faculty and students. We both agreed that speaking with students is something we enjoy and hope to do more of.

It was good to walk around Wash U's campus. We checked out Bear's Den, where they serve beautiful fresh fish and steaks - just like when we were there. Of course at the time, such food items were mysteriously disguised as mozzarella sticks and chicken tenders.

While Eliot, as we knew it, is of course no more, we did find a photo on campus of our beloved dorm. For those paying close attention, you will be relieved to know that the spot on the left is the camera flash, not an atomic bomb cloud.

And as part of our series as areas that are not gun-friendly (until now - the series just included Wichita), we can add Wash U:

We spent the afternoon handing out postcards and doing an interview with Wash U magazine. Then, we had a great dinner made by our wonderful hosts, Debby and Chris! That night, we went to a party for filmmakers in the Central West End. We got our badges, some hats, and a bit of other swag - which we showed off with style.

The next day, Debby greeted us with freshly baked muffins (because she is fine, fine human being) and we set off to do some last minute postcard-handing-outing. We met Thad and Silly Jilly at the St. Louis Art Museum (SLAM), where we'd be screening that evening. As they made fantastic balloon decorations for the entrance to the theater, we inflated hundreds of purple balloons.

The screening was another great one. We had 200 people in the audience, including friends, friend's parents, friends who drove in from Chicago, former teachers, and lots and lots of strangers. Every time we screen it - it is just such a good feeling to hear the audience response.

After the Q and A - we invited everyone to join us at Blueberry Hill.

The next day, we got to play. After another morning of baked goodness from Chef Debby, we went to the City Museum. If you ever have a chance to go, it is such a fun, bizarre, over-stimulating wacky museum. We climbed through weird tunnels, ate marshmallows at a bonfire, and, of course, no day out would be complete without a viewing of the world's largest pair of underwear.

We then watched some very young and talented circus performers putting on a show at the museum. If it didn't make us nauseous to think about, we would even mention how great these kids would be in a documentary.

After dinner at Sara's favorite restaurant, The Establishment Formerly Know As Cafe Natasha, we went to the Awards Banquet. We were told that we had the second biggest audience at the festival (the bigger gathering, of course, a silent Japanese film). And - we did not get an audience award - losing to... wait for it... a film about vaginal fistulas.

We actually had nothing but positive feedback that night, which was really nice. We sang karaoke with our new friends from Disney, Brian and Nicole. We sang "Part Of That World" and a little Nelly, because they go together so well.