As per my pattern concerning this festival, I didn't go to the theatre until around noon or one. I decided to get some lunch and check-in for my flight THEN head on over.
I went to the auditorium I thought was the one where my flick would be showing, but I realized as the feature hit that I was in the wrong house. I'll probably end up catching the feature, The Assessment, on DVD if it gets released even though it seems to be a Severence clone. Before it played: YOSHIWARA CLUB, an Italian short about the perils of the club scene. No dialogue except for movie quotes in the techno songs they used. It was pretty good. Well shot and well lit.
One of my favourite shorts in the festival was AM 1200 which was about a religious radio channel possessed by the devil. I'm oversimplifying it, but it was bloody awesome.
Then came my flick, WITHOUT/WITHIN. It was much different on this screen than it was on the screen when I asked the video techs to play it for me after the Sarasota Film Festival had wrapped. First of all, there were actual people who schlepped down to the smaller screen to watch it, including Brinke Stevens! She said that she was intrigued by my log line in the festival catalogue and would come see it, but I didn't think she'd actually be there not for any other reason except that there were so many flicks going on during the weekend, you know? At an estimate, I'd say that there were somewhere between twenty and thirty people in my movie, including a few of the filmmakers I met and bonded with over the course of the festival.
Secondly, it FILLED the screen so the imperfections were much easier to see. I am glad to discover, however, that I'm not the only filmmaker who had problems with with the colour red. For some reason, red makes the footage go really blocky at that size and I had a whole scene shot in red light. Others had the same issue, even some "higher quality" flicks.
When it was over and the credits began to roll, my heart sank a little because no one clapped. Then, I realized (hoped?) that it was because they were waiting for the very end of the credits and the music which they didn't do for most of the rest of the shorts. When the music ended, I received applause. :D
I had only two questions during the Q&A bit: "What's the story behind the broken camera?" My head was still in the plot so I was like "Huh?" and then he reminded me about the Special Thanks to the person in Seattle who broke the HD camera. The answer to that is I was going to film it in Seattle with a borrowed HD camera, but someone broke it which lead to me finally buying my own camera. Heh.
Then, Brinke Stevens asked, "Where'd you get the idea for this film?" The answer to that is that I used to develop film at a video store and there was a young boy whose family were regulars and I practically watched him grow up. Around the time he was four or five, I think, I noticed that pictures of him were very strange, very creepy even though he was a bright, energetic kid in person.
THE CONSUMED: Now, this was a strange short about a home-based scientist whose come up with the thing that will end world hunger. If it weren't for a couple of issues, I'd say this came from the mind of David Lynch. One issue is that they broke camera axis during a really long conversation, but I think that was out of simple, dire necessity rather than a mistake. The second thing is that it was a bit long. Not slow, just long. Otherwise, a good flick!! Josh Smith (I accidentally called him John because there's a John Smith here and I got confused) is a really nice, enthusiastic guy.
THE MERCURY MEN: is a short about a random cubicle rat charged with protecting an incredibly important power source from the bad guys. It was shot in black and white and is a great homage to those wonderful 50s Sci-Fi flicks. A great short!
VERBOTEN: is about a strange young man and the transformation he makes thanks to his father's girlfriend. Uh, yeah. Pretty good.
KIRKSDALE: This short was about a mental hospital where the inmates have taken over. I missed the first couple of minutes setting up why the police officer was escorting the girl to her place at the hospital, but the rest of the flick was pretty good.
FOET: The title of the flick is pronounced "feet"...as in foetal. I was the only person in the theatre except for the festival volunteer because it was about dead baby skins being made into ultra chic purses for the Sex and the City crowd. Yeah, there's really no better way to put that. It looked like, and even sounded like, it was bootlegged from a second generation VHS tape. The message was interesting enough that I didn't hate it and I didn't walk out, but I wouldn't watch it again.
APATHY BREEDS CONTEMPT is the short made by my friend, and empty priest in my movie, Rory Abel. It challenges the audience to turn off the movie when faced with horrible images. It was incredible. Beautifully shot, beautifully written, beautifully acted and it looked great on the big screen. Great job, Rory!!
EXCISION: This short was shot on film and was about a young woman who dreams, literally, of being a surgeon and she wishes to help her little sister who needs a lung transplant. But the young woman is troubled, very troubled and while her actions come from a place of love, they're terrible and destructive. It looked beautiful and the effects were good, but the stand out was the performance of the lead, Tessa Ferrer. She was truly excellent.
EVEN: This film is about revenge. It's only six minutes so if I tell you about it, I'll give it all away. The effects and performances were excellent and I loved the story. Way to go, Ben!
THE BETTER ANGELS: It wasn't a horror film and was added to the schedule today from someone who had a film in the festival last year. It was about a man with Alzheimers who seems to think he's Abraham Lincoln. The director said that after his film last year, he wanted to make something that would make the viewers feel something. I felt that it was sterile and distanced.
CRUSHED: This was the last feature of the festival that I saw and was a Fatal Attraction clone that had some DNA from Hostel. Everyone else seemed to really enjoy it. I thought it was dull and unimaginative, but well shot and well acted with good special effects. I hated Hostel, by the way.
THE AWARDS: So, after Crushed, they set up for the awards portion of the evening. Most of the flicks and people I thought would win did. Then the Director of the festival gave out the Director's Choice award...to me.
HOLY CRAP! Dr. Baker gave "Without/Within" the Director's Choice award!! My first words were "Omigod?" as I got up to go down in front of all those people. I was shaking and nervous and I concentrated hard on staying upright. I don't really remember what I said, but Ben assured me that it was all good and mostly in English. I've taken good pictures of the plaque and I'll post it when I get home.
I also received one of the Gorilla Software awards where I received a copy of Gorilla software, an organizational programme for filmmaking. I can dig it!
THE WRAP PARTY: The wrap party was awesome. I just sat around talking to Ben, Brad and Josephina Sykes (big winners in the awards for Plaguers), Brinke Stevens, and a few other filmmakers.
Now, I have to wake up around seven or seven thirty so I can arrange a shuttle to Modesto Airport as the woman at the counter wasn't exactly sure how that worked. Fair enough, I'll get up in enough time to take advantage of the free breakfast. :D
Overall, this was a wonderful experience and I hope I can come back next year! I've met some really amazing people and seen some amazing films and got to see my film with an audience. I've also learned of a women's horror film festival to which I'll be entering both Without/Within and aftershock.
I'd better get to sleep...I have to get up in something like five hours...heh