Being able to call myself an ‘award-winning filmmaker’ is a notable bonus when it comes to getting a certain type of person to take notice of my work.
Like a well-designed book cover or a blog post optimised to attract search engine traffic, film awards are a way to advertise the fact that what you’ve made might be worth looking at. Given the near infinite competition for public attention, only a martyr would ignore the value of such things.
Those in my line of work, however, are all too aware of the double-edged sword of this type of self promotion. Charlatans use it to aggressively advertise vacuous works or shoddy services. People become distrustful when everyone, suddenly, is an award-winning filmmaker. It’s also fairly cringeworthy to do it – or, at least, it is where I come from; a culture in which to draw attention to one’s achievements is considered boastful and shameless and distasteful.
It’s OK, though, to be proud of your work if it’s something that merits such pride. Most well-balanced people, I think, are capable of perceiving when something they’ve made is substandard or exceptional. They are capable, therefore, of matching the look of the box with the quality of the content. (This is, at least, what I aspire to do.)
And I really am proud of what we’ve achieved so far with Karun. It’s early days, and we’ve still got the full-length film to make, but being able to spread such good vibes about a place I love is a real privilege.
I don’t make films in order that they win awards or gain industry recognition. I make films because there’s something I want to say, and I want to say it to as many people as possible – to put what I believe in out into the world. That’s my prerogative as a filmmaker.
But winning the People’s Choice at Edinburgh, as Karun has just done (whoop!), indicates that – if our story sticks in more minds than any other – Leon and I are getting the stuff we believe in out there. This is why the People’s Choice award is perhaps the only award I’d take as a measure of personal success as a filmmaker.
In a few weeks’ time, the award-winning (!) short film Karun will be made freely available to newsletter subscribers.
Festival submission rules prohibit us from making it fully public (yet). But we’ve spent months of our lives shooting and editing this film, and we want to go beyond the film festivals and share it with you as soon as we can.
Click here to get on the mailing list, if you haven’t already, and look out for an email about it very soon.