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Sunday, September 4, 2005

Film Festival rejection, validation

Submitting to film festivals makes me think a lot about the nature of being a film maker. I guess anyone who creates something for public consumption goes through an internal debate over what constitutes success, satisfaction, and validation. So what is it that film makers want? They want total strangers to sit in the dark and like what they’ve created. They want to be liked for what they’ve done. Once you’ve been to a film festival and had even one person come up to you after a screening and gush over how much they liked your film… well, then you’re hooked for life. I have that addiction and I’ve been working for almost 3 years to return to that place. I know there’s an audience for Stomp! Shout! Scream! and getting the film to them is now foremost in my mind.

I have received rejection letters from a few of the big festivals. Toronto, “We regret to inform you that we are unable to find a place for your film in this year’s programme. Large numbers of festival submissions have made the selection process increasingly difficult, and inevitable we must exclude promising films from the Festival.” Sidewalk, “Our screening committees have diligently viewed hundreds of submissions, and valiantly battled in support of their favorite films. We are unable to include many of our own favorites due to the nature of a weekend film festival such as Sidewalk.” Savannah, “Thank you for entering Stomp! Shout! Scream! into the Savannah Film Festival 2005. Unfortunately, your film submission was not selected for final competition.”

No matter what they put in the letter, the clich├ęs always really mean, “We like these other films better than yours.” Rejection letters are infinitely better than no response at all which is totally maddening. No big deal, I tell myself. If I made a film that everyone liked, it would be the most bland, boring turd of a movie imaginable. Festival submissions still outstanding are Austin, St. Louis, Hollywood Horror, F4, Portland Underground, Deep Ellum, and Anchorage. New festival deadlines come around every week and I’ll just keep submitting until someone says yes.

Soon after writing that, one festival DID say yes. The Toofy Film Festival in Boulder, Colorado had invited Stomp! Shout! Scream! to screen as a WORK-IN-PROGRESS on Sunday, September 18. The sound mix won’t be finished by that time-- good enough to be heard in public, just not completely done. If anyone reading this knows folks in Denver/Boulder, please alert them to this screening. I would love a full house and lots of feedback for me to make a better monster movie.

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