Foursite Festival and “Heber Holiday”
A friend of mine organizes the Foursite Film Festival every year in Ogden. I’m a slacker who generally doesn’t much care for the festival scene, but this year I’ve decided I needed to be more personally supportive of other efforts to promote film in Utah. Utah film is a relatively small group of people. I think there maybe exists, at most, three degrees of separation between any Utah filmmaker. So, aside from the mediocre opening movie, the rest of the opening night festivities were actually quite nice. A great opportunity to hang out with friends, and meet a small handful of new filmmakers from outside Utah, one from Vancouver, B.C., another from Tokyo, Japan.
As for the movie, it had a lot of potential, but failed in some of the most important ways imaginable. “Heber Holiday” is a cute uplifting story about a diva super-star actress from LA that get shipped off to Heber, Utah for a 5-week “attitude” rehab trip. After escaping from the rehab center, she meets some of the locals and ends up hiding out in town for a few days.
The acting was great, particularly from the leads. Characters were generally fun and likable, though it took a while for our leading lady to come into her own, and when she did, it lacked an appropriate transition. The photography was excellent, overlooking the occasionally missed focus mark, or the occasional excessive racking between the actress up front, and her limo driver.
So, what was the problem? Script, script, script. While some of the dialog slid off like butter on a hot knife, other lines were brutally forced. Editorial was also a problem, either the director or the editor felt it was appropriate to, literally, interrupt dialog in one scene, move the entire audience 1500 miles from Heber to LA, for a 2-minute scene, and then back again to the previous scene, complete with continuing dialog, without even so much as an establishing shot in between.
Overall, the movie got an average rating from me. The movie was brutal for the first 30 minutes, mediocre for the next 30, and finally came into its own for the last 30. I suppose its better to move up and end on a high note, than go the other way around.
Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the festival goes.