FACING ALI VANCOUVER

It’s been a really good couple of weeks for Facing Ali at the 377 film Vancouver International Film Festival. Ali himself came up for a private screening, which was surreal and wonderful. Then the two festival screenings were sold out. Another show was added by so-called popular demand, which I thought would have about 12 people at it, but it sold out too. The Muhammad Ali mystique, charisma and popularity endures and then endures further.

Then last night, although I wasn’t there because I’m a fool, Facing Ali won the Audience Choice for best documentary—which is fun, fortunate and appreciated. Congratulations to all the wonderful and talented folks who worked on the film.

The audience chose Facing Ali (Canada/BC), directed by Pete McCormack, for the second annual documentary Audience Award, most popular nonfiction film.

These awards etc are so subjective and all that, so it’s good to be, this time, subjectively lucky.

Northernstars.ca, the Canadian Movie database wrote:

Nearly half of this year’s feature and mid-length films were non-fiction, and audiences chose Peter McCormack’s Facing Ali (BC/Canada) for the second annual Documentary Audience Award for most popular non-fiction. The festival buzz and the line-ups told us something was up for this amazing piece.

Due to a fairly busy schedule, I only saw a few other films. We Live in Public (which won at Sundance and is directed by the wonderful filmmaker Ondi Timoner, who I had a chance to spend a little time with) and The Most Dangerous Man in America, about Daniel Ellsberg and the release of the top secret so-called Pentagon Papers in the early 70s. Both films were both riveting.

Before the festival began, I also met Eva, the woman in the documentary 65 Red Roses. She has cystic fibrosis, and in the documentary, amazingly, had a full lung transplant. She was really a lovely, articulate woman, and I really wanted to see the film, but wasn’t able to. But more importantly, the film won three awards, which is fantastic.

I didn’t see the film that won best Canadian feature, either, I KILLED MY MOTHER (J’ai tué ma mere), but the director is Quebec’s Xavier Dolan, and something like 22 years old, and sounds like he could become one of those brilliant, rich, famous, genius types, another example of great Canadian talent.

I also really want to see both another people’s choice award, the documentary Soundtrack for a Revolution, about music from the civil rights movement, and the film that one for best environmental documentary, At the Edge of the World, which I think is about Paul Watson and his team’s fight for endangered whales and other vital, remarkable sisters and brothers of a different species.

In short, we’re fortunate to be in such talented and wonderful company.

What a cool and rewarding few weeks. We got big love from the audiences. Tears. Gratitude. Joy. It’s a sweet thing in a crazy, impermanent world.

Today, in fact right now, I’m actually sitting here working on a screenplay while also trying to figure out how to put a few other projects into so-called production or pre-production. What order to begin? Funding first? Shooting first? A mix? Anxiety? Fear? Courage?

An administrator I’m not, but the dreams have their own push.

Lots of love to you, and gratitude to those who came and voted. Loved doing the Q&As, as always, with my big mouth.

Pete

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