Monday, November 13, 2006

Filmmaker Notifications, Pt. 1

With the film festival only 13 weeks away (including 3 weeks of holidays and one holiday weekend), the time has come to start notifying the filmmakers. This is one of the hardest parts of the job, and definitely the least enjoyable. And we're not just saying that.

It does not help that only has 2 settings available after a festival's submission deadline has passed: 1) "click here to apply w/waiver", and 2) "decisions made". Keeping option no.1 meant that every day, even 8 weeks after the deadline had passed, someone would email/call/carrier pigeon asking us to waive the deadline (which is not fair to those who applied on time). But by choosing option no.2, 350 filmmakers think that we've already made our decisions, opening an entire other can of worms.

Then we have to agree on the form letter to send out. This takes at least a week to work out, finding the balance between impersonal and indifferent without being unfeeling. We send an email to every filmmaker, both accepted and rejected. It isn't easy, but it is necessary.

A form letter is an acknowledgement; it is not meant to provide insight into why a film was not selected.

So we're sending out notifications, slowly -- rejections first -- even though we are still screening, quickly, hoping to notify everyone by December 1. Acceptances are taking longer, 1) since we are still screening, and 2) we are still working out the legalese of the "liability and indemnification waiver".

But we sincerely appreciate all of the entries we received, even though we don't have room for all of them.

What we can look forward to next: feedback from disgruntled filmmakers, outraged that we did not accept their films, despite their acceptance to [insert festival name here].

Stay tuned....

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