3:03 at Stormy Weather Horror Fest

It is a pleasure and an honor to announce that my short film 3:03 was selected as a semi finalist for Outstanding Female Filmmaker at Stormy Weather Horror Fest Summer 2017.

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It really is an honor to have been nominated as a semi finalist. There were a lot of great horror films in this competition, and to be considered on the same level as the other semi finalists is really just the best feeling. It’s hard to really put it into words. It’s just really nice.

Thank you to the people behind Stormy Weather Horror Fest for watching and appreciating my work. Thanks again to the cast and crew of my short film for sticking by me and helping me out so much. Thank you everyone who has taken the time to view my work and share in the experience.

If you have yet to see my short film, 3:03, you can view it below.

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Submitting to Lunafest

At this point, I’m no stranger to submitting to film festivals. I’m no stranger to being denied at them either. I’ve talked about no longer submitting my current films to festivals and moving on to make new projects, but yesterday I decided to submit to Lunafest.

I didn’t submit both films. Lunafest requires submitted films to be 20 minutes and under. Lights didn’t meet this qualification, but ms and me did, so ms and me is the film that I submitted.

I was definitely a little hesitant about this. So far, ms and me hasn’t faired well in the festival circuit. Other than its success at the Borealis Film Festival in April 2015, it’s been denied at the festivals I’ve submitted to. Since festivals hardly ever give feedback, I’m not sure why this is. I’ve been starting to think that maybe my message doesn’t connect with viewers.

Despite this, I really wanted to take the chance to submit to Lunafest. Way back when I finished these films, one of my professors told me that it would be a good idea to try submitting my films to festivals for women. He had said it would be a good way to show my work and break onto the scene. Lunafest is a festival for women, so I didn’t want to pass up a chance to at least try submitting to a female festival.

The notification date isn’t until the end of July for this festival, so it will be a while before I hear anything back. I’ll continue working on my next project in the meantime, and may even start work on one after that. It keeps going. I can’t stay in 2015 forever.

No-Go at Reality Bytes

Back in February, I submitted ms and me to the Reality Bytes film festival at NIU. This festival had been recommended to me by teachers at my university where I produced both ms and me and Lights. The Reality Bytes festival is strictly limited to student work, so my professors felt that my films would do well there. ms and me was the only film submitted because Lights was too long by about five minutes.

The notification date for this festival was set to be April 1st, but I received an earlier response (which I definitely appreciate). Unfortunately, my notification wasn’t a positive one. I was notified on March 28th that ms and me was not selected to be in the Reality Bytes film festival for 2016.

I can’t help but be bummed out when I get messages like that, but it’s not entirely new. It stings a bit more than normal with ms and me because the film is so personal to me, but there is every possibility that my personal connection to the film doesn’t connect well with people who don’t know me. I’ve been reassured several times by people that the message does come through in the film, but I can’t seem to shake the feeling that it doesn’t.

While I’m no stranger to being denied at festivals, this is definitely a humbling moment after having such success at the Geneva Film Festival earlier this month. It reminds me that I still have work to do on my professional journey. I’m not yet where I’m meant to be. I still have learning to do and experience to gain.

This does remind me that it may be time to start winding down with promotion of these films. Both Lights and ms and me were complete in April of 2015, and we’re gradually approaching the one year mark since then. With money being so tight for festival submission fees, it will soon be time to start working on something new.

Lights – Post GFF

I mentioned in my last post about the Geneva Film Festival that our visual effects in Lights didn’t translate well over the projectors.

While I was struggling to watch my performance in the film, our visual effects artist was having a hard time of his own while watching. The level of brightness on the projectors showed a lot of things that would have been better not shown. Outlines and visible masks definitely rid the film of its wonder.

Since we worked on the original edit a year ago, we’ve acquired more experience and editing tools. As soon as the festival ended, our visual effects artist was determined to go back and see if he could revisit his work with these new items.

As of last night, he’s updated at least two of the areas that bothered him. It’s highly likely that he’ll continue to look through the film to see if he can update anything else. This updated version will then be sent to any future film festivals we submit to, and I’ll see if I can update the online version of the film to the updated version as well.

This isn’t usually how I go about things. Normally, I would rather move forward and do better on the next project, but I understand where the visual effects artist is coming from. Since this is his most recent work in visual effects, he wants it to accurately depict what he’s capable of. It makes sense.

Our next goal is to submit to the Naperville International Film Festival by the final deadline.

Accepted to Geneva!

Way back in August or September, I mentioned that I had submitted my short films Lights and ms and me to the Geneva Film Festival. The notification date for this festival finally arrived, and I’m pleased to announce that Lights has been selected in the student shorts category!

I’m incredibly overjoyed. When I received the notification, I immediately started calling the cast and crew involved, and my mother of course. I was pacing back and forth with a flood of energy, and I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face.

