A recent e-mail concerning a documentary that did not get in to this year’s Florida Film Festival had no problem grabbing my attention. As any festival programmer will tell you, there are always way too many good films for the available programming slots in any given year–a luxury we enjoy, but one that makes our jobs difficult and sometimes heartbreaking. And once those rejection letters start hitting, there’s the inevitable barrage of e-mails, phone calls, and letters demanding an explanation for such an injustice or asking the selections committee to reconsider.
Having learned somehow that a new film on Haiti and Aristide was not chosen for this year’s FFF, this particular writer was so incensed that he complained of” having to sit through one anti-Aristide film after another” at past festivals; accused us of showing no Haitian films this year because their content was not anti-Aristide; mentioned how horrible it’s been “to sit through hours of the anti-Castro lobby films” that we’ve put on over the years; and accused us (again!) of “not showing a single Haitian film because there were many that criticized the U.S. coup against Aristide.” The only problem–he’s got the wrong festival! Other than the fact that we’re not playing this one doc feature (as well as nearly 250 others, many quite good, that unfortunately also didn’t make the cut), everything else he complains about is completely off-base and untrue. These comments need to be directed South, my friend.