From the moment that I saw the quirky trailer
for The Exquisite Corpse Project
, a film directed by Ben Popik, I couldn't wait to see the entire movie. Ben and his wife Joanna, who produced the film, live here in San Pedro not far down the beach from us, and we frequently see them walking their dogs, Sharkbait and Parker, or having a meal at Ak'Bol. Joanna is often in yoga practice with me as well. They are, in short, just normal young folks -- well, if you can call anyone in San Pedro "normal"! In actuality, this is a really talented, clever, and funny pair that I am proud to know.
The film had already won several awards in the US before premiering in Belize at the Belize International Film Festival 2012. Last night, it premiered here in San Pedro at our one and only movie theater.
Note "e" dropped from "Corpse" -- this was later corrected
Paradise Theater in San Pedro
We decided to walk to the theater since we didn't want to leave our bikes outside where we couldn't keep an eye on them. We were lucky enough to get a ride in our neighbor Ens' cart for the last part of the walk as he was on his way to the theater as well. We were a bit early, but there was already a crowd gathering outside, and a long row of parked golf carts.
Joanna and Ben -- caught him blinking!
Joanna looking extremely glamorous tonight
I think they're getting more and more used to publicity shots as I didn't even have to ask to get this great shot of the two of them. Someday, maybe we'll be able to say that we knew them when....
Joanna and Ben Popik -- all smiles for the camera
Unfortunately I neglected to bring the back-up battery for my camera, and after the outside shots, it started to run very low, so the shots I took inside are bad. I didn't dare use the flash, so I wasn't able to get much more than a few blurry shots inside the theater, but there were several professional and other amateur photographers there, so I am sure there will be plenty of good photos of the crowd on various other web sites.
We'd never been inside the theater before, and it was surprisingly nice, with a bar area, nice lounge, and concession stand. Again, I apologize for the quality of these images, but they will give you some idea of the place.
There was a really large crowd of San Pedro's finest folks, many dressed to the nines. We only knew a handful of people personally, but recognized a lot of faces. This was definitely the place to see and be seen in San Pedro tonight! Even Mayor Danny was in the house to introduce the movie.
San Pedro Mayor Danny Guerrero
The seating area of the theater was huge, and the seats were very comfortable. It was much more impressive than we expected and a perfect venue for movie viewing. We settled back to enjoy the show -- and enjoy it we did. We also learned a lot more about it than we knew ahead of time, since it is part-documentary.
Why "Exquisite Corpse"?
Before moving to San Pedro from the US, Ben wanted to make a movie, but had only six months to do it. So he had five of his real-life friends each write a fifth of the film's script. The title of the film comes from the concept of "exquisite corpse", which refers to a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled by a number of different collaborators. Each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule or by being allowed to see the end of what the previous person contributed (source: Wikipedia
Ben's idea for the film was that each friend would write one fifth of the movie, but each writer would only get to see the previous five pages of the part of the script that came immediately before his. As you might imagine, the potential for chaotic plot and schizophrenic character development was huge with this kind of ground rule, and the film delivered on that potential. But in a very good, humorous way.
Interspersed throughout, between actual movie scenes, is real-life documentary footage of the writers discussing the movie, both individually and together, as well as providing snippets into their lives and quirks. On the Facebook page for the film
, it is billed as a "comedy, drama, documentary, thriller, action movie, buddy picture, heist flick". It is definitely all that and more. And it is laugh-out-loud funny. I totally want to see it again and share it with my family, who love quirky-but-smart humor as well. In short, this film rocks!
Of course we loved the brief documentary scenes of "Ben in Belize", showing the Ben we know on the beach, riding in a golf cart, or up in a coconut palm.
After the viewing, Ben and Joanna took a few audience questions up on the stage. One question was whether their next project might be made in Belize. Ben stated that it might very well, and if so, there would certainly be an open casting call. We'll probably pass on that, but it would certainly be fun to watch some of the "island characters" putting their best out there.
We skipped the after party at Caprice, which I am sure was well-attended, but it was a bit too late for we old farts, so we gratefully accepted a ride back up north with Ens and made our way home.Find out more:
Ben said the film will eventually be available for purchase or download from amazon, netflix, etc., so in the meantime, like their Facebook Page
to stay in the loop for announcements.