Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cleveland International Film Festival

Our movie has taken us all around the country.  In the last four months we've taken "Missed Connections" to Cleveland, Colorado Springs, Boston and Ann Arbor.  There have been too many wonderful memories for me to mention all of them.  But I am going to attempt to share some of the highlights with you and I'm starting with Cleveland....

We premiered here, it was our first festival and probably one of the greatest times of my life.  The Husband and I joked that it was better than our wedding day, but we may not have been joking.  Here, we screened to four sold out 250+ seat houses.  They just kept adding screenings.  One day we had to turn away a hundred people who had waited in line for an hour.  That day the line wrapped all the way down the multiplex's corridor and around the corner into the food court.  This was taken at the premier...
We sat in the audience with our parents as the Festival Programmer, Bill Guentzler introduced the film. "This came as a submission," he said "which is really unusual.  Finding movies like this is the reason that I do what I do.  I really love this movie and I hope you do too."  The four of us held hands, cried a little and then the movie started. 

All of what I just said still seems untrue or like something that you dream about when you are a child but then you become jaded and accustomed to never attaining it as an adult.  It still hasn't really settled in, even now, four months later.  At one point, my father said to my mother, "This is the kind of thing that you hope for, for your children."  Uh....yeah.  It was unbelievable.
I love this picture above because it looks a little like a framed album cover that I have of the Not Ready For Prime Time Players.  At the closing night gala, we stepped into a grand pavilion where two thousand people stood.  It looked like this...
We were certain that although, our film had done well, that there would be no actual awards for us.  That seemed impossible.  There were bigger movies with bigger budgets (200 times bigger), they had stars and important subject matter and did I mention the budget?  We were small potatoes with our cast of friends, our stolen locations and our budget of 25K.  Who would give us an award?  

And then a man on the podium said "and the winner of the best American Independent film goes to..."  and then our name "MISSED CONNECTIONS."  It was so clear and yet, it didn't really sink in.  The words seemed to spill out of his mouth like they were slowly being written in calligraphy in the air.  I could almost see the loopy font hovering above the podium.  The Husband was already on the stage before I even realized what was happening.  Our producer, Lisa Rudin had to turn around and say "Dorien!  Come on!!"  And there it was.  We won.  I cried.

 Cleveland Rocked
I honestly didn't think that the night could get any better and then, I met Wayne White from (best documentary winner) Beauty Is Embarrassing.  This was my favorite doc from all four festivals that I've been to thus far.  You should see it.  He's an artist and he's remarkable.
We left the next day and I swear it felt like we flew home without a plane.  Here's proof...
Cleveland changed me.  The festival was so organized and so encouraging that it set the bar unbelievably high for every other festivals.  The people of Cleveland love independent movies with a feverish passion.  I've never seen anything like it.  It was simply the most rewarding experience I've ever had as an artist.  I cannot thank them enough.  They put such a fire under our asses that we are already working on another movie.  I hope I get to go back to Cleveland one day, even if I don't have a movie to show.  It's just that good.

1 comment:

  1. Loved Missed Connections! Thank you so much for spreading the word about the Cleveland International Film Festival and how great Cleveland really is! Best of luck to you!