I have just had the privilege in the past couple of months of being on a film festival jury. Once the awards are announced (I think next month) I am going to start workshopping a paper about my experience. But I want to share some of the things I learned with my artist network.
I already knew I am a freak about sound. I am not a person who will absolutely not watch your movie if the sound is bad; but I absolutely will write copious notes about what’s wrong with it and how you shot yourself in the foot.
Also – newsflash: wall to wall music in your movie does not make up for underdeveloped backstory, thin subtext or weak dialogue.
Also again: everybody else is using the same sounds that you are and likely for the same reason.
I have a new pet peeve: under-rehearsal of actors. One of the movies I watched had every damn thing going for it and it would/should have been nearly perfect. Attention, people: having actors run their lines with an AD or more likely, a PA, does not constitute rehearsal. They otherwise put so much work into that movie that I still get mad thinking about it.
My epiphanic moment, however, confirmed what artists already guessed was so: getting curated or juried into a show IS a crapshoot but not necessarily for the reasons we might think. What I realized is that as good as a movie might be, as well as it might compare with the other movies in its genre or otherwise, or even as not as well it might compare with the other movies, a movie either makes you care about it or some aspect of it or it doesn’t. Technically a movie might be exceptional and have enough marketability to get distribution. But that does not necessarily make it special or make a juror care about it. That “caring about it” is a very unpredictable, personal factor.
#filmmaking #filmfestivals #juriedcompetition