The festival circuit has been a whirlwind recently. A week after our “10 Degrees Hotter” Award for Best Feature in The Valley Film Festival we were off to Texas for Austin Indie Fest.
But in between our path to distribution had begun. We hired a producers rep who overnight drastically increased our connections in the distribution world and she spent some of her time at the American Film Market in Santa Monica plugging our movie…
…and it worked. Companies requested to watch the trailer. And then requested to watch the full movies. Small companies mostly, but some really big companies. Like companies you know, companies that have made movies you love.
We were pinching ourselves that big wigs (and small wiglettes) were actually interested in our film, but we all know that there is nothing until you have a contract signed. After all, as the three of you who have been reading this blog since the beginning know well, we spent nearly four years working on making this movie before we received funding.
So we will easily distract ourselves with the next festival. And this time, we’re bringing an entourage!
A family adventure is a nice break, especially with more family in Austin to help out so we could go to movies. And Catia’s parents graciously rented a house for our entire family which gave us freedom to go to the fest, and still… you know, not totally neglect our children.
The fest, now in it’s second year, was a bit smaller than previous festivals. Turns out we were one of the larger budget movies in the fest, which certainly was a first for us. We watched as many movies as we could and mingled, all the while juggling calls from L.A. about distribution. Could it happen?
Also, could we win any awards and add more laurels to our poster? There appeared to be an award for almost everything, so the odds were even in our favor. There were even two awards in the category “Worst Film” which seemed like an odd thing to celebrate. Turns out, after talking to Matt the festival director, this wasn’t as insulting as it sounds. “Worst Film” was a category that people could deliberately submit their film, usually really low budget movies made quickly. A campy category, but still… I couldn’t imagine submitting my film.
We enjoyed the festival experience, bouncing from movie to movie and meeting fellow filmmakers, including an enthusiastic team from Seattle who raved about our movie. We got to town too late to see their feature, but they didn’t care, gushing on about how great ours was and that we would surely win awards. Very kind of them.
Award time came and Catia won her second Best Actress award and I took home Best Screenplay.
The award ceremony was long (Catia joked that there were awards for Best T-Shirt) and many people gave passionate speeches without worrying about being cut off. It was fun for all of us award-winners to get recognition, even if it meant little outside this room. In the huge world of show business we were a tiny bar in a rural, barely traveled village but the fire was warm and the company was great. We were filmmakers celebrating ourselves, and that is much needed as outside this little corner we were preoccupied with distribution, and deliverables, and legal documents, and searching for representation, and everything about movies unrelated to actually making or watching them.
And then came the award for Worst Film. The kid who won it bounded to the stage and tearfully (tears of joy) accepted the trophy, pleased that his movie got made and that he got some recognition. His speech was witty and heartfelt; he was happy to be there. Following that award was the Cult Classic Award, for a movie off the beaten path. The winner was our new friends from Seattle, who also gave an impassioned, tear-filled and hilarious speech about how they made their movie for $850 and how hopefully no one ever sees their Amazon purchasing history.
Both of these winners and the enthusiasm they expressed reminded me of why this all started. Of course we want success and maybe a little money and more job opportunities but in the beginning and the end (and hopefully much of the middle) we made this movie because we love movies and wanted to make one ourselves. We put it out in the universe and now it is here forever, or at least as long as movies exist.
Yes, we want the world to see it, of course. But on a smaller level, when dozens of people pull us aside at a film festival and tell us how much they loved our movie, that is just as important. So with that in mind, I am very thankful that we got to tell this story, and happy for any and every audience that gets to see it.
And there was one more award to be announced…
Thank you Austin for welcoming and loving Closure!