Category:film festivals

September 4, 2002

On Film Festivals

The guys at Cyan Pictures are back from their location in Kentucky and have some hi-larious and endearing accounts of the shoot. Check it out, and compare it to the folies we had in France during the shooting of Souvenir. Ahh, the memories. Cyan & Co. are editing for the 9/27 Sundance submission deadline. I'll be taking Diet Coke to their editing suite in the middle of the night.

This article has an archetypical Canadian aura, basically about how the hype of (competitors for the admirable Toronto Film Fest) Sundance and Cannes aren't good predictors of success. (not as good as Toronto's audience awards, that is). But Sundance never sounded so bleak as when it's described by Premiere film critic Glenn Kenny. Here he talks about seeing a typical (and unworthy of hype (?)) Sundance film, In the Bedroom:


"The film is long, it's got really great performances, and it's definitely something that is conscientious...You walk out of there and it's dark and it's cold, and you're thinking about how profound the movie is and the fact that you're staying at a [bad] resort, and you think about how lonely you are, and about the human condition, and how you don't have anyone to be in the hot tub with." [emphasis for exaggerated effect]

To be honest, I haven't yet strategized how to play Souvenir with any critics; I'm still trying to finesse the festival selection committees. But now I do know to saunter over to the pale, lonely-looking guy (or the darker, dreadlocked one) in the hot tub and give him the feelgood experience of the festival.

Thanks to Rick McGinnis' Movieblog was the source of the Toronto article. He's quite prolific on the subject of film, cranking out reviews with such volume and quality you'd think he was getting paid for it...

Submitted to Slamdance. We're traveling to UT and AZ for the weekend, location scouting for the Sundance/Slamdance season. Yeah, that's it, location scouting.

Poking around Slamdance's website to get my submission stuff ready. It's HI-larious, obviously made by someone who pokes around dry film festival websites for a living. That led me to Bitter Films, where Don Hertzfeldt flogs and writes about his animated shorts and celebrates "107 awards, four Grand Prizes, and a rather spooky cult following." There's a production journal, which looks good, if a little random. (Pot, Kettle. Kettle, Pot. I know.) Gotta keep the random quotient high to please the cult followers.

Festivals Update: Submitted Souvenir November 2001 to the Evora International Short Film Festival, held in November in Švora, Portugal. On hearing this, a Portuguese-Ohioan friend of mine praised the town effusively. (He just got back from a trip to the other homeland last week, so I was predisposed to send something to Portugal anyway.)


NYC Flava: An easy dozen real estate underlings are milling around outside the window right now, including a couple of blondes with Lily Pulitzer dresses (aren't those supposed to be for the beach? In any case, Here's something we don't have in NYC: A store called The Lily Pad.) and the token gay guy with a brush-hawk (a name I just made up for a Beckham wannabe mohawk that's just combed, not shaved). Anyway, the townhouse across the street is on the market, after spending the last three years in a to-the-neighbor's-brick reconstruction.
Here's the site for Alexandra Champalimaud, the designer. Turns out the house belonged to the great director, Otto Preminger, who'd modded it up. Funny, I'd forgotten what it looked like. [Just found this writeup in the Observer about the deal. If you're interested in buying it, let me know. I'll hook you up.]

I submitted applications Monday for three festivals, and almost submitted to a fourth, when I belatedly realized I'd already sent them a tape two+ weeks ago. Festivals submitted today: Tehran (Iran) International Short Film Festival, the Winterthur (Switzerland) International Short Film Festival, and the San Diego Film Festival. The one I almost resubmitted was Interfilm Berlin, probably because I had Berlin on the brain today. (Olafur, the artist I mentioned in the previous post, lives in Berlin, and I just booked a ticket to Germany and Switzerland, too.) Oh, and Monday was the first preview screening of Souvenir November 2001 in NYC. More on that later.

While surfing for Cannes reports, I found this great Indiewire interview with Abbas Kiarostami from the 2001 Double Take Documentary Film Festival, timed to the premiere of ABC Africa, his doc about AIDS in, well, Africa. Some highlights:

  • The film was made during "location scouting," when he was still deciding whether to accept the UN's invitation to make a documentary.
  • "But when I actually started using [the digital cameras] -- and when I realized its possibilities and what I could do with them -- I realized that I have wasted, in a way, 30 years of my career using the 35mm camera, because that camera, for the type of work that I do, is more of a hindrance than a communication tool."

  • Went to an IFP24 Market orientation meeting tonight. This doesn't mean Souvenir's been selected for the market yet; it was a Q&A session for filmmakers hoping to participate in the Market. Here are the bullet points, primarily as they relate to Souvenir:

  • In the section Souvenir's entered, they'll select 15 shorts from probably 2-300 submitted.
  • The major prospects for a short film are pretty clear, and the Market is useful for at least the first two (in order of priority to me): first phase of a feature/series; calling card; and acquisition/distribution target.
  • To wit, focus more attention on film festival programmers and production companies than on distributors and buyers.
  • Be prepared to discuss the next project, whether it's expanding the short into a feature or directing another script (both)
  • Also, focus efforts not only on the short term (hook me up!), but on the long-term as well. (It's a relationship business, after all.)
  • Spend wisely (i.e., not that much) on glossy press kits, promo gear, etc. for industry people. They don't really care; they're looking for and at product, the talent; not the peripheral crap. (But what about all those muffin baskets I've been sending out?) Save the glossy promo material for the fundraising.


    LOLOL. Jon Stewart just said, "We're Oldie McOldington," on The Daily Show. And now Rupert Everett's tearing France a new one. Heh. He's funny.


    Of course, as soon as I started this entry, I turned on IFC and Ridicule was on, so I had to watch it. It's by Patrice Leconte, and it is a rippingly funny, smart movie about the court of Louis XIV, where wit was the coin of the realm, so to speak. Here's Roger Ebert's review.

  • Today:

  • Picked up my bulk order of 20-minute VHS tapes
  • Started duping screening copies of the movie (eight and counting, so far)
  • Prepped entry packets for the Int'l Short Film Festival Berlin, the AFI Fest in LA, and the Mill Valley Film Festival in the Bay Area. All these festivals are in Oct./Nov., after the NY Film Festival, the ideal/dream festival for Souvenir (November 2001).


    Also, because I've been remiss in my Steven Soderbergh references lately, I finally found out what Itchy and Scratchy said on their DVD commentary in a recent episode ("The Bart wants what the Bart wants") of The Simpsons. A fan on a message board posted the comment as "There's no pleasing Steven Soderbergh."

  • Sure enough. Here is the list of short films selected for Cannes. Two US films, including one by Bruce Terris, who was Pete Jones' 1st Assistant Director on Stolen Summer/Project Greenlight. Watching Terris' constant pushing/complaining about the importance of shot lists stuck in my head and proved to be very helpful advice for shooting Souvenir, btw.

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    Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

    Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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