Our Festival Journey into Distribution
Hey folks! So we have had an amazing festival run! We went about it in a wacky way, but here’s the story for all you curious critters out there.
I had the idea of turning this into a series of short films that would become a series in itself. In order to test out the pilot, I began to submit it to some smaller but respected fests as a short or episodic. It’s first acceptance was at the Newport Beach Film Festival where it won a JURY AWARD in the BEST SHORT DOC category! Then it was accepted into the SOHO Film Festival, who called and said, “This is great. Will you make it into a feature? Because we think it could be really competitive in that category!”
Encouraged by their interest, I dived back into the edit bay and added 28 minutes to the film, creating an hour long feature that qualified for their festival. It went on to be NOMINATED for BEST DOCUMENTARY and to WIN the AUDIENCE AWARD for BEST FEATURE at the Festival!
We decided to continue to submit the short version of “Seeing is Believing Women Direct” to a few more festivals, and it won BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY at the Burbank Film Festival and the Glendale Film Festival! We also screened at prestigious Catalina Film Festival, the Adirondack Film Festival, the Geneva Film Festival and New Filmmakers LA (NFMLA).
The One Hour Feature went on to play the St Louis Film Festival, the High Falls Film Festival, the Chesapeake Film Festival, the Oxford Film Festival, the Sedona Film Festival and the LA Women’s International Film Festival.
Meanwhile we’ve screened at JCCC in Kansas City and are about to screen at Pepperdine University followed by an amazing panel of women including Bethany Rooney, Lizzie Borden, Finola Hughes, and Carla Garapedian! I’ve also had the opportunity to teach or speak at JCCC, Webster University in St Louis, Los Angeles City College, and am about to screen the one hour version and talk to a class via Skype at Rochester Institute of Tech!
Some of these festivals came from blind submissions, but others came from recommendations from filmmaker friends who had submitted to these festivals before, got in, and reached back to recommend our film to the festival. What this all boils down to is the wonderful feeling of people who BELIEVE IN YOU. I am deeply grateful for this encouragement.
And encouragement is what I am going to be talking about for some time. Because if it wasn’t for the encouragement of certain people at very important moments in time, I would not be doing what I am doing. I want to spread the word of the importance of encouragement over judgement, because if we just all sat around and judged one another, it would be a very nasty world indeed.
After High Falls and St Louis, we began to get interest from some very cool distributors. Two in the educational world, and three in the digital world, in addition to working with the amazing Impact Media Partners almost from the very beginning. I’ve also been deeply researching self-distribution from the very beginning since I thought I was going to be doing a series and putting it up on Vimeo!
The distribution learning curve has been REALLY intense, so I’ve been taking my time. In another blog I will tell you all about THAT journey! Speaking of encouragement, one of the distributors asked me to make the film EVEN LONGER. So that is what I have been working on.
What’s been amazing about that is even though their encouragement wasn’t meant for artistic reasons, it aligned with encouragement I was getting from doc filmmakers like Sarah Kernochan who said, “I just don’t think this film is finished yet.” So now I am in the process of completing a 90 MINUTE VERSION of this film.
I often hear the voice of one of my AMC stage managers telling me “LONGER! I WANT MORE! MORE!” So, thank you Tamara Grady!
And in the process of doing this I have learned what I made this film for. What the whole purpose of this process has been. And no matter what, that has been invaluable to me. I hope in sharing that, it will touch something in you. If it does, and you are inspired to go out and use your voice to make the works you feel called to make… then that is my definition of success.
Meanwhile, here’s a photo of women who I have encouraged and inspired ME who I’d like YOU to encourage by finding them online and checking out their films!