I had a great time at the Vladivostok International Film Festival. The film was received really well. I always thought it had a bit of a russian thing going on in it. It's always nice to get feedback directly from an audience and I had a really lovely man come up to me after one of the screenings and say via an interpreter that he very much enjoyed the simplicity of the story, the more he watched, the more he realised there was more to the story than he first thought, and then in broken english he told me "In the final scene, my brain said 'yes', but my heart was saying 'no'..." I think that was what I was always looking for. I also had an interesting question in the press conference about the violence towards 10 year old 'Chook' (played by Tom Russell). The journalist asked "In Russia there is a saying where children tell their parents 'You did not beat me enough', meaning they have grown up to 'soft' and it is their parents fault. Do you think children should be beaten?" Needless to say there was an 'awkward' pause, before I went on to say that I could never condone any kind of violence towards a children. Not my own, and not to anyone elses. But then again, perhaps I'm one of the soft ones. It was an interesting cultural take on the film though.
I haven't travelled to as many festivals as I have been invited to this year for various reasons, but I was really glad to head back to Vladivostok. I hadn't watched Last Ride for nearly a year and although it was one of those screenings where I sat through and cringed at all the mistakes, the could have beens and I should haves and what ifs, it was really nice to be sitting in the dark and watching the film we made so far away from where we made it.
The photos I mentioned I was going to take have worked out well. I won't post any here just yet. But I wanted to say a special thanks to Dimitry who assisted me in finding a few a people and locations, as well translating and driving. It was really good getting to see another side of Vladivostok with him. Here he is posing with his cool russian made Zenit 35mm complete with a sinister looking 300mm lens and sniper like add ons. Thanks Dimity!