I’ve been wrestling with how to address this subject on the blog. It’s unavoidable, especially over the next few months when it becomes a major part of my professional and personal life. How do I talk about festival submissions? It’s a weird topic, but an important one to this blog.
I probably won’t refer to many titles in particular, because I’m seeing some good stuff but also some not-so-good stuff. And I’m not about to tip people off to either category.
For those who don’t know, I try to be hands-on about the reviewing of submissions for our film festival. While I don’t watch everything (there are many programmers and screeners who watch the thousands of submissions), I try to watch many things. And now, with our early deadline recently passed and our final deadline (December 6) just around the corner, the submissions have begun to fly in.
It’s actually a pretty exciting part of the job. It’s full of that sense of discovery, that desire to find something unique and new. Sure, a lot of the films in our Premieres sections or Special Screenings sections are things we find at festivals or things with big names and a lot of attention attached. Meanwhile, the pursuit for things in our Competition sections or our Emerging Visions section, is a pursuit for films that may be completely under anyone’s radar. So, our selection committee and our team of senior programmers go through everything, one by one. Festival myths be damned, we watch every single submission. Every single one. It’s a lot of work, but it’s the least we can do. Filmmakers take the time to submit their films, make their films, and put their films out in the world. The least we can do is watch them and offer our feedback.
I will do my best over the next few months to navigate through this process on the blog, and offer my insight while still respecting the process and the craft. Regardless, it’s going to be a film education and it will be a lot of fun.