Greg Moberly: My take on the Nevada City Film Festival | TheUnion.com
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Greg Moberly: My take on the Nevada City Film Festival

Yeah, I have a question.

What’s the frequency, Kenneth?

No, it wasn’t REM’s Mike Mills at the Miners Foundry Saturday afternoon.



Nobody asked that question, which would have been a cheap reference to the opening song off of REM’s “Monster” album.

This Mike Mills directs independent films, music videos and commercials, and does graphic design work.




I slumped into a metal folding chair Saturday afternoon in a relatively warm room and a few minutes later an excited dog strolled past. He didn’t stop, going up and down the aisles, past people waiting patiently for Mills’ presentation.

Minutes later, the dog went up to the front as his owner was beginning his introduction.

Yup, it was Mills’ dog.

Isn’t this a cool festival? I mean, how many film festivals would a film and music video director bring their dog to?

How about a bringing a thumbsucker? Huh?

As best I could tell there wasn’t a thumbsucker in the crowd, but I was a little sleepy from the warm conditions and getting up early to run a 10K race through Nevada City.

There it was, a thumbsucker on the screen.

Mills directed a movie about a teenager who still sucks his thumb. Keanu Reeves plays a loopy orthodontist who manages, through hypnosis, to get the boy to stop. Yet, the boy needs to find another crutch for his angst apparently. I don’t know all about that. I haven’t seen the movie.

Mills showed some music videos he directed, in addition to scenes from the film “Thumbsucker” (yeah, that’s the film’s name) and “Paperboys.”

He screened a music video which recalled the life of a teddy bear who jumped off the top of a dresser, committing suicide. Ahh, you would have to see it. It was more cute and creative than sad. Yes, little Billy, I’m sure no teddy bears were harmed in the making of that video.

“Paperboys” is a documentary about the young deliverers of that magical ink-stained thing you hold in your hands right now (unless you’re reading this online).

Apparently, Mills follows around some young carriers in a small Minnesota town to get their take on what they do and get a sense of the changing face of newspaper delivery.

That was some creative and interesting work for somebody who has nothing to do with REM. I’ve now added two new films to my Netflix list.

I don’t remember much else from the festival because I was busy slouching in a few uncomfortable folding chairs and tired from Saturday’s activities.

OK, I’m partially kidding.

Here’s a few other things I took away from the festival:

n I’ll never view the use of blah, blah, blah and yada, yada, yada the same again after the “Blah” short film.

n “Lost in Translation” could have had The Doors song “The End” in it, but let’s just say it was an offer that could be (and was) refused.

n Keanu Reeves is too hard on himself.

n Mills did that cool West Side Story-like Gap commercial.

n More people should have attended the fun, entertaining and informative weekend. Why? Because living well is the best revenge. Oops, sorry. No more REM song references.

Greg Moberly is a copy editor for The Union. Growing up, some of his teddy bears looked like they attempted suicide. To contact Moberly, e-mail gmoberly@theunion.com or call 477-4234.


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