Scene Stealer

Despite uneven film quality, this year's festival was an unqualified success

And for 2005? Although Guillemet's contract is up for renewal next month, she says she's been too preoccupied with the festival at hand to worry about next year just yet. Cornered by Kulchur at the wrap party, she good-naturedly shrugged off the specter of Padrón shopping her job around. "This city extrapolates a little too much," she demurred. "I don't feel threatened -- Eduardo and Nat are old friends. It's totally normal they would talk."

Padrón himself showed just the smallest hint of surprise as Kulchur sidled up and asked about his employment overture to Chediak.

Is Nat Chediak becoming the new festival director?

"No," Padrón replied firmly, regaining his composure with a chuckle. "We have an open door for anyone -- not just Nat -- who wants to help. I mean that sincerely." Considering that the editors of this newspaper have seen fit to run dramatic cartoons of Padrón as a blood-spitting severed head, a crazed turkey, and most recently a flame-shrouded demon -- horns and all -- any response short of a punch to Kulchur's mouth would seem more than gracious. In the spirit of this new détente, though, Padrón elaborated. With Guillemet, he said, "we have a wonderful director, and she's done a wonderful job. There's a saying: If it ain't broke, don't change it."

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