Friday, March 15, 2002
Last week at about this time, I was sitting in a pub in Silver Spring Maryland with my good friends David Todd and Kevin Osborn. I was in town to attend the D.C. Independent Film Festival. Kevin drove down from New Jersey for the occasion and picked me up at the airport on his way. Dave was playing local host and had brought us to one of his favorite hangouts to toast the occasion with a pitcher or two of beer. It was a great start to a great weekend and made me realize how lucky I am to have such great buddies.
But enough about those two, let's get back to me. Yes, Saturday, March 2nd was the World Premier of Dante's View at the Visions Theater in Washington D.C. Despite the cold weather, persistent rain and early showtime, the turnout for the event was underwhelming. Sharing the bill with two bush league short subjects and a boring, self-indulgent documentary didn't help matters. Nevertheless, when Dante hit the screen, the sacred darkened space of the cinema was transformed into a world of bold imagery, hypnotic music, riveting performances and shamanistic storytelling. The lucky few who were there to witness the event left with lives forever changed in ways that they may now only dimly perceive.
One audience member called it "brilliant," while another gushed "it was pretty good."
Strangely, I was completely unmolested by mobs of passionate female film students as we left the theater and headed off through the rain in search of more pitchers of beer. Fortunately, however, I was able to recall an old Adams-Morgan haunt from the days when this same neighborhood was my stomping ground, a place called Millie & Al's, and there we did at last find beer.
I spent the rest of the week checking out some of the competition at the festival, visiting with Dave and his family and digging up some ghosts from a past life that has been all too-well preserved. I saw a couple of short films that really impressed me, including one called Copy Shop that is nominated for an academy award. But for the most part, I felt they had a long way to go to match the blazing intensity of Dante's View.
I also managed to catch a wicked sore throat, possibly having something to do with the cold, rainy weather and pitchers of beer, and spent much of my time wandering the streets in a kind of semiconscious delirium in which the murky past, the fantasized future and the slightly unreal present mingled into one long semi-autobiographical waking dream.
On Thursday night, Dave accompanied me to the awards ceremony, by which point I was so groggy that I thought I was going to pass out during my acceptance speech. Luckily I didn't have to make an acceptance speech, as I wasn't being given any awards. I didn't mind too much though, the short that did win is also nominated for an academy award and there were plenty of other shorts that cost a lot more than mine to produce and didn't win anything either.
I did have a speech prepared, however, and I felt like I deserved something special for writing, producing, directing, shooting, editing and now marketing my very first movie. So, I decided to give myself an award. I picked out a suitable trophy: a five-inch high, gold-plated replica of the Washington Monument, which I am awarding myself in a ceremony held later this week (as soon as it arrives in the mail). Since all the cool awards have nicknames, I have decided to call it "The Golden Dickie" or just "The Dickie" for short.
And now, if I may...
First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who worked on the movie, especially Jon, Ivana, Patti, Linda, Mike, Blake and Dimitri. They all did so much more than their credits suggest and this award honors their achievement as much as mine. I'd also like to thank my friends for their support and encouragement, particularly my brothers in the Mariner's Gate who believed in me and taught me how to believe in myself. I'd like to thank my family for their faith and enthusiasm, my sisters for their loyalty and hope and my parents for their trust and patience. Finally, I'd like to thank myself for never giving up even when there seemed to be no reason to continue, and for having a dream and working to make it come true. That's what this award is, a dream come true. And no matter how many other awards or trophies I might receive, the Golden Dickie will always be the first in my heart. Thank-you.
At this point, the band is playing the theme song from Dante's View and a really tall blonde babe with fake boobs is taking me by the arm and leading me off the stage...
I guess I haven't completely gotten over my delirium, but what the hell -- if you can't live a rich and fulfilling fantasy life, what's the point of living in a fantasy world at all?
Most of all, I'd like to thank all of you, the little people -- you know who you are. Each and every one of you deserves a Golden Dickie of your very own.
Did I forget to thank the Academy?
Saturday, March 02, 2002
DANTE'S VIEW had its East Coast Premiere on Saturday March 2, 2002 at Visons Theater in Washington D.C. as part of the DC Independent Film Festival.
Below are copies of the acceptance email from the festival organizers to Richard Eastman, the festival program showing the date and time of the DANTE'S VIEW premiere screening, as well as a schedule and filmmaker's pass.