This past June I got word that my good friend Peet Gelderblom's short film Out Of Sync had been chosen to screen at the I've Seen Films International Film Festival in Milan, Italy, the jury of which included actress Miranda Richardson, director Anton Corbijn (The American, Control) and actor Rutger Hauer, most well-known on these shores for his heart-stopping performance as Roy Batty, the regretful replicant leader in Blade Runner.
Peet's movie is sincerely terrific, and I'm hardly the only one who thought so. But now you can add the festival jury to the ever-growing roster of those impressed by the movie and Peet's talent as a director. This past week the movie received a Special Mention certificate from Hauer and was lauded by all who saw it. And now Peet’s award-winning short film Out of Sync is finally online. It's in HD quality, so when you enlarge the Vimeo to fill the screen it looks better than it’s ever looked before. You must go and see it now—it’s only 10 minutes long, and you can spare 10 minutes for this movie. When you’re there be sure to leave a comment in the site’s guestbook and let Peet know what you thought in your own words.
I got an e-mail from Peet a day or so ago in which he described the whole Milan scene to me. With his permission, here’s exactly what he had to say:
“Last Friday night, my short Out of Sync received a Special Mention award at Rutger Hauer's I've Seen Films International Film Festival in Milan. The film screened together with 249 other works from 72 countries, selected from a total of 3,482 submissions. Since I hadn't been able to attend earlier screenings in Florida and Pittsburgh, the chance to visit this festival in one of Europe's most beautiful cities was an offer I couldn't refuse. I called up my old friend Mick, who used to be my best buddy back when we were studying Graphic Arts, and invited him to come along. The two of us hadn't seen each other in about eight years, so this seemed like an ideal opportunity to catch up.
(Peet Gelderblom hangs out with Rutger Hauer and creative partner Mick Hulzenboom in Milan. I'm imagining that when Hauer saw Out of Sync he rose from his chair and shouted, with Batty-esque grandiosity, "Yes! That's the spirit!")
Out of Sync screened Thursday evening, October 7th, at Gnomo Milano Cinema. Mick and I took an early flight and planned on visiting the Blade Runner Q&A at IULM University first. Unfortunately, our plane was delayed and we couldn't make it in time. Bummer! We settled for a late lunch instead, before watching Out of Sync in digital HD with a crowd that seemed to like it quite a bit.
The Gala Award Ceremony, presented by Bill Bristow, took place in a fully packed ‘Eight Column Hall’ of Milan’s Royal Palace, right next to the enormous Duomo cathedral (‘impressive’ doesn't begin to describe it). Rutger Hauer handed out the awards in person and, oddly enough, I was the first to be called on stage. A memorable moment, for sure, although it was over before I knew it. As I walked back to my seat, a Dutch lady on the first row congratulated me. I made a mental note to meet up with her later that evening.
(Here's Peet chatting up Anton Corbijn, renowned photographer, director of The American and jury member at the I've Seen Films International Film Festival)
As soon as I got the chance, I walked over to Anton Corbijn and congratulated him with his stunning second feature The American. (Funny that it takes a movie called The American to make you feel proud of being European.) Corbijn expressed his surprise that the film didn't open well in Italy, despite George Clooney's popularity, the Italian setting and a cast of well-known local actors. We talked about the pressures of working within the Hollywood system (‘It forces you to come up with creative solutions--not unlike a celebrity photo shoot’) and about digital versus analog cinematography. Obviously, Corbijn is a sucker for the grainy imperfection of good-old celluloid (what cinephile isn't?), and he rather enjoys the magical wait between shooting and seeing your footage. I told him about my good experiences with the RED camera and recommended the British Wallander series with Kenneth Brannagh as an exquisite example of stylish digital cinematography. Corbijn claimed to know nothing of light, by the way (yeah right), even though he composed nearly every shot in The American himself.
Mick and I drank prosecco with a few of the other winners: director Sil van der Woerd and singer Anouk de Groot (who won Best Music Video and Best Music Performer respectively) and Maria Heidemann (who also won a Special Mention that evening). Meanwhile, we caught up with the Dutch lady on the first row, who turned out to be Rutger's wife Ineke!
It didn't take long before Roy Batty himself joined us. I thanked him for his selection of Out of Sync (‘Yeah, of course, my pleasure!’) and told him how much I was looking forward to Hobo with a Shotgun. "It's a very, very strange movie," Hauer told me. I assured him the speech in the trailer felt like vintage Hauer. The man looked at me, pinched his eyes and smiled his famous smile.”
My sincere congratulations to Peet Gelderblom, a very talented fella who has become the most unlikely of things, a good, close friend whom I have yet to meet in the flesh. Friends of this nature have become more frequent, incredibly, over the past couple of years, but the phenomenon still seems so improbable that I doubt I will ever take for granted just how astounding it is that such a thing as true friendship can develop in this matrix of virtual connection. But the friendship Peet and I share is solid evidence that they can and they do. My best to you, good sir, on the personal and professional triumph that is Out of Sync. May its success lead to a multitude of surprises and happiness for you in both worlds.