Storytime for grown-ups in Vail
VAIL, Colorado ” I’m too old to use alcohol as a coping mechanism in Colorado’s Vail Valley ” the hangovers do me in. These days I choose movies instead. Stories.
And I’m not alone. While there’s been a hiccup on the financing side of making movies, the actual box-office take has roared through the phrase “current economic times” and become an exception to the rule. There’s no business like show business.
We crave escape. Whether it’s a shoot ’em up, a kissing film or a tale of the unsquashable human spirit dreaming big, it’s comforting to give ourselves over to somebody else’s story. We’re well trained to embrace poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “willing suspension of disbelief.” It nourishes us.
Vail Film Festival creators were expecting a decline in festival interest this year ” it seemed natural in light of financial constraints. But we humans are running true to form, even with an independent film festival.
“They say the movie industry is recession-proof,” Sean Cross, one of the festival’s founders, said. “There will always be an appeal for film.”
Ticket sales are better than they were last year. There’s a grass-roots buzz whipping through the town: film fest, film fest, film fest. And a scaled-back schedule allows for a more thorough, in-depth experience of the festival as a whole. But ultimately, it’s all about movies. We love them.
“One of the things that makes films so appealing is you don’t have to be an expert to have an opinion on it,” Cross said.
Though the indy film biz is certainly subject to trends ” filmmakers are part of the world, after all ” the Vail Film Festival’s screening committee isn’t. It’s not a political festival, though there are political films. It’s not only about the edgy or experimental, the entertaining or glossy. It’s about compelling stories.
“Our main drive is to seek out quality films that will engage the audience and carry them through the story,” Cross said. “I see a ton of movies and I think I always will. I’m also looking for that kind of escape. But beyond getting into someone else’s world, you can actually learn about other people and other cultures. It’s not just about escapism.”
Though any concertgoer/movie fan/festivarian/reader will attest, sometimes the way to become more you is to lose yourself a little. And that is a lot about escape ” escape from our precepts and suppositions, our judgements and inner dialogues. And, if it’s really good, escape from tomorrow’s hangover. Because there’s no need to pour another glass when you’re already buzzed on a story well told.