Being the film-inclined person that I am, I’m fortunate enough to have friends that likewise enjoy watching movies and will let me know when nifty movie events happen. So naturally, I eventually caught wind, albeit at very short notice, of the Boston Film Festival that happened last weekend and decided on a whim to hop out after class on Friday and go to my first film premiere.
Those who know me well will know that for all of my history of procrastination, I will occasionally be struck by fits of paranoia that result in excessive punctuality to the point of often being ridiculously early to things. Last weekend, it meant that at 3 o’clock on a Friday with a 7 o’clock showtime to make, I found myself on campus wondering how best to make sure I could get tickets. My long and convoluted train of thought went something like the following:
“Well, the film’s cast and crew are going to be there, as well as the really-famous executive producer and director’s brother, so it could be really crowded. I should get tickets in advance.”
“Hmm, according to the website, the only way to get tickets online is to buy them and print them out, but I’m not near my printer in my dorm room. Maybe I could print my ticket from Athena?”
“Well, what if they don’t take black and white tickets?” (Have you ever had a thought that made sense in your head, but not on paper? This one barely made sense even in my head.) “I could take a shuttle back home, print my ticket out there, then catch another shuttle to the Kendall Square subway station to go to the theater.”
“But I’m already so close to the T station, that seems like it’d be an awful hassle. Wait, what if you can only buy tickets online? I’d better call them and check.” (The train of thought has decidedly gone off the rails at this point.)
“That automated message was decidedly unhelpful. I shall check the website again. It says here that you can get a parking discount by presenting your ticket stub, so obviously, they sell tickets in person.” (The train of thought has sprouted wings and flown to Wackyland, home of the dodo bird.)
“So what I could do is go there and buy a ticket at the box office — but it’s so early! Then again, I am pretty hungry... I’m kind of craving that Chilean sandwich place near the Park Street station. All right, let’s go!” And that’s how I ended up in the theatre district near Boston Common at four-thirty in the afternoon — again, for a 7 o’clock showtime.
As it turns out, they did sell tickets in person, even up until half-an-hour before the movie started. Nonetheless, I was rewarded for my irrationality by getting to spend some time sitting in the lobby of the Stuart Street playhouse, watching various members of the press mill around and chatting with them about things like the $3.50 packs of Reese’s Pieces and whether movies require popcorn until red carpet time.
There actually was a bona fide red carpet reception when the cast and crew and family arrived, and although it certainly wasn’t the Academy Awards (the red carpet was ten feet long and four feet wide), it was still exciting to stand opposite the press cameras next to the film’s poster, putting me in smelling distance of the most photographed sign in Boston that evening. I also got the autograph of the aforementioned executive producer, Aaron Eckhart, whose brother James made his directorial debut that evening.
The film itself is called To Be Friends, a beautifully shot and scored super-indie drama co-starting Joelle Carter and Todd Stashwick, whose autographs I also would have gotten had I not used up all of my star-struck-resistance with Mr. Eckhart. Being the shrewd moviegoers we are, my friend Monica and I staked an early claim on the two seats at the end of the Reserved section, meaning that we saw the movie one row in front of and 6–8 places down from the Eckhart brothers, which itself made us giddy in our seats. I gave the autographed booklet to Monica as thanks for the tip about the premiere, then played wingman to getting the autographs of the cinematographer, composer, and director, all of whom were positively lovely people, although Todd Stashwick gets extra points for playfully photobombing Joelle Carter on the red carpet. We chatted with the very down-to-earth James Lawrence Eckhart for a little while outside the theater, then reiterated some well-deserved congratulations to him and left.
Then I went home, thought back on the surreal evening I’d just had, and giggled like a little girl.