After the lights came up following Alexandre O. Philippe’s The People vs. George Lucas at Silverdocs on Friday night, a crowd of festivalgoers mingled in the AFI lobby for a postscreening happy hour. Though, with a crowd abuzz from a film celebrating “Star Wars” arcana, the conversations were probably less Alex Gibney and more Admiral Ackbar.
Beneath a projection of George Lucas’s 1971 debut THX 1138 with electronic beats blasting through the room, the geeks and high-minded documentarians played nice, at least until the devices of fanboy revelry were introduced. As the audience relived its Lucas-induced childhood fantasies and middle-aged frustrations while the movie played, the theater took care to include a lightsaber dueling area for the afterparty. Inevitably, dozens of people took a moment or two to recreate the swordplay of Episodes I-VI. AFI Operations Manager Adrian Spencer, who moderated a discussion with Philippe immediately after The People vs. George Lucas, fought one of the longer battles of the night against Frank Salerno, a production adviser. At least no one wears a bathrobe to play Jedi at a film festival.
There were other, more recent types of combat taking place, as well. With a bar that included a certain malt beverage, it was only a matter of time before we saw nerds icing nerds. Theater manager Ben Field-Pickering (brother of Food for Animals’ and Future Times Records’ Andrew Field-Pickering) found himself on bended knee draining a bottle of Smirnoff Ice early on in the party.
Music was provided by Parris Haynie, 22, on an original-model Game Boy. Haynie, who deejays and writes under the pseudonym “Dauragon C. Mikado” (lifted from the villain of an obscure PlayStation 2 game), performs using chiptunes—a technology that uses ancient, 8-bit video game systems to arrange original compositions. The program plugs into the Game Boy on a cartridge no different than Tetris or Bust-a-Move, and from there Haynie can manipulate the device’s soundchip.
But rather than the bouncy songs that accompanied our favorite childhood games like Super Mario Bros., Haynie synthesized a pulsing, brooding pattern that was a haunting match for the dystopian vision of THX 1138 playing on the wall above.
“I go for more sinister sounds,” Haynie told Arts Desk. “In high school I was the kid listening to Nine Inch Nails and wearing all black.”
Seeing that his genre was a perfect match for the evening, Haynie turned to his own perception of “Star Wars.” Being too young to have seen the original trilogy in its original release, Haynie said wasn’t immediately averse to Lucas’s “Special Editions” or prequels, though like many in the crowd, he eventually turned on the later episodes. He is a fan of “Star Wars” spinoff fiction, specifically the “Knights of the Old Republic” video game series. When asked if the legacy of “Star Wars” belonged to its creator or its fans, Haynie was somewhat generous: “George Lucas can do whatever the fuck he wants, so long as I’m allowed to hate it.”