Alec Baldwin's podcast "Here's the Thing" is one of the most regularly entertaining shows in regular rotation on my phone. Baldwin's growling voice and easy familiarity with showbiz legends are reason enough to tune in, but things get even more entertaining for me when he features indie filmmakers and then geeks out about film festivals.
For example, this conversation with Josh Fox (Gasland, Gasland Part 2) :
Alec Baldwin: Aside from your elevation sickness, describe as a filmmaker, not as a person with a bad – with a weak stomach. What happened with – at Sundance?
Josh Fox: Well, I met the most incredible filmmakers and people. I started to appreciate who documentarians were. They knew how to tell a story. They cared about the world. They were not motivated by ego or being in a film. They were motivated by fixing some huge problem.
Alec Baldwin: And they liked your film.
Josh Fox: And they like – and they accepted me.
Alec Baldwin: That must have been great.
Josh Fox: That was amazing.
Alec Baldwin: That's exhilarating.
Even better is this mention of the sadly-defunct festival CineVegas when discussing Fox's 2008 film Memorial Day.
Alec Baldwin: What did you do with that film?
Josh Fox: It got rejected from every film festival on the face of the planet and then it got into a film festival called Cina Vegas [sic] in Las Vegas, which just happened to be programmed by Trevor Groth who also programs Sundance. And he saw this and he thought it was crazy and we had 50 people walk out in the first half hour of the movie. It was a weird situation because they thought it was a beach movie and they ended up in a torture movie and it was kind of both.
Alec Baldwin: Like Full Metal Jacket as a recruitment movie.
Josh Fox: Well, it was – it got compared to Full Metal Jacket by Robert Koehler.
Alec Baldwin: Until D'Onofrio blows his head off.
Josh Fox: Yeah, but it was like – I – we got – people stormed the box office and said –
Alec Baldwin: No.
Josh Fox: Yes, they did. Yes, they did. They stormed the boxes and said, 'We're gonna burn the casino down if you show this again.' The box –
Alec Baldwin: Because they thought it was anti-American.
Josh Fox: The box office – I don't even know what they were thinking. I'm not really sure.
That was the kind of festival CineVegas was. That same year the festival premiered South of Heaven, a nihilistic road movie so violent and weird that a minute or so of silence kicked off the Q&A. South of Heaven eventually found its way to home video, but if Memorial Day is out there I couldn't find it in a quick web search.
The entire interview with Fox is worth a listen, not only as an examination of the natural gas industry (the subject of Fox's documentaries), but particularly as an example of the power an independent film can have to change the world.