This upcoming weekend, I will be attending the Palm Springs International ShortFest as an accredited filmmaker. But my film isn’t actually screening…
What you talkin’ ‘bout, Ashley?
Well – the Palm Springs International ShortFest is kind enough to offer a screening venue for the films that were not accepted into the festival – commonly called a Film Market. A Film Market usually is a large tent with multiple screening kiosks (i.e., computers) where festival goers can come and "rent" the movies that were not accepted.
In the case of Palm Springs, ShortFest goers are given the opportunity to walk up to the desk in the Film Market tent and say, “I would like to watch ‘Volcano Girl,’ please.” The person behind the desk will then give the festival goer the “Volcano Girl” DVD. They will take the disk, walk over to a computer, put on headphones and watch the film. (Now that I have given you the step-by-step process, you should totally come watch the movie!)
No, it’s not every filmmaker’s dream to have his or her film screened this way, but at least we are given this opportunity to be a part of the festival. [Speaking of really unfortunate screenings, read here about a not-so-fun impromptu "Volcano Girl" screening I had last year…and what I learned from it.]
**“Volcano Girl” is my thesis film from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts Masters Program. I have spent the last year sending the film to festivals. We are currently in production on professional DVDs – thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign I had in March. The movie is a good example of my work and, in addition to my Directors Guild of America award winning film “Friday Night Fright,” it is used as my calling card to grab the attention of industry agents and managers. (I’ll have a few with me at the festival) I am also currently working to build my writing and directing portfolio in preparation for my first feature.
Not many festivals offer this Film Market venue. In fact, USC recommends that we always apply to this festival because if we don’t get in, then at least we can go to the Film Market and network.
I have printed 100 postcards to bring with me and pass out to the people I meet (Thanks to the Kickstarter Backers!!). The hope is that people will actively go to the Film Market and watch Volcano Girl, or better yet, get in touch with me to learn more about my work.
My hope for this festival experience is to make new connections with filmmakers and industry professionals – connections that will last.
The festival provides the venue, and now it’s my job to get people there to see my film. (Networking!)
My Pass Won’t Actually Let Me Go To Screenings
Talk about a tease, huh?
I received a Filmmaker pass because my movie is in the Film Market, but it is a restricted pass. This pass will allow me to attend the various panels and talks, but no screenings. I know I’m going to feel strange watching people I know go into screenings – but that’s okay, I’ll pass out postcards or grab a book or something to eat. Hey, at least I’ll be there!
The panels the Palm Springs ShortFest are offering are actually quite brilliant and useful toward a filmmaker's career (my career!). They will focus on film distribution, festival programming, “how to get an agent,” and so forth. These tend to be the topics at most festivals because these are the topics that keep us filmmakers awake at night… So I’m looking forward to it!
Plus, I get to go to the parties. ‘Nuff said.
Is my movie bad because it didn’t get in?
Not necessarily. “Volcano Girl” is a different kind of film. It’s not just one genre, which I have found complicates the festival programming process. I’ve also heard that super hero films are really difficult to program in general – unless for some reason there are a bunch of super hero films they can put together in one screening block.
I know the movie is fun. I have the BEST time watching the movie with an audience and hearing them laugh. It makes me so happy.
Yo, Ash! I’m gonna be in Palm Springs TOO
No Way! You should come say hi! …and watch “Volcano Girl!!”