On Saturday I finally decided to go to some of the conference sessions for Austin Film Festival. I could not resist the potential fun of writer-director Judd Apatow interviewing writer-director Harold Ramis, whose film The Ice Harvest had screened at the festival the previous evening. Also, I knew that if I didn't get downtown early, before all the University of Texas football traffic, I would never be able to find parking for the movies I planned to see later that afternoon. People in burnt-orange Longhorn shirts were everywhere on Saturday.
The first panel did not disappoint. Apatow apparently interviewed Ramis for a radio show in the early 1980s and had saved a photo from that momentous event. In fact, he blew up the photo to poster size so all of us could see. It was full of Eighties goodness, including a bulletin board in the background that appeared to be covered in headshots from the Vacation cast.
I liked this line from Ramis about his directorial style: "I thrive on disaster. I get really excited when things go wrong." He thinks the basis of his success as a director is due in part to the experience he gained in his first job out of college: working in a locked mental institution. "It expanded my tolerance for extremes of human behavior, which was wonderful training for working with actors."