You Shall Not Pass

My daughter yelled those words at me the other day, not because she’d seen Lord of the Rings too many times but because she was trying to keep me out of Target. Good for a laugh, both her standing arms outstretched in the door and shopping at target.

I need a few laughs these days. I think I’ve written a few too many posts on the subject of rejection, so I’m not wanting to do another one. And yet – here again the rejections are rolling in. Now we’re not only getting notified of how no one wants to give us money, but also how film festivals don’t want to show our film. Yippee, not good enough to get paid or seen.

I really shouldn’t be that negative about it, but it does get hard after a while to keep finding the positive and continue moving in the direction of promoting the film. It is true that film festival competition is very high. Grant competition is crazy high. I keep seeing things like, “we only funded 3%” and, “we viewed over 3000 films.” We are figuring out that our modest little film probably can’t compete at a place like Sundance. Sticking to niche markets is probably a good idea. We already know what it feels like to be broke, so that’s familiar. Hey, at least my back issue of Zoetrope:All-Story came in the mail today.

So damn, no Venice 72 for us. But, we are rethinking our strategy to focus on what likely is more effective for getting our film out there. This takes us back to distribution and Universities. There, at least, is good news, as we are starting to get invitations to show the film at other universities. We are holding our first public screening at our home university. As usual I am horribly impatient and have no interest in walking across all of Middle Earth to find the one ring. Can’t we just fly on that stupid bird?

My mood is rather low. And today brought some sad news; as it can happen when you’re in a job working with a great many people, it is inevitable that tragedy strikes. Our program has lost another student, killed in a car crash. I knew him. It’s a shock. We now need to tend to those who remain and care for our community.

And in the face of that, it’s hard to keep some optimism. So I won’t worry about that; I’ll comfort myself as well as others, not bother with finding answers, and settle into a momentary lack of movement. I’ll raise a glass to you, Mr. P, and wish you well wherever you may be floating these days.

Be cool, Gandalf