Honestly, this acceptance couldn’t have come at a better time. My experience with festivals hasn’t been the best, as many of you will remember me stating in previous posts. I was at the point where I was just giving up. I started telling myself that I just wasn’t at the point in my career where I was good enough.

While I’m still humbled by the festivals that didn’t accept my work, I definitely feel rejuvenated by this opportunity. It gave me the energy to continue trying when all other signs were telling me to cut my losses. I’m very grateful for this.

I’m sure I’ll be updating with any other information that comes my way. For now, I’m just amazed by the opportunity that I have before me and the experience that it will help me gain.

This is a wonderful way to start 2016, and I hope it is a sign of other things this year will bring.

Sundance and Doritos

Well, it’s been a weekend of rejection, folks. It’s unfortunate that my first post about work in a while has to be the bearer of bad news, but it is an update, so I must report.

We have been officially notified that neither Lights or ms and me was selected to be shown at the Sundance Film Festival this year. I’m not entirely surprised by this notification. Having our films in Sundance was a distant dream, and the chances were very slim.

In the email we received, it was said that the festival received over 9,000 submissions, just for short films. They could select only a few, less than 1% of the total submissions. The odds were definitely not in our favor.

This is definitely a bummer. So far, our track record with festivals isn’t the greatest. We’re still waiting to hear back from the Geneva Film Festival, and we’ll receive a decision from them by the end of the month. Hopefully, since this particular festival is local, we’ll have better luck.

As I’ve mentioned before, this is a pretty large chunk of cash we’ve been dropping on submission fees for these festivals. It’s going to come time for us to decide whether to keep pushing with one or both of these films, or to cut our losses and move on to the next project.

In addition to the rejection from Sundance, it has also become apparent that ‘Crave From the Grave’ was not selected for the top 50 submissions in the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl Contest. While we received no official notification of this, the Doritos website has updated to include the apparent semi-finalists.

Once again, I’m not entirely surprised by this outcome. This was also a very steep competition, and while I am proud of the commercial we came up with, there were definitely other submissions that fit the Doritos particular brand of humor better.

Nonetheless, it still would have been pretty neat to make it in to the semi-finals. Winning the competition was a long shot, but top 50 would have been pretty great.

In case you didn’t see Crave From the Grave while it was in the competition, I’ve uploaded it for sharing so you can see it now.

As usual, I will continue to update this blog with anything that occurs with my work, whether that be with my current projects or future projects. Even if I’m absent for a while, please know that I’m still around, chugging down the path slowly, but surely.

Re-Evaluating Festivals

It’s been several weeks since my last update to this blog, significantly later than I had promised to provide an update on the decision made by the Chicago International Film Festival. The truth is that I felt I needed to take a bit of time to process the experience before writing anything too in depth about it.

In short, both ms and me and Lights were not selected to be shown at the Chicago International Film Festival. While that news is sad to hear, it’s not the hardest bit to grasp. I’m used to rejection. I had an idea that this would be the notification I received when the selection process was complete.

The part that’s most upsetting to me, and the reason that I needed to take the time to reflect before writing about my feelings on the experience, is that I feel like my films didn’t even get fair consideration. It’s more than just a feeling actually. I know that my films didn’t get fair consideration.

When I submitted both films to this particular festival, I uploaded them as password protected videos on Vimeo. Due to the weekly upload limit on Vimeo, I uploaded ms and me to my own account, and I had the producer upload Lights to his Vimeo account, both as private videos which could only be accessed by a password. I would eventually go on to upload Lights to my own account, which I used to promote the film when it was released, and I used my original upload of ms and me to promote it when it was released as well. That original, private upload of Lights, however, remained as it was: password protected and only viewable by the Chicago International Film Festival. 

This private video is the reason that I know for a fact that my films were not given fair consideration. This private upload of Lights remained stagnant at 0 views, until September 2nd, only 2 days before the final selection decisions were made. By that time, the Chicago International Film Festival had already released their first list of films that had been selected. Of course, these included films with established names as actors, such as Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, in a film produced by The Weinstein Company.

It seems apparent to me that my films were brushed off because of the low budget they were created with. As I mentioned before, I had a good feeling that my films wouldn’t be selected very early on, but I never would have thought that they wouldn’t have even been given a chance. It’s upsetting. It’s a waste of my money to submit to a festival that doesn’t even care about most of its submissions.

The Chicago International Film Festival has made me completely re-evaluate my thoughts on submitting to film festivals because it was such an awful experience. I’ve always looked at the festival selection process as a way for people in the industry to at least watch my films. I figured, even if they weren’t selected, at least someone had seen it. Now I can’t even say that with confidence. People in my position just don’t have the ability to spend money on all these submission fees if they won’t even be given fair consideration.

I don’t know whether to consider this as a positive or negative thing. Am I fortunate or unfortunate to know how the Chicago International Film Festival treated my submissions? I certainly don’t have the ability to see how the other festivals I’ve submitted to are considering my films, but I can only imagine it’s similar. It’s a very upsetting thought process.