Re: festival responses

From: Tom B Whiteside (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Jun 03 2009 - 06:50:18 PDT

Caryn has a good point. I think all festivals should give a yes or no
reply to all filmmakers who submit work, and it's inexcusable if they
don't. In years past many festivals required you to include a
self-addressed stamped postcard for their reply, some would even come back
with a rubber stamp YES or NO, that was cold. Probably a simple e-mail
"sorry, but your work has not been selected for our festival" is what's
proper today.

But I don't think that filmmakers should expect any kind of "thoughtful
response with some feedback." For festival staffs that would become a
real can of worms, and beyond that, you're right, those folks would tell
you that they don't have much time to discuss the "no" films, especially
with the filmmakers. In their role, their yes or no decision IS their
response. From my experience, programmers and selection committees do take
the task seriously, and for each and every film there probably has been
thoughtful discussion and consideration. If it was a difficult decision
(your work was on the fence) then a canned response (poor production
values, not interesting enough, not original) would not really be that
truthful, and more than likely it would piss you off.

The most important thing for filmmakers is to choose your festivals
carefully, look for the best match for your work.

        - Tom Whiteside Durham NC

Caryn Cline <email suppressed>
Sent by: Experimental Film Discussion List <email suppressed>
06/03/2009 08:14 AM
Please respond to
Experimental Film Discussion List <email suppressed>

email suppressed

festival responses

Dear Frameworkers,

I’m submitting my experimental films to festivals again, after a hiatus of
several years. When I submitted before, in the early 2000s, I always
received a response from the festival, whether my work was accepted or
rejected. Now, I find that festivals that reject my work rarely contact
me at all.

I wonder why this is the case? I’ve paid a fee to enter, usually, and it
seems to me that the very least the programmers, or their interns, can do
is to send me a form letter letting me know that my work didn’t make the
cut. It would be even better to receive a thoughtful response with some
feedback about my work. I realize that programmers often have a lot of
entries to view and judge, but shouldn’t a response, even a canned
response, to each and every filmmaker, be a standard of professional

I know that there are curators and programmers on this list. I will
appreciate hearing their perspectives, as well as those of other
filmmakers. I would also be interested to hear about festivals that do
respond to all applicants.

Thank you,

Caryn Cline
New York City

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