So some very cool things have happened since my last update. My new documentary feature VHS Massacre Too has made some progress in the film festival circuit. I’ll have exact dates soon but the film will play at the Horror Hound Weekend in March 20-22nd, Bare Bones Film Festival in Muskogee OK, April 2nd-3rd, the Miami International Film Festival (TBA). Also last week I was notified that the film was a semi-finalist at the L.A. Independent Film Festival Awards (more info next month). To date the film has won 5 awards. We are still waiting to hear back from about 20 other film festivals. I think a good goal would be have the film play in 10 cities.
On a side note HorrorHound was one of the three horror magazines (including Fangoria and Rue Morgue) that I read growing up so it was really great to be included in their convention and festival screening! At the end of the day for most American low-budget features, film festivals serve as our theatrical run. This has sort of taken the place of four-walling, when you’d bring your film to one city, promote the local screening and then move to the next city. To some degree the math doesn’t work on four-walling anymore, advertising is expensive and film attendance is down. I think Kevin Smith can pull it off with his special events but its harder if you aren’t already famous. So film festivals are a way you can get your movie played on the big screen. There is risk of course. You have to shell out some money.
A good scenario would be to get accepted to a third of the festivals you enter, so it’s not sure bet by any standard. Certain festivals like Sundance take 14,000 submissions a year and probably only play a few hundred films. So it may be smarter to avoid “bankrolling” certain festivals that play mostly studio releases. In the next few months the results of World-fest Houston the, Webby Awards and the Telly Awards will be in and I’m hoping VHS Massacre Too will do well. I did end up entering Austin Film festival. It’s one of the Top festivals in the world. I can’t seem to totally extinguish this desire to “buy a lottery ticket” if you will. But I couldn’t enter Sundance and Slamdance one more time, I actually felt ill when considering giving my money to those studio film festivals. Dreams shift as you get older. Artists need to create their work to feel normal or navigate the world and all its challenges. So I know I need to keep creating but I also want to get the work seen. That’s my goal these days, complete solid work, offer it to an audience and move on to the next thing.
I watched the Dead Next Door (1989) recently a film directed by J.R. Bookwalter, funded by Sam Raimi and features the voices of Bruce Campbell in the film. The Blu-ray is amazing. My super-wife got it for me for Christmas! The film was shot on Super-8 and was cleaned up to a point where is looks pretty awesome. J.R. is featured in my new documentary and it was a pleasure watching this film. What can I say? It’s a cool zombie flick made in an era that just makes it irresistible. I mean come on, an 80’s zombie flick, it’s worth checking out just for that.