|Index||8 reviews in total|
Just caught this amazing and brutally honest doc at the Hell's Half
Mile Film Fest in Bay City, Michigan. And having worked the fest
circuit with two features now, I can say this film rings so true that's
it's almost painful to watch in places (and I mean that in a good way).
This is the indie filmmaker's life, this is our humiliation, this is our reward, this is our freakin' angst! OFFICIAL REJECTION plays like the film companion to Chris Gore's Film Festival Guide. It covers the life (and sometimes death) of mainly one feature as it aims for Sundance, then reevaluates. As it aims for Slamdamn, then reevaluates. As it aims for SXSW, then...well you get the picture. And it's not all doom and gloom. (Well, OK, there is a film fest meltdown that has to be one of the most uncomfortable moments I've ever seen on film.) But...there is a (somewhat) happy ending here.
If you have any plans to make a film, watch this movie! Learn from it. These are the rules of film festivals. Realize that you will not be the exception.
I love OFFICIAL REJECTION. It is my life. If you are a filmmaker (or are close to any filmmakers), it is your life too!
Official Rejection is the true story of a group of filmmakers from all
parts who are trying to accomplish a single goal: To get their film in
a festival. The focused stars of this documentary find themselves
quickly rejected by certain big-name fests, despite the effort required
to even be considered for them. Disheartened, but not easily broken,
the filmmakers keep sending out their films, to smaller screenings
across the U.S.
The journey of this film achieves something big that is a rarity in the documentary genre. It's smirk-out-loud funny from beginning to end. With hilarious animated cut-scenes, to the visible struggles of average Joe directors, to astute observations from the front lines and the flashbacks of everyone involved; every piece of this film makes you grin from ear to ear.
So, it's strange that this same film is also one that tells the horrifying story of self-publicizing, penniless movie creators. O.R. is eye-opening, and easily bests all other attempts at revealing an inside view of the movie industry (notably This Film Is Not Yet Rated). It's one of the only films I know of that even mentions the independent film industry in a truthful light.
Painful it may be, but if your head stops shaking at the absurdity of the festival industry long enough to hear the story being presented, it will completely change your opinions on how you absorb and critique films.
I had a chance to see this movie at the Idaho Film Festival in Boise,
Idaho this weekend. As an emerging filmmaker, I thought it would be
great to know the inner workings of the festival circuit. Paul and
Scott take the audience on the journey of submitting their film "Ten
Til Noon" to various festivals around the country. You get to see what
life is like after the cameras are put away, and the work truly begins.
Independent filmmakers are unique, because they have to sell their work
themselves. This film taught me more than I hoped! I would highly
recommend it for anyone who makes films. However, it is also
entertaining for those who are not in the business. One woman at our
screening loved it -- and she does not make films.
Paul and Scott are amazing. I had a chance to meet them this weekend, and they have a passion for making films. Check out this documentary -- not a dull moment. It's out on DVD in November.
I was impressed w/ what Paul Osborne and his team were able to do w/
this film. Of course, if you've been involved in the Indie film scene
for any period of time, the idea that the fest circuit is a bit of a
scam has been pretty well known for a long time. Never the less, makes
for a fun and engaging watch still.
I was astounded and flabbergasted at some of the absurd naiveté (and stupidity) of some of the filmmakers, in particular Blayne Weaver.... Seriously bro? Why would you even bother flying from LA to Chicago to attend the 2nd annual Chicago Indiefest? Chicago Int FF, yes, Chicago Underground (CUFF) maybe, but some mickey mouse fest no one's ever heard of? Chicago's a great town but talk about walking around blind w/o a cane, not to mention emails like 'your film may be pulled if you don't sell it out..." I may love, and have roots, in the NY Metropolitan area but ask me if I'd fly from LA to NY to attend the Ozone Park film festival, come on:) What that whole scene in Chicago speaks to, as well as the festival circuit in general, is this self aggrandizing, ego stroke that many Indie filmmakers are looking for. Something the OR filmmakers seemed unaware of is the fact that so many of these scam, mediocre festivals exist because there's an endless supply of self serving, ego maniacal saps who want to get in on the circle jerk of saying, "hey, I made a film, check it out." At a certain point filmmakers have to look in the mirror and be realistic about their place in the Industry, if any at all.
