Sunday, October 30, 2016

13 Seconds

Sometimes film festivals are great!

You might get in and screen your film. Sometimes you don't get in, but at least you get the sense that they gave your film the appropriate consideration. Not every film is really for every festival. It's supposed to be hard to get in, honestly.

Then, every once in a while, you run into a festival that maybe doesn't take their responsibility seriously. At all.

I entered a fest a while back during their "earlybird entry" period. I paid the entry fee and submitted the film, and waited. The final submission deadline went past. I waited. And waited. They changed the announcement date. Okay, that happens. They changed it again. Whatever. Then ... the third announcement date came and went. Sometimes fests postpone. It happens.

It occurred to me: had they looked at our film a few times? Were we in consideration at all? Or had they judged it out, and it was now just sitting in the "no thank you" stack? Since Vimeo lets you see viewing stats, and since I had submitted a specific version of the film to the fest, I could easily see when they had viewed it.

It turned out that for TEN MONTHS they had never looked at the film. Ten months. (Keep in mind: some fests have no submission fees. There's no reason to scold them -- they clearly are just trying to have a film fest, not to profit from filmmakers. This one, however, charged a submission fee.)

I checked again a few days later and found that the day after the currently-listed "announcement date" they did watch our film. On a phone, they viewed the first 13 seconds of the film. 13 seconds. On a phone.

Don't get me wrong: I have received plenty of "no thanks!" emails from film festivals. That's fine. You send your film, they consider it. They choose to show it, they choose not to. The odds are, usually, against you. So I'm not mad when I don't get into a fest. That's fine.

Viewing a film for 13 seconds on a phone after your planned announcement date, however, doesn't seem like a great programming strategy.

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