Film Scouts Diaries

1997 Palm Beach Film Festival Diaries
Day 2: Work and Play

by Liza Bear

Palm Beach, Friday April 11

Waves crashing, winds roaring unabated, palm branches continually sweeping the window panes: all in all it's a restless night.

Early am, cruising the lower FM bandwidths for the Palm Beach National Public Radio station, I happen upon the following: "I like it that you're stupid. I like that in a girl." It's Howard Stern talking to the daughter of Lucille Ball about her new CD: "How to Save Your Family History" and "Learn how to Digitize your Family Archives."

Believe it or not, I've never chanced upon the legendary broadcaster on the airwaves in my home town, New York, so maybe I'll pick up a few interviewing tips for this afernoon's press conference - not! Today finds the monster declawed, or maybe the success of "Private Parts" has mellowed him. Apart from some very heavy-handed flattery/flirtation, Howard's most hardhitting questions are: which famous visitors at Lucy's house were a pain in the ass, and what her mother's $7.2 miilion dollar house sold for ($2.2 million).

One advantage of a small new festival is convenience, and so far this one has a convivial, family ambiance. It's off to a slow start, with the Palm Beach resort feel pretty much intact - not a bad thing. The under-staffed press office takes a couple of days to get its xerox machine. At times as many volunteers as festival guests trickle in and out of the hospitality suite next door to my hotel room, getting acquainted. Among the producer's reps here are the voluble T.C Rice, with Dan Zukovic's "The Last Big Thing," which I'll see later, and the affable Gaby Desdoit, with Cedric Klapisch's "When the Cat's Away" and Martine Dugowson's "Shadow Play." The cast includes the ferocious talents of young French actresses Romane Bohringer and Elsa Zylberstein.

Ferocious also are the waves pounding the shore. The chalkboard sign reads "Beach closed due to inclement weather, seas, 4 to 6 feet." A strong undertow deters surfers and swimmers alike. From the veranda, organizers peer anxiously at the scudding clouds, fearful for tonight's attendance at the scheduled outdoor Beach Bash at the hotel.

At 3pm, there's a micromini press conference at the Sandcastles Restaurant with 4 filmmakers and 3 other local reporters from the Coastal Observer and the Lake Worth Herald News.

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