Funny and great if a bit overlong towards the end. Very revealing and intimate doc about the filmmakers own personal struggle in bring their film to the world. I was shocked to see just how much everything costs and emotionally,perhaps the price is too high. One poor gut seemed to have buy tickets to his own film in some festival just to stop them form taking it off and replacing it with another. Jeesh - what's that all about?! Poor them and thank god I'm not one!! My niece was thinking of becoming a director and on the way out she said no way! We did talk for a long time afterwards about it and if that is the mark of a well put together doc then they certainly succeeded there. A great film and we had a great night. Well done guys and keep shooting!
After I started reviewing films from local festivals, I decided it was
about time I screened Official Rejection (2009), writer/director Paul
Osborne's documentary that peeks behind the marquee of the festival
Screenwriter Osborne took his camera along as he and director Scott Storm hit the road to promote their 2006 thriller Ten 'til Noon. They foresaw a bright future ahead on the circuit. "We might as well have believed in Santa Claus," Osborne says.
"The biggest misconception that filmmakers have about film festivals is they're going to go there. They're going to show their movie. Someone's going to buy it. They're going to have a million dollars. And they're going to have a great career," Chris Gore, author of the Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide, tells the camera. "And it's not that."
To underscore the point, Gore sits for the interview wearing a T-shirt that proclaims: "YOUR MOVIE SUCKED ANYWAY." Indeed, Official Rejection tackles its subject with wit and a healthy dose of gallows humor. Those interviewed include not only director Kevin Smith and actress Jenna Fischer (The Office) but also porn-turned-B movie actress Traci Lords, Hollywood gadfly Andy Dick and prolific B movie producer Lloyd Kaufman (The Toxic Avenger).
From the very start, Osborne and Storm encounter the hurdles facing independent filmmakers hoping to screen their work:
Lack of connections Despite giving lip service to showcasing new voices in independent film, several of the best-known festivals have been effectively co-opted by The Man rather, the movie industry with all of its agents, executives and financiers. Thus, many of the films that get the attendant media buzz really aren't quite independent.
Costs Almost all film festivals levy non-refundable submission fees ranging, approximately, from $50 to $200. The filmmakers also must pay for press kits and screening copies of the movies. Few festivals cover the full cost of travel. Most expect filmmakers to bring their own promotional materials, and some want them to publicize the screenings. Osborne also points out the emotional and professional strains time away from family and absence from so-called day jobs.
Festival politics "Which festival you play your movie at (or, rather, where you have your movie premiere) is the biggest issue in film festival politics," Osborne says. Filmmakers face a Catch-22: Do they wait to hear from the elite festivals? Or do they commit to smaller festivals, which could make their films less attractive to the big guys? "What if you don't get in?" asks Damon O'Steen, co-creator of 29 Reasons to Run (2006). "And then you've turned down other festivals that would've been an opportunity for a lot of other people to see your film."
"You can't hold onto the film too long," says John Daniel Gavin, whose film Johnny Montana hit the circuit the same year as Ten 'til Noon. "You have to make a choice."
It's hard to know why a movie does or doesn't make it into a festival.
"There are so many reasons why a film gets rejected that have nothing to do with the pure quality of it," says producer Jacques Thelemaque. "They have programming objectives, or it may be a length thing. And then it is very subjective: (Maybe) it just doesn't strike whoever is making the decisions."
So why would filmmakers put themselves through this?
