Re: entry fees and backroom sleaze

From: benj gerdes (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Mar 09 2006 - 22:19:47 PST

beyond drastically fluctuating fees, no one has mentioned what shelly
silver did the last time this came up. entry fees are viciously
unequally--first-timers pay and stand less of a chance of getting in,
while more established filmmakers often have their works solicited and
the fee is waived. this is sometimes explicit, like the various
festivals where once you've screened there you can submit in following
years for free, but often it's a kind of public secret. i would have
an easier time coughing up the fee if it was actually a democratic
practice. i understand that these funds provide for salaries,
operating budget, and so on, but wouldn't a system that didn't depend
on the loser subsidizing the winners be a whole lot nicer? I suspect
also that many festivals probably instituted fees in part for the
pragmatic function of reducing the sheer number of submissions that
their un(der)paid programmers have to watch. Again, not democratic,
but perhaps logistically necessary?

I've never paid a submission fee, but have screened in a few festivals.
  On multiple occasions, I've had people contact me about my work
(probably fresh off Google), asking me to either submit or simply send
a DVD. On the occasions when they've decided not to program it, I have
often never heard back from them--not even a polite "thanks, but we
can't fit this in"--and very often only figure out the situation when I
see a festival line-up announced. This wouldn't be so annoying if the
initial approaches didn't suggest otherwise--one well-known festival
sent me an email thanking me in advance for showing my work there, but
then didn't end up showing anything and never even replied to let me
know. I get the sense that the sheer number of submissions to these
places has left festivals feeling like they don't own filmmakers
anything, esp. not an old-fashioned thanks but no thanks letter or
email. This is one of the many things that make me ask if those fees
are providing funding something I want to be a part of. In too many
cases, my answer is no and I stand in solidarity with "mister" Zander
on that.

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.