On Friday the Film Festival starts here. This annual feast of international and local film is always a highlight of my year. It's also usually the busiest 17 days of the year for me at work.
This will be my first festival at my new cinema and I have no idea what to expect - apart from it being different.
I worked my first festival in Wellington in 1993. I was 20, a noob on the Film Society committee and eager to help out in any possible way. I don't think I had any idea that 21 years later, I'd still be working the festival, and still loving it just as much.
There are so many films to see this year. With kids and a very busy job, seeing everything I want to see, as well as all the things I need to see for work, is impossible. But I have tickets to about 15 films, and I hope I actually make it to most of them.
15 films doesn't sound like a lot, especially from someone who used to regularly see 60+ in any given festival. But times and responsibilities change... I don't have the luxury of being able to spend whole days in the cinema, watching 5 films in a row, running between venues like a mad thing to avoid missing the opening credits.
I miss those days.
But I'm one of the luckiest people on earth because going to the movies is my job. Okay, there are a lot of other, less exciting parts to my job, and some of them are not fun at all, but when I'm sitting in a packed theatre with a festival crowd just amping for the curtains to open and the lights to dim, I know I have the best job in the world.
I'm sure over the next few weeks I'll be on here commenting on the films I've seen, love 'em or hate 'em. That's one of the great joys of a festival - so much of what you see is unexpected. And I can't wait to be impressed.
Is there a film festival where you live? Do you love it?