LA Film Festival: Conversations with Pharrell Williams & Elvis Mitchell
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Hammer Museum 8pm
The Hammer Museum will host several programs in support of this years Los Angeles Film Festival Conversation series. In addition to acting as a screening venue for many of the movies, the museum will host free discussions with film makers, actors, and musicians. The week will see events featuring Mickey Rooney, Eli Roth, director Craig Brewer, and other notables. The series was kicked off with music producer extraordinaire Pharrell Williams sitting with writer and radio show host, Elvis Mitchell.
The program saw a large crowd, converting the museum court yard air into a club lounge like atmosphere, complete with a line of attendees waiting and finally rushing the red rope line to get the best seats in the house. Small surprise as the speaker of the event was mega producer Jay-Z calls Pha-real.
The Carl Sagan fan, Pharrell, came on stage dressed to the nines, with his blazer and black bow tie ensemble setting the tone for his conversation with Mitchell. The two talked about Pharrell’s love of all things relating to sci-fi, and movies.
The series hosts are asked to submit a list of their favorite movies to screen, and Pharrell’s pick of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “National Lampoon’s Vacation”, had people laughing at his explanation and reasoning behind them. “Close Encounters” was the first to “pull him in” to a movie. He gave a further nod to the film by using the famous notes from the sci-fi classic, in one of his many productions. Pharrell went into detail, explaining how he identifies with Roy Neary, the main character of CE, as he goes about sculpting Devil’s Tower, out of a vision he has in his mind, drawn and compelled to finish it. He does the same with his music, making beats out of ideas in his mind until the track sits as a monument to his “colorful” thoughts.
The beat king spoke to the enthralled festival attendees about misconceptions on him being a computer wizard, stating that he has 4 new fully blown Mac computers that he hasn’t even touched yet, waiting for him to learn how to use them. Skateboard P makes music the old school way, keyboards, modules, and midi, no computer. Williams gave us several film festivals quotable, all backed in cinematography.
Speaking on music scores, he said “Last Temptation of Christ” was “super trippy” and a great score. Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” and Willie Hutch’s work in “The Mack” and “Foxy Brown”, Peter from “The Family Guy”, Homer Simpson, and Al Bundy are other screen favorites of his. Mitchell noted James Brown’s “Black Caesar” and “The Big Payback”, an album that was supposed to be the film soundtrack. The record label rejected it over a small amount of money, and Brown released it. It later became one of his best albums.
Pharrell capped the night off with a few more of his must sees, including YouTube favorite search string of Mr. Turner, a clip featuring a man being arrested for DUI. The old school look of the pre “Cops” video along with Mr. Turner’s refusal to go along with the bs makes for a amateur clip classic, referred to the film festival crowd by Pharrell.