Sunday, February 3, 2013

SBIFF Outstanding Performance of the Year

Dear Jennifer Lawrence,

On behalf of the City of Santa Barbara, I apologize.

There were thousands of us waiting outside the Arlington Theater for you, many with tickets and many without, all buzzing with electric energy at the prospect of seeing your amazing self. The idea of it turned this nearly twenty five year old into a literal squealing fan girl. I screamed for you, oh yes I did.

You're back there somewhere.
I love that you admitted
taking a pic of this sign too.

You looked so beautiful in person, that isn't even in question. But I know the night was probably not what you had imagined, and for that, I am sorry. Considering after the first five minutes I had to take a gazillion pictures trying to just get one of you smiling (unless you were laughing uncomfortably), I imagine you didn't enjoy yourself very much.

Just the other night, my parents and I discussed how, in years past, too many of the Santa Barbara Film Festival events have been moderated by the executive director of the festival, Roger Durling. By all appearances the man is good at most parts of his job, as SBIFF gets great guests every year and is truly a blast to attend (though somewhat poorly organized), but the man should never, ever, ever allowed to speak in public, nor should he ever be allowed to interview anyone. But this year, he seemed to have taken a step back, and had yet to step out on stage at any of the events any of us had attended. And for that, we were incredibly grateful. I cannot even tell you how many times in the past he has essentially ruined events we've gone to.

And then...last night. When the evening started, and the announcer said, "Please welcome your moderater, Roger Durling," I'm telling you Jennifer, my heart kind of fucking broke. I went from being completely excited  and exhilarated to one hundred percent disappointed. And I think you'll agree with me, I was right to feel that way.

So I am truly, truly sorry for the incredible awkwardness you endured last night at the hands of Mr. Durling. We all are. The entire audience was talking about just how awful it was as we poured out into the streets. I honestly over-reacted a bit after the event was over, bitching and moaning the loudest of all of them, because I was so sad at how the whole thing had panned out. You clearly didn't enjoy yourself. I barely enjoyed myself. You'll leave with a horrible opinion of this town and this festival, and that just sucks.

I mean, come on. The night began like this:

"You did a lot of theater growing up---"
"No...I'm sorry, but no. This is really awkward, but no."

Seriously, Roger Durling? You do 10 minutes of Wikipedia research instead of actually making sure you know something about the twice Academy Award-nominated actress you're interviewing? For shame.

I mean, you had a few opportunities to show your charm, and make the 2200 person audience laugh. And we were ripe for it, we all loved you so much. But Roger barely gave you an opportunity, since most of the night went like this:

"What was it like to work with that director? And that one? And that one?"

"And what was that like? How was that? Did you enjoy that?"

"You're so great."
"Thank you."

"You show a lot of emotion when you act."
"...thank you?"

"Here's a clip!"

I think your faces say it all.

But okay, it wasn't all bad. I had to note down a few times you were just too adorable. But here's the thing: adorable is your natural state, non? I mean, it's like it bubbles out of you without your consent. Within five minutes of sitting down you'd tossed the decorative pillows aside and said, "It's hard to be comfortable and look cute in front of 2,000 people. I could take off my pants. I'm not going to take off my pants. Forget I said that."

Later, Roger brought up that you are now the role model to millions of young girls because of The Hunger Games. I'm not even sure if he phrased it as a question, which was seriously the worst, he'd yammer on for awhile then there'd be this pause and you'd realize he finally wanted you to talk. Anyway, you said something like, "I do like being a role model. And it's good I don't have a secret life or anything, 'cause that would be awkward." And also about The Hunger Games, you mentioned struggling with deciding whether or not to take the role because up until that point you had only done small indie projects, and your mother said you were a hypocrite, because you always said you didn't pick your projects based on the size of the studio or the money but the story and character, but now you were maybe rejecting a story and character you loved because it was TOO big. I thought that was awesome.

My favorite bit of the night was when you were talking about how you don't learn your lines in advance, usually learning them the day you shoot your scenes. "It started because I was lazy..." I knew we were soul sisters! And too, I loved what you said about how everyone has a different gift or talent, and jokingly, "fortunately mine is very lucrative".

Another good part of the night was David O Russell giving his speech at the end and presenting you with your award. I loved his Robert De Niro story, which is impossible to translate via text.

Oh, yeah, and one more great part of the night, but more in a schadenfreude way. Roger Durling misinterpreted one of your awkward "thank yous" to one of his random rambles as being uncomfortable with compliments, and then said, "You know, I'm uncomfortable getting compliments too..." and the group of women behind us just BURST out laughing, like that was just about the most outrageous possibility. So good.

Seriously, there could not be a single person sitting in that audience who thought the evening went well and I can only hope the Board of Directors of the film festival never, ever let him do an interview ever again after what he put you through.

Of course, yes, I had fun. It was great to see you in person, and I've been looking forward to it for weeks, months. But it was definitely not all I had hoped it would be, probably not all you hoped it would be, and definitely not all it COULD have been with a different interviewer on board, like Dave Karger from the Virtuoso Awards last week, who was fantastic.

Again, I just want to say I'm sorry. I was really truly sad when the night was over, and I'm not sure why. It's silly to say I was crushed, but I was. I don't know you, this night was not my fault, and you probably didn't give a fuck that it was so damn terrible. My mom said it's because I over-identify with you. Probably.

Obviously, I still adore you. I still hope to run into you sometime and save you from the paparazzi and become BFFs. We'll see.

Until then, I hope your next interview is far less awkward.


1 comment:

  1. On point and well done girl! Time for an emergency board meeting over at the @SBIFF, I'd say.