I have been to award shows before, but none that I really connected with and none that made me say “I want that” at the end of the night….
The Independent Spirit Awards was fun, heartfelt and entertaining… I was seated at a table that was in the 2nd row from the stage and I had Ryan (my husband) to my left and none other than John Powers
(film critique for Vogue magazine) to my right! Seated next to Ryan was Susan King
(film writer for the LA Times) and the because we were at the New Zealand table, we also had Phil Keoghan
and his wife (host of my favorite TV show “The Amazing Race”), Barrie Osborne and his lovely wife and a few members of the Tourism NZ team! Great company and great conversations!
The room was packed with A list celebrities, up and coming film makers and industry pro’s and want to bee’s (aka moi) but it all just felt like a level playing field. Ego’s were checked at the door and acceptance speeches were long, but heartfelt with lots of “Thanks” given to family members and LOTS of tears (it put me a little at ease for the horrid flashbacks I keep having from balling before my screening of “Sweet As” in New Zealand – its normal… I’m normal… Hurrah!).
Anyhow, the night began with me having a freak attack over what to wear! Now I know that this is normal in many women’s lives – not mine! I usually take a maximum of 20 minutes to get ready for anything (that includes shower time), but the problem was that I have gained weight over the past few months and therefore could not fit into any of my clothes (agh!). I finally decided on a white, eye lit dress by “Ghost” as it was a little dressy but still casual. I put Ryan’s outfit together and he wore it despite the fact that he said he felt like a Jonas Brother (though secretly I think he liked it)!
We then drove downtown to LA LIVE where the event was being held for the first time (it used to be at the beach) and everyone pulled up to the VIP/ VALET entrance in their limo’s and town cars - we did in my little Alfie (my mini cooper) who I believe has not been washed in over 5 months (agh)! Not to mention the fact that I also have a pirate flag that flaps proudly from my rear antenna – a sight to behold!
We skipped the red carpet and went straight up to the “cocktail” hour.
We spotted Andres at the New Zealand tent so we went over there and “ohhed” and “ahhhed” over the films playing (it was so cool to see my movie up there)! The reception for “Sweet As” was amazing!
Great to hear people talk about it who have no connection to me what so ever and for them to say it is fantastic without knowing that I made it – I know that you should not have to rely on outside validation, but it is always nice!
I was then asked to have some pics taken… I never realized how awkward I am in front of the camera (hence that I am behind it!), but I felt like I was posing for my high school yearbook photo… I really hope that they don't use any of them as I can only imagine what they look like! On a more casual note, Barrie’s wife Carol Kim was nice enough to offer to take some pics of Barrie and I in front of my movie so we snapped away which was great…
I was then whisked off to the press tent where I walked past Elton John (what was he doing there? I ask myself the same question… but it was cool so who cares!) and then was sat down to do an interview for Empire magazine.
With my backstage, press pass!
It is an article that is going to be predominantly about Andres but they wanted to chat with me too, which was great. I cracked them all up and then they compared me to such directors as “Guy Richie”, “David Fincher” and “Tim Burton” – I almost DIED… with the exception of Guy Richie (though he is one of Ryan’s favorite directors) I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE (there are not enough “LOVE” words to describe my LOVE) of Fincher and Burton… WOW WOW WOW! I have had a silly smile on my face ever since!
It was then into the HUGE tent for the event and dinner. Each round table had a table number
and a nameplate so you knew exactly where to sit. In the middle were a HUGE bottle of champagne and a HUGE bottle of whiskey (must to Ryan’s delight). Dinner was salmon on rice with green beans (Ryan ate mine as I am vegetarian) and then dessert was little tarts, cupcakes and strawberries. The food was so so (but who on earth cared!). We also had HUGE goodie bags sitting on our chairs – I had to restrain myself from ripping it open to see what was inside (naturally it was the first thing I did when I got home)…
The Awards show was great – we were right next to the “Precious” tables as well as –Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters (Ryan was in awe) as well as Matt Dillon and Ethan Hawke.
Two tables away was Adrian Brody, Maggie Gillenhall and Jeff Bridges blab la blab la… it was exciting!
I also ran into my neighbor Sharon Lawrence (the actress) who is the head of Women in Film.
She was so excited about the movie that she gave me her card (she has never done this before) and also info about a finishing fund that they have set up… now I just need to start a movie so I can finish it! I have promised myself that I am 100% (full time job) going to search high and low for the perfect script, story etc to make into a movie this year… MUST MUST MUST!
What was also exciting about the Spirit Awards was that there were quite a few women that received awards (including best director)…. How exciting! Especially when the number of women in film has in fact declined over the years instead of the opposite (specially in principal positions such as Director, Producer, Cinematographer etc)… must turn that frown upside down!
Ok ok, so after the show it was off to the after party. We had a few more drinks (for me that means diet coke) at the New Zealand tent and then went across the street to party like rock stars.
To be honest, the after party was kind of dead… no one was dancing (though that did not stop us from busting a move) and there was no food (we were STARVING) with the exception of what I call “White Trash” candy (Twinkies, hoho’s, twizlers, raisenetts)…. It was cute, but I was hoping for some cheese and crackers!
We danced, we ate Twinkies, we had a drink and mingled and then it was time for Ryan and I to retire.
Busting a pose with the host of the night Eddie Izzard
We walked back to the valet stand to get Alfie and had a chuckle as they brought him around, pirate flag a fluttering as other guests of the awards piled into their chauffeured, black cars – awesome!
What an amazing end to what has been an amazing experience. I now need to up the ante. I have applied to several fellowships (one for the ABD/ DGA Directing Fellowship) that Barrie Osborne was kind enough to write my recommendation for (though I don't have a good feeling for some reason about getting accepted into that program) and then Monday I will be mailing my application to the HBO/ DGA directing fellowship (which you needed working, professional directors to write you recommendations for – this was a HUGE challenge but thank god I was able to secure one from Judd Apatow
(the director of “40 year old Virgin”, “Knocked Up”, “funny People” etc as well as Mark Romanek
who is probably the most famous music video director with such gems as “Michael Jackson’s “History”, Madonna’s “Rain” and “Bedtime Stories”, Weezers "El Scorcho” not to mention the feature film “One Hour Photo” with Robin Williams). In addition, my champion, BFF, advocate, agent, manager, super star friend Mardie looks to have an additional trick up her sleeve for me (we have to wait and see!!)…
Now we have to keep our fingers crossed! Tonight I am off to see Alice in Wonderland (Tim Burtons latest) in 3D with Ryan, Alia and Sabrina…
I CANT WAIT… what an amazing few days I have had… SO LUCKY!