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June 11, 2009



Great words, AJ. Thanks for saying it so succinctly.

James McNally

I got a crash course in screening festival submissions myself this past February and put together a similar post, although I have nowhere near the experience of Basil or the rest of you. The thing that stood out for me is that if you're submitting a rough cut that is so rough that the film is essentially not ready to submit, why not wait and polish it for another festival a few weeks/months later? You can make a bad impression on a programmer at a good festival that might be hard to erase.


I'm not a documentary filmmaker (just a fan), but I think I can safely say I'd much rather see a film like the one AJ describes than one that is trying to somehow conform just to get into film festivals.

Tom Murray

I've been following these comments made by Basil so was interested in your perspective. I've made a number of feature length documentary film. (Basil was responsible for premiering my first effort) I've been fortunate to win a number of awards for my efforts, yet some of the same films that won awards were not even selected at other festivals. It's such a subjective issue. As much as I love documentaries, in defense of programmers, I think it would be pretty grueling to sit and watch them for 8 hours a day with out getting a bit cynical. I think you're right. My mantra is "it's all about the story". I think you have to do something that interests you, try to make it technically good and go from there. Some great documentaries I've seen have been technically pretty crummy, yet amazing films. Some visually incredible films have been pretty boring. Tell a story because it interests YOU! Not everyone paints a portrait the same way, yet each is an artist.
Tom Murray

Stephen Hyde

The Basil tweets are a gift. Right on.

Mike Ambs

I'm glad to see your take on this - when I first opened up your post, I skipped ahead and looked at the 8 tips.

I was expecting something a bit more constructive I guess... I didn't take anything away from it. Then I ran out of the house for several hours and came back to finish reading *your* post, which was much more insightful... something I would actually recommend to other filmmakers.

Your last line is perfect: "People have divergent views about art. Goodluck."

I know the film I've been pouring my heart and soul into the last 5 years won't sit well with everyone. Maybe it won't even sit well with most people. But being that's built off something I experienced personally - I know that there will be *some* people who it hits very hard. I hope it registers something very deep in them... I guess that's all I'm hoping for as a story-teller.

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