I'd been sick the whole time I was in Chicago, and, for the first few days, after shuttling around in the cold from film to film to film, all I wanted to do was go back to my hotel and eat soup in bed. But Monday night, my last night in town, I slapped myself in the face and forced myself to go out and party. It's a tough job, having to hang out with smart, interesting and funny people for hours on end, but someone's got to do it.
Generally, CIFF sponsors two parties a night: a dinner, and a "late night event". Monday night's dinner was somewhat sad, a soggy-calamari-strewn affair in an empty sports bar on Madison Street. On the left, that's Nick Redman and Vassilis Katsikis. Nick is a filmmaker and a member of the CIFF documentary jury, and Vassilis is the director of World Cinema entry, the experimental pseudo-documentary CCTV. They arrived at the airport at the same time and came, brutally jet-lagged, to the evening's first party together. I sat with them whilst they debated whether or not to go on to the second, which was to be held at a legendary former-speakeasy called The Green Mill. The promise of the ghost of Al Capone got Nick there; I didn't see Vassilis, so I assume he went out to the hotel.
Nick, a documentary filmmaker and frequent festival guest, said something interesting about the psychological downside of sitting on a jury. "The worst part," he said, "Is when you realise you've given the award to the wrong person." Joe Swanberg asked, "How soon does it take you realize?" Without missing a beat, Nick responded, "About 10 minutes."