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 (BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY), New Filmmakers LA, and The Ridgewood Film Festival (BEST DOCUMENTARY).
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.
We screened in 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, screen, or speak at Johnson County Community College, Webster University, Los Angeles City College, and The 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 film distributors. But since I’ve also been researching self-distribution from the very beginning I’ve realized that times have changed a lot, and there are a lot of cool ways to get one’s film out into the world! What I’ve got up my sleeve is pretty exciting but I’ve got to keep it a secret for now… More on this soon!
One of the distributors asked me to make the film even LONGER… and strangely 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 also heard the voice of one of my AMC stage managers who came to the SOHO screening last year. She kept telling me “LONGER! I WANT MORE! MORE!” (Thank you Tamara Grady!)
So through this process of showing at festivals and listening to the audiences and business folks responses… I have learned what this film needed to be and what the whole purpose of this process has been. And no matter what, that has been invaluable to me.
What I imagined in the very beginning is what this film has become. And every voice of encouragement helped push me to become the filmmaker I dreamed I could be.
I hope that when I share this film finally… it will touch something in you. If it does, and you are inspired to go out and use your voice to make the work 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!
Sarah Kernochan (check out “All I Wanna Do” on Amazon), Naima Ramos-Chapman (look for “And Nothing Happened” online)), Anne Makepeace (“Tribal Justice” coming soon!) and super producer Kate Super (of Sidford House).