The 2012 Indy Film Fest is successfully under way, after an Opening Night event that exceeded all of our wildest expectations. I was up until 3am, and I'm pretty sure I was still on cloud nine when I did finally get to bed. We welcomed over 300 people to our screening of the well-received THE ORANGES, followed by a party where the anticipation of the amazing ten days of films, conversations and experiences to come was tangible, indeed.
The wind, however, has been knocked out of me this morning. Waking to the news about the tragedy at the late-night screening of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, my heart is heavy. Perhaps it's the timing most of all, but to hear of such a horrific turn of events occur at - of all places - a movie theater leaves me shocked, saddened and, in some strange way, filled with resolve.
If I've said it once, I've said it a million times: the Indy Film Fest exists to create a shared experience around film. In an age when we can watch the latest releases in the palm of our hands, sound piped in via earbuds - the most solitary of experiences - the festival exists as an antidote. We ARE community. We ARE a gathering place. Three hundred people collectively laughing at the one-liners, gasping at the third-act reveals, cheering on the underdog - there is a humanity there, something palpable and inescapable, that has kept cinema seats full for decades.
It's why entire weekends full of screenings of TDKR have sold out across the country, why we don't think twice about going to a screening that doesn't even start till 3am. If we were truly OK with consuming these stories on our own terms - from our iPads, on the subway, on our own - movie theaters would've shuttered as a whole decades ago; the movie-going experience would've disappeared all together.
And yet, it persists. It persists because we gravitate towards community, we gravitate towards sharing our lives, our experiences, our opinions and our impressions with each other. What's the first thing you do when the credits start to roll? You ask the person next to you what they thought of the story you both just saw unfold on screen. You relive it, you disect it, you quote it and, if it's a truly special flick, you turn to it again and again down the road.
My heart and my prayers are with everyone who was in that theater this morning; I cannot imagine the fear, confusion, and sadness that unfolded during the tragic turn of events (and will continue to process, I'm sure). The Paris premiere of the film has been canceled out of respect of these events, an appropriately sober response. Here at the Indy Film Fest, we will go on. Not only will we go on, but we begin screenings today with that theater in our hearts. The 2012 Indy Film Fest is now yours, Aurora, CO.
As you come to a film at this year's festival - just one, or several over the next week - I have just one request of you: gather in the spirit of the shared experience through film that no one - no technology, no attacker, no one - can take away from us.