Responses from the world’s major film festivals are beginning to trickle in. We’ve been making submissions since last autumn, and now we’re beginning to learn what has already been learnt by thousands of independent filmmakers before us: little short of a miracle will get an unknown, independent, first-time filmmaker a premiere at any of the most prestigious events on the festival calendar.
…the number of high quality submissions, submittted from around the world, combined with their variety, made screening the films an enjoyable part of the judging process, but it also made making the final selections for this year’s festival challenging…
I’ve never been one to let discouragement affect what I do, but it’s disappointing that these same festivals — who are responsible for the careers of almost every well-known director you might mention — don’t consider it worth giving any meaningful feedback to the new breed of filmmakers. Every letter we’ve so far received, whilst clear and cordial enough, has nevertheless been a generic rejection, also received in carbon-copy by thousands of others.
…we know this is not the news you were hoping to hear from us, and we’re sorry we can’t reach out to each of you individually. We received a record number of submissions this year, only a fraction of which we can accommodate…
There has been no comment on the film itself, and no advice whatsoever on where the filmmaker should next look. The overall message is therefore simple and discouraging: We’re not interested in your film; work out why for yourself.
…please know that your film was carefully considered by our team, and we truly respect your hard work and dedication as an independent filmmaker. We wish you the best of luck with the project and look forward to the opportunity to view your work in the future…
But one outfit — incidentally the first festival we submitted to — broke the mould and wrote to us personally. Although they had written to inform us that they had not selected Janapar, what they did have to say was encouraging.
I want to let you know that we think this is special. The plot of this movie — guy goes on trip, brings along a camera — I don’t know if you know how many of these films we get each year, and how many of them are disastrous, egotistical and/or dull. Janapar, on the other hand, was a complete and utter surprise; it’s thoroughly engaging, brilliantly edited, honest, often bursting with life. It’s a serious achievement, and I hope you’re proud of it.
Our thanks go out to the programmers of this festival; in the absence of an acceptance, a note like this is valuable encouragement.
The search continues…
I originally posted this on the Janapar blog, which is now being integrated into this site in favour of simplicity.
5 replies on “Film Blog: In Search Of The Premiere — Encouragement From The Film Festival Circuit”
I’m with Tim Moss 🙂
Darn, are they talking about me? Anyways, I’m really looking forward to your movie Japanar. It would be great to see it someday. And I hope that day comes sooner than later.
Wow. The carbon-copy rejections can’t be encouraging but I reckon those words from the one group that got back to you must outweigh the rest. Keep at it fella!
I think that everyone can relate to those kinds of horrible generic responses with regards to any kind of application making process. Intuitively it seems that the one that gave you personal feedback probably benefits more from themselves having to construct a critical appraisal of the film. The others, to me, seem to fall foul of the kind of de facto ignorance of doing anything ‘mass market’. If they are getting more submissions than they can handle then maybe they shouldn’t take so many in the first place? It begs the question how many films that are submitted that don’t get watched by anyone who knows their shit and how many get watched by intern students.
As a filmmaker doing the festival submissions this round, I find you blog posts very enlightening and empathetic on the entire, frustrating process. Where have you been accepted and rejected so far, may I ask? I got the SXSW rejection but so far nothing else (I didn’t submit to a ton of fests). From the looks of your trailer, your film is gorgeously shot and well edited. It makes me really want to see it!