My First New York Film Festival!

Hello, again! It’s been about two months since I started school in Queens and I have enjoyed adjusting to being out on my own in college (yes, Easy Mac and Instant Oatmeal are two of my favorite foods now). But, Sunday, October 8th was very possibly one of the best days of my life. Why you might ask? Because I went to the New York Film Festival! Not only did I see a movie at the New York Film Festival, but I saw the film, Lady Bird, I

March 2016

had been DYING to see since I found out it was being made. The director and writer of the film, Greta Gerwig, went to the same high school I just graduated from in Sacramento, California. In March 2016, I was lucky enough to meet her when she came to see our spring musical, and I can honestly say that was the first time I was ever starstruck. Sure, I loved her movies and knew she went to my high school in the early 2000s but actually meeting her was sort of surreal. Since then, I liked to stay up-to-date on the latest news about the film, like who was in the cast and when they would shoot in Sacramento. Was I bummed when they had been shooting pretty close to my house last fall and found out about it at school the next day? You bet your bottom dollar I was. But, still, I couldn’t wait to see it. Especially after meeting someone who had worked on the crew in Sacramento and hearing her stories.


So when I read that Lady Bird would be premiering at the New York Film Festival not long after I had moved there, I thought, “THIS IS FATE!” This has to be the first movie I see at a film festival! Weeks before the tickets even went on sale to the general public, I checked the website multiple times a day. I knew the tickets wouldn’t be up yet, but I was just unreasonably excited. Then, something strange happened. One day, I check the website again, even though I know the tickets aren’t on sale yet, but something is different. It’s actually giving an option to purchase tickets. Not only is it giving an option to buy tickets but the price listed was $0.00. FREE? This must be a trick. I don’t think it’s a real ticket but, hey, I might as well try. So, I put all of my information in and get two confirmation emails with the tickets attached. While I see the tickets displayed on my phone, I still hesitate to believe that they are real. Weeks before the day, my friend and I already decided that we would stand in the standby ticket line, but I had to know if those tickets were real. My friend calls the theater to check if the tickets are legitimate, and they find that they do have me down for 2 tickets for the October 8th premiere. They were real! Not only we were seeing the movie I had been forward to seeing for two years but there would also be a Q&A with Greta and the cast afterward. With this confirmation, I finally felt like I could be truly excited.

And, I can confidently say, that that day exceeded my excitement. All in one day, I got my nose pierced in The Village (I still don’t understand what “The Village” is), walked around new parts of the city, and explored the extravagant Lincoln Center buildings before even going into Alice Tully Hall. I was definitely overexcited when I made my friend go in 30 minutes before they would even let us in the theater, but, can you blame me! While we were waiting in line, we saw a guy we would later find out was Sam Levy, the film’s cinematographer. Even though there was a glass wall separating us, seeing Gerwig and the cast walk down the red carpet made the long day of anticipation worthwhile.

IMG-0243It was finally time to go in and take our seats. Before the film started, the director and cast came out, and I can only imagine how ridiculous I looked cheesily smiling up at them. This is it. The moment I’ve been waiting for since spring of 2016. I settled in and prepared to be amazed. When the credits rolled, they stood in the balcony box with a spotlight brightly shining on them. Along with the rest of the theater, I stood with tears in my eyes to give Gerwig and her ensemble the standing ovation they deserved. I will write a formal review of the film when it is widely released, but I will say that by the end of the movie, as a Sacramento native and St. Francis alum, I’ve never been more proud of where I’m from. Gerwig once said in an interview that she kept this E.B. White in mind when she moved to New York for school, “No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.” By the end of the night, I understood that luck.

I may have been moderately devastated when the Q&A moderator didn’t call on me when I raised my hand, but simply to see Greta Gerwig and listen to her speak about a film I had been waiting to see since my junior year of high school, a film I now love, was enough to make my first New York Film Festival extraordinary. Catching a glimpse of Jonah Hill didn’t hurt either! After such a spectacular experience at my first festival, I hope to go every year I’m in New York. New item on the bucket list: One day premiere one of my films at the New York Film Festival.

Through my eyes,

Sydney ❤

2 thoughts on “My First New York Film Festival!

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