I guess one of the biggest questions any film maker needs to ask themselves once they finish a film is if the film turned out like they wanted it to be. Though I must always remember that a film maker never finishes a film, they simply run out of time, and as I rewatch my film for the first time in nearly two months, I have to say that I am very satisfied with the outcome. I had set myself a huge task when I started this, and that was to create a unique style of animation that has never been done before. A couple of months ago I finally received a sign that I had accomplished my goal, in that Siggraph has included my film in this years Electronic Theater as one of only nine films in the Shorts & Features category, one of the other films being Pixar’s latest short.
But that’s not to say that I am completely satisfied with how the film has been doing on the festival circuit so far, in fact some days I wonder if any one actually likes my film at all. You see the festival circuit is very much like a roller-coaster, except that instead of chance that you will just lose your lunch, it has the potential to derail your entire motivation altogether and send you into a mini depression. One day I am flying high with the announcement of some festival accepting my film, then the next I receive two rejections emails and I throw up my hands in frustration.
One particular thorn in my side has been the apparent lack of support from Australian film festivals. With Sneeze Me Away and The Rose of Turaida combined, my films have so far played in nearly 70 festivals world wide, but only one of those have been an Australian based film festival (thank you Revelation Perth International Film Festival). This fact was recently exasperated by an email I received a couple of days ago, which told me that my film didn’t get into the biggest film festival in my home town, the Adelaide Film Festival. I will miss out on the chance to have my film shown on a big screen where all of my family and friends can see it side by side with the public. Not more than 40 minutes later, I was informed that The Rose of Turaida had made it into the Philadelphia Film & Animation Festival in the USA. The irony was not lost on me.
It is important to not dwell on all of the rejections from festivals, though it can be hard sometimes. I have to be content with the fact that some people may not like my films. But every now and then I get an email from some unknown person that takes the time to personally tell me how much they enjoyed my film, Strangely, these one off emails often have greater weight than whole hosts of festival rejection notices, and that makes it all worth it.