As some of you may know, for the last two years I have been working on a film about homeless people in Santa Monica, California. Last Spring I decided to finally take the "rough cut" label off and start submitting the thing to film festivals. I submitted to five festivals. Four of them (Mendocino, Los Angeles, Dances with Films and the Secret City Film Festival in my home town of Oak Ridge, Tennessee) rejected the film.
Today I heard from my fifth and final submission, the Santa Monica International Film Festival (SMIFF). Here's what they wrote:
Thank you for your sharing your film with the Santa Monica Film Festival. We would like to include your film in this year’s Festival being held at the World Famous Third Street Promenade and the state of the art Martin Luther King Jr Auditorium at the Santa Monica Main Library. Please confirm your availability immediately by replying to this e mail as our festival is two weeks out. I will be contacting you by phone shortly.
I responded to their email with a resounding "YES!". About an hour later I got a phone call from one of the SMIFF staff who told me that I was scheduled to exhibit between 11 and 1 on Saturday, September 20.
I started calling and emailing everyone I knew to tell them the good news, and to start calling in some favors with regards to publicity. A few hours into this process I get another email. This one says:
I want to apologize for miscommunicating in my last email. Please continue to verify your personal availability and the availability of your film (and exhibition format) for the 19-21 of September. Final schedule and selection have not been made. We will be finalizing it soon and be back to you shortly.
To make a long story short, I called the guy back and he confirmed that indeed I was not actually selected, I was just on a short list of finalists. To say that I was disappointed would be a considerable understatement.
So I'm asking for your help. Go to the film's website and watch the trailer. If you like it and think you'd like to see the film (or if you are one of the people who has already been to one of my test screenings and you liked the film) please take a moment to contact the festival and put in a good word for me. My contact's name is Frank Giarmona. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. (I guess he's one of the regulars on the festival circuit) and his phone number is 805 570-1370. Please be polite and brief. He's a busy guy. If you're feeling really motivated you can also contact his associate, Lisa Fox at email@example.com.
I thought the film of homeless people was pretty interesting. The music was distracting and did nothing to reinforce the emotional content of what the people were saying. The guitar just rambled on and on like the theme from an old video game. It may be the deal breaker that is keeping your film out of festivals. I wish you good luck, you have some good footage that deserves to be seen.
Hmmm... those guys are particularly poor communicators. I'll send that guy an email; I'd like to see this film.
Would you consider releasing it on Bit Torrent or Youtube?
If all else fails, yes. But there have been some new developments recently, so I think there's still a chance of getting a distributor to pick it up.
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