Day 2 – one of the most wonderful in my life

Grey morning in at JFK Airport (New York, USA)

The next day started grey with the skyscrapers being just what the German term ‘Wolkenkratzer’ (literally cloudscraper) means. Flying over the US is always fun for me – hoping for not too many clouds. What I like to do may be called ‘landscape spotting’: taking photos of landmarks, landscape features and manmade structures like cities, artificial lakes and irrigation and then try to identify them either by knowledge, guess or with aid of satellite imagery – thanks to Google Maps! 🙂

Wind farm in southwestern Kansas

Over southwestern Kansas I spotted a wind farm (nothing unusual in Germany nowadays) – it seems that renewable energy becomes a growing issue in the USA.

AA 19 landed ahead of time which made me optimistic to be also on time for the screening. My baggage appeared soon at the carousel and the rental car was ready as well. The only remaining obstacle was the little heavy traffic but I even had enough time to check-in at the lovely Farmer’s Daughter Hotel just across the Farmers Market and the CBS TV City. The Harmony Gold Preview House was not far and offered free parking and finally I arrived just after the doors opened at the location where I would be a witness of a dream which came true.

There was already a little crowd and I found Jocelyn (with her lovely 2 1/2 months old daughter Adeline) and Simon busy with receiving all the congratulations. They were happy to see me there coming from so far away. I felt a little nervous (could that be real?) since a physicist may appear as a quite exotic particle among the film business community – but the atmosphere was very friendly. 🙂 It seemed everybody could not wait to see the movie and the new location with a ‘real’ wide-screen theatre was obviously the appropriate location. Jocelyn bid everybody a warm welcome from the stage starting with the Kickstarter backers (mentioning that they even came from Canada, Germany and Australia) without their funding the project would not have been possible. She thanked the cast, crew and everybody who contributed to the film project in some form. But then, the great moment came, the curtain opened and the festive crowd was going to see the first time ‘I Am I’.

In order not to spoil anything, I will just refer to the film’s synopsis from the ‘I Am I‘ webpage: “I AM I is the story of a young woman, Rachael, who meets the father she never knew, Gene, at her mother’s funeral. She discovers that her father is completely delusional and believes her to be her dead mother. After Rachael visits Gene in an assisted living home, she learns that he suffers from a disease called Korsakov’s Syndrome, a form of retrograde amnesia and that her mother had placed him in this facility for treatment a year earlier. He does not remember anything past the age of thirty-three, and believes that he is still a young man. Unable to convince him of who she really is, Rachael decides to go along with her father’s delusions by pretending to be her mother and discovers that under this guise, she and Gene can have “normal” conversations. Before long, Rachael is visiting Gene everyday, finding new ways to bring elements from his past into their present relationship. What began as a search for understanding has become romantic and joyful, but it can’t go on forever. As Rachael pieces together the past and plays out memories for Gene, her need to be seen by her father, for who she truly is, grows strong.

What can I say about the film? It is just wonderful and left me at first almost speechless when I thanked Jocelyn. Truly, one can call it what a hard-to-translate German term describes as a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’. The acting, music, light, scenery, etc. … everything fits together to a great artwork. I cannot do more than advertise it and recommend to see it, whenever and wherever you will have a chance to do so. According to the ‘I Am I’ webpage the film was very well-received at US in Progress in Paris (an event connecting American independent filmmakers with the European market held in conjunction with the first annual Champs-Élysées Film Festival) and was awarded a Special Mention by the Jury! 🙂 I really hope that it will become a success in America and as well will make its way to European theatres.

After the screening there was a nice reception with tasty food and drinks (wine & cheese, beer, mexican-style stuff and cakes) with the opportunity to talk about the film or other topics like (difficult for me to avoid) TBBT. Johnny Galecki (Leonard) and Melissa Rauch (Bernadette) from the show were around as well as most from the cast & crew of ‘I Am I’ (e. g. Jason Ritter) and I had the chance to talk a bit to Simon Helberg. Everybody was very friendly and I felt less alien. I had a very nice conversation (ranging from the history of the universe to global warming) with Roger Towne, Jocelyn’s father,  and met some other backers, quite a portion of them seem to be actors. It was like David Saltzberg said: “It’s quite funny when you go to a party (in LA) it seems like everyone works in the (film) industry, except for the physicists.“ This may be going to change. 😉

Farmer’s Daughter Hotel, Los Angeles

After the party I went back to my hotel and got a little tired due to the additional 3-hour jet lag. What to do the next day? Some typical studio tours? Science stuff (ok – I have already been at Griffith Observatory two years ago)? Museums? Have a look at the next blog and see …

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