Monday, August 17, 2009

Indie Gathering Day Three; or It's Been Swell, but the Swelling's Gone Down

Goodbye Cleveland!

I’m at the airport as I write this; my plane is scheduled to leave at 5:45 am. I’ve collected my award - the only one from my category to show up, though thankfully some of the other filmmakers showed - and the event is over. One group I know was there didn’t show up for their awards. Weird.

I maintain that this is one of the strangest festivals I’ve ever heard of, been a part of, or been to. It’s not open to the public and yet it was badly organized and I don’t understand how awards like their Viewer’s Choice and Best of Fest is going to work considering how few people were in the screening rooms for a lot of the films I saw. I’m including their apparent judge, who I saw firmly entrenched in screening room A. (Tip: You may not want your judges to sit in the audience with their paperwork in front of them...I’m just sayin’.)

I didn’t get to see the other films in my category, with things running either ahead or behind in most of the screening rooms I was afraid of missing my own screening which was when the others were playing, but I did not see one film that was inspiring to me in anyway. There was no “Even” here, no “Excised,” or “Creepers” (that short is still chilling to me) or “AM 1200” or "Apathy Breeds Contempt" -- all films that I saw at ShockerFest last year that were wonderful. There was nothing at Indie Gathering that was in any way inspiring. My mom would stop me here and remind me that my flick played, but I’m not talking about my flick, I’m talking about the films I watched, which is what I was there for.

I mean, there were a lot of films that showed me what I DON’T want to I suppose the festival part of the event did serve a purpose, but I’d prefer to be inspired, to think, “Man, those people are awesome, I HAVE to meet them!” and not “Okay...Troma looks like Universal Studios next to this guy...and he’s on a panel giving a lecture?! He’s on MORE THAN ONE PANEL?!”

Don't misunderstand me, I am grateful for the screening and the award. The medal is very nice, much nicer than I was expecting, to be honest. But the point in any screening is to have your work seen and I can’t help but wonder how different the festival part of the event would have been with better organization, or maybe more attention paid to the material presented.

It’s not that it’s a bad event. It really isn’t. It’s that it’s not as international as it would like to be and it’s less a film festival and more of a Ohio / Michigan based martial arts / stunt extravaganza. If I still lived in North Canton and happened to find my way into film, I think I would have loved this festival as it really is so region-specific. As it is, I’m gunshy about coming back next year because there was no audience for so many of the films...probably just as gunshy as they may be about having me back considering how I’m blogging about their event. If you live near there, it’s great, really great, for making contacts in the Ohio film industry. If you don’t, approach it with the knowledge that it’s about action films, stunts, and martial arts and not so much about the films.

I’ve got CenFlo coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m really looking forward to that one as there will be more people watching the flick than just myself and the very nice projectionist. I also have a bunch more festivals to hear back from.

Forty five minutes until the plane is scheduled to depart. It’s still dark out so I’ll be watching the sun rise from the window of my plane as I head back south, back home.


Marvin the Martian said...

Okay, I'm reading backwards, but maybe I should read forwards. Congratulations on your award!!!!

And yes, Ohio is still, always has been, always will be, Nowhere USA. Great place to raise your kids and your cows out in the farmland, but you have to like leaden gray skies and cold soggy winters. I think Toledo leads the world in cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder. ;-) That makes the northeastern end of the state SO much better than the northwestern end!

Lori said...

Marvin: Thank you! The weather was great for my stay in Ohio, so there's that to be grateful for. Last time I was there, 17 years ago, I was sick almost as soon as I deplaned and ended up going to the hospital, just like old times. When I started feeling sick this time, I thought, "But it's not even cold!"

NoelCT said...

I'm sorry the festival itself was such an abnormal event, but it sounded like a fun trip and, hey, you got a swanky medal out of it. Congrats.

Anonymous said...

I have been to this every year since the start. This is the fifth year. I completely agree on many points. I also believe that this event has come a long way. I have seen many independent films that I would not have otherwise seen at other festivals. Mainly since this event is less exclusive and more affordable. I have found that most people that come do so for networking rather than to view the films. This was the first year that they tried to incorporate the martial arts tournament although the fight scene competition has always been a part of the event. I don't think that they should do that again. I really do hope that the event is marketed more to the public in upcoming years. So many people really have no idea what independent film is all about and can't afford to go to the bigger and more well known events. I did think that there was some real talent at the monologue competition, which was so full that there were many standing spectators.

Lori said...


Like you, I agree with most of what you've said. In my day job, I'm a projectionist and I also run film for a larger-sized film festival. I love all festivals that get indie work seen regardless of size. The problem here is that so very few people were watching films. How am I / how are They going to know if they want to work with someone or for someone if they're not watching the work in addition to chatting each other up?

I'd love to see this festival, all festivals really, get the respect and attendance they deserve, but I think that a martial arts tournament was just one thing too many. I would have loved to watch that! But I was there for the film festival.