IFW: A TRUE LOVE CONNECTION?
Day One of Film Week is complete! Wow, did we ever get better at talking about Our Nixon today. Ten back-to-back 30-minute meetings with brilliant people who are really interested in your film will do have that effect.
Did Our Nixon make a true love connection? Who knows, but sparks were definitely flying. And it’s all about getting to the second date.
We came into this week with a lot of meeting requests, and although I was fairly flabbergasted by the interest we elicited, I really shouldn’t have been. Because Our Nixon has a really fantastic premise: it’s a feature doc composed of never-before-seen Super 8 home movies filmed by three of President Richard Nixon’s closest White House aides. The home movies offer an astonishingly intimate glimpse into the Nixon presidency through the point of view of some of his staffers. Our Nixon treats the three home movie makers (H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and Dwight Chapin) as the protagonists, and charts their personal trajectory from idealism and hope to disillusionment and betrayal. These three men gave up everything to devote themselves to Nixon, loyally followed all of his orders, and because of the President’s actions ended up in prison. Their story is a reflection of all Americans who believed in Nixon only to be betrayed by him in the end.
So you see, it’s a film that appeals to a lot of people for a lot of different reasons. It’s a funny film and a serious film and it’s very political without being ideologically rigid. It’s rich in historical interest, it’s about RICHARD FREAKING NIXON who is possibly the most fascinating man ever, it’s got a lot of 1970s celebrities and sweet kitsch Americana stuff, and did I mention it’s pretty funny?
So getting people to the table isn’t hard. But then what? Ah, yes, watch how the tables will turn! The sweet irony is that those very strengths, the very same things that make it stand out from the crowd in the first place, can now be feasibly seen as weaknesses! “It’s… so unusual!” “But how will it work, exactly?” “It’s all archival?” “Where are the talking heads?” I mean, we have a beautiful vision for the film and certainly very good answers to all those questions, but ultimately it’s going to have to be seen to be understood (or even believed).
But enough about me and my movie! Back to Film Week:
For those of you who have been following along: there was no complimentary coffee, and this is a very good thing because there was also no time to pee. There were indeed water bottles and name badges on lanyards, but I was wrong about the size of the room: the meetings are not taking place in a cavernous conference hall, but actually a tiny wood-paneled room with beautiful stained glass windows. It’s all very cozy and nice. Amber’s speed dating advice worked wonders for us today. We didn’t get wasted, we had good breath, we were not sleazy, et cetera. Her advice was so helpful that I decided to turn to another expert in the field.
I will admit that I bought this book because I thought it would be a good gimmick for my Film Week blog. “Ha ha,” I thought, “this will be so dumb.” But you guys, it was just like my Speed Dating gimmick, which I thought would be dumb but was totally helpful. This book actually kind of rules! I am taking it to bed with me now to finish reading it, and in tomorrow’s post I will explain why Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People has influenced my approach to Film Week. Tomorrow’s a light day: only six meetings!