Monday, November 9, 2009

The Sneak vs. the St. Louis International Film Festival

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 6:36 PM

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4. Pace yourself. Don't go see every movie you want to see. You'll emerge from the theater next week sometime with pink, wrinkly skin about the eyes like a B-movie moleman. Is this a movie you're likely to see on DVD? Is there a good chance you'll catch it at the Tivoli in three to six months? Then see something else or save your strength for a marathon weekend day. The only exception I've made to this in recent years was seeing Let The Right One In when it was at the film festival and already gaining obvious critical traction and on its way to becoming a widely-distributed hit, mostly for the bragging rights.

On the flip side, I try to make as many shorts programs as possible, because even though the Internet has helped tremendously in getting short films of all kinds an audience, there's still not a great venue to see them on anything bigger than a laptop screen. That's an absolute shame, particularly because it reduces the impact of documentary shorts and flat-out robs animated shorts (often done in experimental or more intricate styles than would be feasible for a feature-length film) of the ability to fully pull in an audience.

5. Maintain sportsmanship. Remember to sneak ethically, leaving nothing behind for the regular theater staff to clean up, even if it's something impressive like an entire pizza box. In shows likely to be crowded, don't eat anything that will require you to stick your elbows out into the personal space of the people seated on either side of you to consume (e.g., a giant sandwich). Sneaking as a group can help with these issues as well as spreading the burden of sneaking a meal around.

Most importantly, remember that seeing a flick at the film festival isn't about two hours' distraction any more than bringing food with you is about keeping your stomach from growling before the credits roll. True sneaks seek a fine blend of food and entertainment, the one enhancing the other. I wish you godspeed and sure footing this weekend, but remember: This is only the first half mile of the race.

Dara Strickland is a leading expert on sneaking food and drink into the movies. She reports on her exploits (from an undisclosed location) every Monday.

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