A Filmmaker’s Response to Film Festivals

Film festivals are a mixed bag when it comes the effectiveness of exposure for a film. On one hand, getting your film shown at a film festival instantly gains you a laurel, you know, one of those leafy little graphics wrapped around the film festival name. You’re proud to show it off on any postcard, movie poster and disc jacket you have done up for your film. Having more than one laurel (in other words, getting into more than one film festival) is like winning more than one gold medal, you just wear them all!

However, on the other hand, depending on the size of the festival, you’re a small fish in a huge ocean when it comes to having a decent size audience actually see your film. I personally have been at film festivals where the audience was packed, slam full. But on the other hand I’ve been in theaters where there was myself and about five others. And I can pretty much assume at least one of the five was the director and the rest was the director’s family.

Large or small, the best thing that can happen for you having your film at a film festival is to maximize the opportunities to learn, observe and network. Learn from other filmmakers and other professionals in the industry from their experience. Observe other films and talk to the filmmakers. Get an insight as to how they made their film and what their experience was like. And network with others, you never know who you will meet and how they may have an impact on your current and/or future projects.

I had the pleasure of accompanying Scott to see ‘Becoming Fools’ at the Omaha Film Festival. We made the 12 hour trek to the great city of Omaha just recently. The film was to show on the last day of the festival so we had three days prior to see what other films were showing and get a gauge of what other selections were made. We saw both narrative and documentary films. I will have to say I was pleased to see that not only films are still being made with little to no budgets but that the quality of the films are getting better, even on such tight financial constraints. Some narrative films hosted talent by working actors, some even in popular tv shows and other films you may have seen. I think it’s safe to assume that many actors and actresses are doing these independent films for the love of what they do and their love for the story. I’m encouraged by this as we look forward to future productions.

Omaha Film Festival is only in it’s either year so it’s not as large as others but having been there two years prior for the showing of ‘Reparando’ I will say it has grown. That said, the film we saw seem to have an average audience size of 50-75 people. Some of the documentaries we saw had less. But even the short films group seem to draw the most, I would guess to maybe 100-150.

A Filmmakers Response to Film FestivalsWe woke up on the day of the showing for ‘Becoming Fools’ to about 6 inches of snow and more was coming! The film was showing at noon and by the time we arrived at the theater a few more inches had fell and the wind was kicking up gail force winds. Needless to say we were told some groups of people we were expecting were not going to be able to make it. I for sure thought that it would only be Scott and I, Amelia and their boys, Darlene and our friend Major in the theater. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that not only our local friends and family showed up in support but people as far away as Minneapolis drove through the crazy snow storm just to see the film! All total we had 50 people, not bad!

I won’t say it was a total waste of time and effort. In fact, probably the opposite. We made a few more friends, got great feedback about the film and even planted a seed about where we are going from here to the festival producers. As I stated earlier, the best thing to do as a filmmaker at film festivals is to maximize your opportunities to learn, observe and network. I think we did just that!

A Filmmaker's Response to Film Festivals

Film festivals are a mixed bag when it comes the effectiveness of exposure for a film. On one hand, getting your film shown at a film festival instantly gains you a laurel, you know, one of those leafy little graphics wrapped around the film festival name. You’re proud to show it off on any postcard, movie poster and disc jacket you have done up for your film. Having more than one laurel (in other words, getting into more than one film festival) is like winning more than one gold medal, you just wear them all!

However, on the other hand, depending on the size of the festival, you’re a small fish in a huge ocean when it comes to having a decent size audience actually see your film. I personally have been at film festivals where the audience was packed, slam full. But on the other hand I’ve been in theaters where there was myself and about five others. And I can pretty much assume at least one of the five was the director and the rest was the director’s family.

Large or small, the best thing that can happen for you having your film at a film festival is to maximize the opportunities to learn, observe and network. Learn from other filmmakers and other professionals in the industry from their experience. Observe other films and talk to the filmmakers. Get an insight as to how they made their film and what their experience was like. And network with others, you never know who you will meet and how they may have an impact on your current and/or future projects.

I had the pleasure of accompanying Scott to see ‘Becoming Fools’ at the Omaha Film Festival. We made the 12 hour trek to the great city of Omaha just recently. The film was to show on the last day of the festival so we had three days prior to see what other films were showing and get a gauge of what other selections were made. We saw both narrative and documentary films. I will have to say I was pleased to see that not only films are still being made with little to no budgets but that the quality of the films are getting better, even on such tight financial constraints. Some narrative films hosted talent by working actors, some even in popular tv shows and other films you may have seen. I think it’s safe to assume that many actors and actresses are doing these independent films for the love of what they do and their love for the story. I’m encouraged by this as we look forward to future productions.

Omaha Film Festival is only in it’s either year so it’s not as large as others but having been there two years prior for the showing of ‘Reparando’ I will say it has grown. That said, the film we saw seem to have an average audience size of 50-75 people. Some of the documentaries we saw had less. But even the short films group seem to draw the most, I would guess to maybe 100-150.

A Filmmakers Response to Film FestivalsWe woke up on the day of the showing for ‘Becoming Fools’ to about 6 inches of snow and more was coming! The film was showing at noon and by the time we arrived at the theater a few more inches had fell and the wind was kicking up gail force winds. Needless to say we were told some groups of people we were expecting were not going to be able to make it. I for sure thought that it would only be Scott and I, Amelia and their boys, Darlene and our friend Major in the theater. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that not only our local friends and family showed up in support but people as far away as Minneapolis drove through the crazy snow storm just to see the film! All total we had 50 people, not bad!

I won’t say it was a total waste of time and effort. In fact, probably the opposite. We made a few more friends, got great feedback about the film and even planted a seed about where we are going from here to the festival producers. As I stated earlier, the best thing to do as a filmmaker at film festivals is to maximize your opportunities to learn, observe and network. I think we did just that!

Omaha Film Festival / Press Release

Athentikos heads to the Omaha Film Festival this week to premiere “Becoming Fools.” For those of you in the area (or know someone in Omaha), please join us in celebrating this story. Here is the press release for the film.

Filmmakers inspire hope in Guatemala by “Becoming Fools”

Non-profit organization, Athentikos, premieres feature-length documentary Becoming Fools at Omaha Film Festival on March 10, 2013 at 12pm.

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Spring Hill, TN (WEB) February 26, 2013 — Athentikos, a non-profit film production organization that exposes need and inspires hope through the art of story, is premiering their second documentary, Becoming Fools at the Omaha Film Festival on March 10, 2013 at 12pm.  This will be the first among many film festival premieres throughout the spring and summer.

Becoming Fools is the ultimate underdog story of comedy healing tragedy. Becoming Fools documents the lives of Guatemalan street youth who are joined by professional entertainers in preparing for a theatrical event to honor their fallen hero, Italo, whose passion for these children started a movement teaching the art of clowning as a way to rehabilitate lives and to show these children a father’s love.

“Clowns are not just associated with children, clowns really are children. So learning to clown helps reconnect these youth with their stolen childhood,” said Director, Scott Owen Moore. “Becoming Fools is a rally cry to take a risk and join in the effort to end child homelessness. We’ve already seen the power of this story to unite people in this important cause.”

The filming of Becoming Fools further ignited a movement in Guatemala set to empower youth living in the streets to rise above their situation.  Over 20 diverse organizations now meet monthly to discuss ways they can work together in serving street youth.

Athentikos hopes to premiere Becoming Fools throughout the US during a fall & winter screening tour.

See the trailer here.

Contact: Scott Moore / smoore@athentikos.com / Athentikos / 615-852-8326