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April 29, 2007



Interesting. I had a conversation about this very same thing at the BBQ with Richard Robbins and Tom Yellin (director and producers of "Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience"). They had a heated discussion with Nancy about this right before the fest when she told them that they were no longer "eligible" to be in competition because of the impending broadcast on PBS on April 16, the day after the festival ended. She also pulled their "World Premiere" status and had other stipulations that prevented them from entering it in other fests. In other words, they were very confused and a bit PO'd at the lack of forthrightness about rules and regs which seemed to them to be not very well-defined at all.

Do most filmmakers feel it's a waste of time to put a film in a festival if it's not in competition?

Agnes Varnum

I'm curious as to who believes Full Frame to be the top US doc fest? At the international fests, Full Frame is considered regional. But on the larger issue, it seems obvious to me that if Joe Public is eying which ticket to buy, he'll opt for a film that is "in competition" versus one that isn't - they are trying to sell tickets to everything, not just those 12 films in the grand jury competition. And, aren't all competition films selected by the programming team? I agree that full disclosure is better than not, but it seems they think that they are? Very intriguing post, AJ.

AJ Schnack

Pamela, I don't think that screening a film out of competition is a waste of time at all. We screened out of competition at SXSW and had one of our best experiences there. However, I do think that filmmakers take into account competition status (as well as a host of other factors such as whether a festival is providing transportation, festival prestige, personal relationships, etc.) when deciding whether or not to attend a festival.

Agnes, I'm not sure that festival audiences really take competition status into account all that much. I mean, if you want to see a movie about Abu Ghraib, it seems to me that you'll see it no matter what program, sidebar or section of the festival it's in. No other festival has this catch-all designation and yet the others manage to seel tickets to other out-of-competition films.

As to full disclosure, I think that the issue is timeliness as well as disclosing to everyone, including the press and the audience.

John Edwards

Another reason might be: Full Frame refuses to pay rental fees for films "In Competition" - but WILL pay (modest) fees for films "ouT of competition".

So, the more people they can tell that their films are "in," they can save more money by not paying anything for them.

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