World premiering a film is awesome
But on Friday 13th of July as I sat in Cinema 2 at the Revelation Film Festival in Perth, I found myself chomping away on an oversized box of buttered popped corn.
I wasn’t nervous. I wasn’t scared. I was just excited. Stupidly excited.
I had waited six years for this moment. To be sitting in a cinema surrounded by family, friends and beyond them a room full of strangers who were all there for one reason – to see the world premiere of Mongolian Bling.
As soon as the film kicked off there was a chuckle of laughter and smirks were lit by the screen as Bayarmagnai made his claim that hip hop originated in Mongolia. As the audience were dropped into Ulaanbaatar with a fat beat, a grin spread across my face.
Ninety minutes later I was still smiling as the credits rolled. There was a roar of applause and my family and friends shouted and hooted as I made my way to the stage for a Q’n’A.
Looking into the crowd I saw a beautifully diverse range of people. Couples my parents’ age, people in their 20’s and 30’s and one Mongolian guy, given away by his traditional Mongolian shirt.
We were in the smaller of the cinemas which held only 90 people but we had sold out and earlier in the evening the ticket office had turned away a bunch of punters including the dedicated yet disorganised Julian McCormack who had flown out from Melbourne and a group of young Mongolians who in usual Mongolian form were doing things last minute.
I could have spent hours talking in the Q’n’A but we were kicked out for the next film. I ran about speaking to anyone who had questions about the film then we charged our fake champagne in celebration of our feat. After that we drank a bottle of Mongolian vodka and went out partying somewhere.
On Sunday we had the second screening in the main cinema. The film looked even more amazing on the bigger screen however with 750 seats, there was less of the intimacy of the initial screening.
Again I loved the reactions of the audience. I have always been concerned that the film was too serious but hearing the crowd’s laughter, I was pleased that the humour that we had experienced while shooting the film had made its way onto camera tapes, through translators, to opposite hemispheres, into editing programs, out to cinema reels and onto the big screen without being lost. This is something that I’m really proud of.
Afterwards there was another group of people who commented on and asked questions about the film. The most important feedback came from a young Mongolian woman who had missed the film on the opening night. Mongolian Bling is a representation of modern day Mongolia and to hear her positive feedback meant the world to me.
Enjoying a glass of red upstairs a man with flowing blonde hair approached me.
“Dude. Your film fucking rocked and look at me, I’m clearly not a big hip hop fan!” he exclaimed with a smile.
The man was Travis Johnson and he clearly wasn’t a hip hop fan. He was wearing a jacket splattered with the insignias of metal bands and a Pogues T-shirt. He turned out to be a Perth-based film critic and told me how he’d gone into the cinema knowing little about Mongolia and less about the film (and nothing about Mongolian hip hop) and came out having learnt something; a quality he felt many documentaries didn’t possess.
Another person who seemed to enjoy the film was Lisa Morrison. She has just written up the first review of the world premiere.
It’s amazing to receive such positive feedback after our very first screening.
Huge thanks to the Revelation Film Festival for their support, especially Toni Clancy for looking after us like red carpet residents. Massive thanks to Jack Sargent and Richard Sowada for selecting and believing in the film, Suzanne Worner for help with publicity and Leon Delpech for technical support.
And the good news doesn’t stop there – we have just been accepted into two more festivals. We can’t announce them but I’ll give you two hints….vodka and bridge.
More real soon!
Thanks for all the love and support. It means the world to us.