Monday, 21 November 2011

21 Film Festival Folderol

“marihuanaland” is in the can.  To get some international exposure , Eki and I chose five film festivals we thought might be good for this kind of a doc. The first thing we did was fill out an application on withoutabox. Every independent filmmaker should be au courant with this site.  You fill out one application and then are good to go to almost any festival. But it´s not easy. They want a lot of information, clips, etc. It took us the better part of an afternoon to complete. They have a useful feature where you can match up your project with the right festivals. You also receive, on a daily basis, info on FF. It seems almost every city, however small, has one.

Image by kinsum /
Little Margie production docs have been in a couple of FF. And I have to say it was kind of a high. First to get accepted and then to win. We won “Best Architectural” film and “Best photography” at the Milano Doc Film Festival for “Frank & Alvar” (about architects Frank Gehry and Alvar Aalto). I went with our story editor to Milan. It was great to see it on the big screen and in the catalogue. And from there it traveled to a lot of places, including India.  But we didn´t get any distribution agreements or sales out of it.

“10 Finnish Architects” was in an International Art & film festival in Montreal. I went to that too. The big hall was packed and the docs were well received, but again, no new revenue. “Posh Poor & Middleclass BRITS” was shown at OXDOX in Oxford, England in the city´s oldest cinema. That was fun. The audience asked cheeky questions and thought it was nervy for an American to take on the class system in Britain, even if it was in a minscule “fly-on-the-wall” kind of way.

“Sundance”, the holy-grail for independent filmmakers, gets thousands of applications and most of them are rejected. But I read about one doc filmmaker who had entered 400 FF and was turned down. On a lark he applied to Sundance and was accepted.  He was gobsmacked and didn´t believe it. He thought someone was playing a joke on him. But it turned out to be true and he got a lot of publicity. Whether it morphed into cash in the coffers is another story.

Lesson 25: Unless you have big bucks to spend stick to 5 FF.

Next week: 22 The subject is 90%

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