"Of all the things we'd been struggling to achieve with our movie, the most important was finding our audience," Osborne says. He illustrates that elusive connection with Justin Hoffman, a guy the filmmakers meet while trying to promote Ten 'til Noon on the nearly deserted campus of the University of California, Riverside. He couldn't make that evening's screening at the Riverside International Film Festival but showed up a month later to see the movie at the San Fernando Valley International Film Festival. And, later, when the movie plays at the Newport Beach Film Festival, Hoffman shows up again and brings friends.
"If you can make a personal connection with audiences, you can do pretty well," says Jordan Marsh, a programmer for the Newport Beach festival.
Films are like trade shows, Osborne tells us. Attending them is a way to build credibility and publicity; generate reviews and feedback; and, in some cases, win an award.
"It's all part of building a pedigree for a film," says Patrick Ewald, a foreign sales rep. "That, in a sense, becomes like having an A-list star because to the distributors it says: 'Okay, I have a theatrical movie.'"
Ultimately, Osborne and Storm chose to premiere Ten 'til Noon where they were wanted: the San Francisco Independent Film Festival.
"Although they were small and off the beaten path of the business, they had a reputation for quality films," Osborne says. Still, he and Storm arrived to find that their screening was at a secondary venue on a side street. They had to engage in a day of sidewalk marketing to gin up their own audience.
As the documentary follows Ten 'til Noon around the circuit, it shows how a festival scene can be very good, very bad and something in between.
Stuart J. Robinson practices writing, editing, media relations and social media through his business, Phoenix-based Lightbulb Communications (www.lightbulbcommunications.com).
What a missed opportunity. These guys had a perfect chance to really dig deep into the politics and B.S. that goes on behind the scenes at the biggest film festivals in the United States. Upon renting this I expected a little "investigative journalism" to back up many of their claims and complaints regarding the politics and the favoritism towards major studios, big stars and sponsors that goes on behind closed doors at Sundance and other major festivals. Instead, we get a group of filmmakers (specifically Scott Storm, touring the festival circuit with his unwatchable film "Ten 'Til Noon") whose sense of entitlement knows no boundaries. One of the questions brought up by one of the subjects was (and I'm paraphrasing here) "just because you can make a make a movie, doesn't mean you should make a movie". One would have hoped when they were making "Ten 'Til Noon" they would have considered this very thing. This group seems to go on and on wondering why they aren't getting the attention and accolades they obviously feel they deserve, just because they made a movie. It was nauseating to say the least. What was even worse than their sense of entitlement was how disgusting these guys acted in front of their own cameras in regards to not only their opinions of many of the festivals and the people that curate and run them, but also how they basically made fun of the gift bags, accommodations and their hospitality. The same can be said about their unfunny sarcastic commentary regarding celebrities, many of who were gracious enough to appear on camera, yet the use voice over to basically make fun of their subjects. It disgusted me. In the end, I'm glad I watched this because now I know to steer of any movie or project these filmmakers are ever involved in. They don't deserve my hard earned money. They need to learn a little about something call "humility". The only time you see a modicum of humility from these filmmakers is when Scott Storm "fakes" it when accepting an award for his film... only to make fun of the very award on camera moments later. Avoid this film.
I was one of the few who endured this movie at the Phoenix Film
Festival- which, big surprise, is largely featured in this mediocre
The root of this film is what other reviewers seem to be ignoring- it's about trying to get the film TEN TILL NOON into festivals, and TEN TILL NOON is quite simply a bad film. Netflix it and see if you disagree.
So you have the filmmakers, the director and writer, trying to get it into festivals. Who cares? We sure didn't. Certainly not after the forced pep rally that the head of the Phoenix Film Festival tried to lead.
The whole event made us a. want to avoid film festivals, especially sad little local ones who court bad movie makers thinking we'll find value in them and b. never see a movie made by Paul Osborne again.
The quality of the film is poor. Some of the interviews are fairly interesting, but I guarantee you can find a brief interview with Kevin Smith et al on youtube in under 10 minutes- saving your time and money.
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