Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Interview With A Seattle Audience Member for Date Number One

(Originally published on Sat 5/20)

Tom Kipp, Seattle resident (& former film reviewer for the Seattle alterna weekly The Stranger, if I heard correctly), came to the 7 PM show today. Here's an interview:

Sujewa: So Tom, how did you hear about my movie playing at Northwest Film Forum (NWFF) tonight?

Tom: Well, I was checking the NWFF website yesterday for info about LOVE STREAMS, and quite randomly found the blurb about DATE NUMBER ONE. I read parts of your blog, and couldn't resist a film about D.C.! [I lived in Burke, VA for five years--'87 to '92--and used to hang out in D.C. all the time.]

Sujewa: Excellent. Glad you came. So how did you like the movie (feel free to elaborate :)?

Tom: I thought the framing device you deployed [having all the characters in some way appended to the Adams-Morgan bookstore] was quite effective, and entirely plausible. It reminded me a little of the odd "social rivulets", as it were, that emanated out from The Record & Tape Exchange, which I used to manage out in Fairfax, VA, in the way that lifelong friendships and doomed "hookups" would both occur in a perfectly organic way, all because folks wanted to buy cheap music, or even kill time at the suburban strip mall where the store was located!

Sujewa: That's a bookstore in Kensington, MD. But I can see how you thought it was in Adams-Morgan. There are a lot of shots of Adams-Morgan in story # 2. Which story out of the 5 was your favorite, and why?

Tom: I think the sweetest, most relaxed, and most satisfying is #5, and the "French" lesson is really sexy, without being all that improbable! Coming in, I was most curious about #2, the "Threesome" episode, because I'd seen the photos of Jennifer & Dele on your blog, and who wouldn't want to watch actresses that gorgeous! I wasn't quite as fond of the episode as a whole, partly due to the "blah-blah" parts, though they're really funny at first. The other story I really enjoyed was #3, because the two actors were so adept at pushing each other's buttons, and they seemed so relaxed in front of the camera.

Sujewa: Excellent. Yup, Story 2 does feature two incredibly attractive performers. That one is an odd story, more dramatic (at least that was the goal) than the rest. I think it adds some interesting ideas & maybe a little bit of weight to the otherwise light film. What did you think (or did you think about this at all?) about there being many minority actors in the movie? Or what did you think about the multi-ethnic approach to casting?

Tom: I didn't register that as a Major Statement at all, but I thought it very true to the nature of the Greater-D.C. boho community as I experienced it, particularly in the sense that it's no big deal around that area to know folks from all over the world, and very common for people of different ethnicities to hang out, date, and chat about the most unusual aspects of their "pre-D.C." or "extra-D.C." lives. I found that people were always curious about my own upbringing in Montana--my sister and I grew up on three Indian Reservations there, due to our dad being a forester with the Bureau of Indian Affairs--and wondered how someone from such a rural part of the U.S. had acquired a huge record collection or knew so much about punk rock, for example. And I was always really pleased to meet people who'd done unusual things or lived overseas, which was a near-daily occurrence living around D.C.

Sujewa: Yeah, it's a strange world. Both you & Mark Andersen (DC activist - founder of We Are Family social service org & author of DC punk history book Dance Of Days) are from Montana & both of you have large record collections. And both of you lived in DC probably at the same time for a while. How do you think the movie will play in Montana?

Tom: It would've done very well, I think, in the Old Missoula of The Crystal Theater, which was the great Rocky Mountain Art House from the early-'70s until just a few years ago. And there may well be a newer venue that has filled the post-Crystal void, though I haven't been in town since '99, so I don't know that for certain. I'd say DATE NUMBER ONE is precisely the charmingly unpredictable sort of relationship-oriented movie that Missoula's filmgoing community would've flocked to when I lived there ['82 to '87], much as they did to STRANGER THAN PARADISE, DOWN BY LAW or SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT, back in the day!

Sujewa: Thanks for those awesome comparisons Tom! Let's hope the modern day versions of that crowd discovers Date Number One. Thank you for doing this interview right here in the lobby of the Northwest Film Forum (where right now a local theater group is shooting an improve piece). Feel free to talk here about anything you want, related to the film, before we say goodbye for now.

Tom: Well, Sujewa, I'm just really pleased that I lucked into seeing your film and meeting up with you, and I'd like to congratulate you on being able to put FIVE really entertaining, fully-realized romantic interludes on the screen. Your film definitely catches the part of falling for another person that I particularly like, namely the fact that it can go ANYWHERE, and that you could never have imagined going in how it would turn out, or who the person who caught your eye would ACTUALLY turn out to be! Which is a shamefully rare achievement, considering how many films work some variation on this terrain. Good luck!

Sujewa: Thanks Tom! Feel free to ask some questions from me (if you have any).

Tom: The first thing I'd like to know, frankly, is how you wrote your script, whether one of the five stories was originally going to be the basis for an entire feature, or whether you conceived the film as an "anthology" from the git-go? And also, when in the process you came up with the bookstore-as-framing concept?

Sujewa: I planned it from the beginning as an anthology film. Looks like the last show is over & NWFF is closing. Thanks for the interview & talk to you soon Tom.

- Sujewa

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