The R Word
That dirty word. After more than 3 decades of putting myself out there, I'm an expert in the fine gradations of the R-word. Now check this out. Months after receiving word that PORCH STORIES was NOT chosen for a festival called A FLICKERING IMAGE, I received the following:
"Official Ballot 2007"
Juror #1 - Beautiful characters in an earthy, beautiful setting. There is an elegance to this ballet of human interaction that defies the standards and norms of cinema.
Juror #2 - Wonderful use of color and nature's own lighting; a delightful concept.
Juror#3 - A very thought-provoking film. Each character's dance was a story within itself. The photography was excellent!
Now, given that the rewards in my line of work are pretty flickering, I took the comments of Jurors 1-3 as quite positive. Yeah, my work didn't get chosen in that festival - who knows why - but neither was it considered worthless. So, I was inspired to write the following:
Dear Flickering Image:
I just wanted to thank AFI for taking the time to make screener's
comments available. In my case, they tended to be quite positive, so
I was encouraged. But in this otherwise quite impersonal process, ANY
words are welcome. Oddly enough, receiving comments many weeks after the "rejection"
makes me realize simultaneously how glad I am to make contact with
a viewer, and how a viewer's response is just that - not necessarily the
final word on each artist's ongoing process of conceiving, making,
finishing, submitting, (doubting) - and moving on to the next project!
I wish other festivals would recognize that, and take the time to make contact.
Of course, all acceptances are somehow rewarding, right? For me, particularly so was AFIA, whose mission is the following:
* Low Budget
* Movies made by filmmakers who are just beginning to establish
* Movies that touch the souls, make people wonder, smile, cry or
think in the ways the mainstream movies do not.
* Films where the storylines tend to be unpredictable and/or
provocative, where genre experimentation and innovation are in focus
rather than gloss and stars.
* Films that deal with controversial topics or approach well-known
topics in a controversial way, films that major studios are afraid to
fund and major film festivals don't dare to show.
* Original, groundbreaking films that are narrative or
non-narrative, as well as those, which experiment with different
methods and/or arts (music, painting, dance…) as alternative
* Films that by its form, content or message provoke challenge and
develop audience's experience, that have something to look at while
watching, something beyond the norm and the ordinary, that provoke
discussion and interpretation and exposes the audience to things
unfamiliar to them.
Now THAT's a club Groucho Marx & I would LIKE to belong to!