The American Film Market took over the city for the past week, and its effects were felt in the boom in hotel rooms, restaurant wait times and the crowded sidewalks. I know many people have a love/hate relationship with the huge number of travelers that come to town during this week of movie business excess, but let’s face it – it’s very good for the city in the long run.
Having a huge number of people become de facto tourism ambassadors for the ease of life here, and the great restaurants is a boon, and one that they paid us to learn about! That is called genius marketing.
The Market as a whole seemed to be a very well attended event this year from my perspective, the Loews Santa Monica Beach hotel was swarming with buyers and sellers all week. Security was tight, getting into the hotel but this year in a pleasant change there were fewer guards and the flow was easier throughout the eight floors of offices.
I had a chance to drop in on my friend Jason Brubaker of FilmMakingStuff.com fame as he was representing Distribber.com. As usual, the ever-changing film business has many new changes coming down the road and giving filmmakers the ability to distribute their films more easily and cost-effectively is what Distribber is all about.
One of the many nice things about being a regular at the American Film Market is that you see people you met last year. There were many of these reunions happening and it’s a testament to the “community aspect” of what the market represents. Even though there are loads of new faces, I saw many that I recognized from years past.
The umbrella effect of the Market is that the city has a bustling feel to it, and we experienced that on Saturday night as a couple friends and I went to see Bohemian Rhapsody. As a biopic of one of the greatest singers of all time, I have to say that I feel the movie did great justice to Farrokh Balsora or Freddie Mercury after he changed his name. Rami Malek was astounding as the effervescent, tragic and brilliant Mercury. He captured for me the innate insecurity of Mercury, and yet, managed to also create the staged electricity for which he was known.
Mercury was incandescent as an artist, and his personal life troubles were in an odd way a beacon of hope to this young gay man as a teen. This was the mid to late 80’s when being gay was a death sentence, more so than today. The world was still grappling with the criminality of being gay, let alone the loss of humanity to AIDS.
Thankfully Bohemian Rhapsody deals with this tragic loss in a respectful but not consuming way. It’s a truthful depiction of the era and what the diagnosis meant both medically and socially. The storyline though doesn’t dwell on it, rather recites it as a fact and moves on to the genius of the man, and the power of forgiveness when Queen reunites for the Live Aid concert.
We caught the early show and then went to grab dinner, and this is where the AFM crowds caused me consternation. I wanted to go to North Italia on Second Street for some of their radiatori with short ribs and horseradish sauce. Alas, there was a 40-minute wait and that was just not going to happen with our crowd, so we headed over to the King’s Head for some fish and chips. They were pretty crowded in the bar, but as we wanted food the back rooms were a bit less busy and we were seated quickly.
It seemed oddly appropriate upon reflection to be seated in a British Pub and Restaurant after seeing the genius Brits who made Queen, Queen. All things considered, it was another great night, and as we bid farewell to the American Film Market for another year, I think I’ll head over to North Italia and see if I can sneak in early…
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310/664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra