A colleague who programs for a regional film festival forwarded this link to screenwriter William Martell’s blog in which he launches a lengthy broadside against the purity of film festivals.
You probably think of film festivals as some sort of important institution – a cultural event designed to select the very best motion pictures and give them the rewards they so rightly deserve. A place where commerce doesn’t matter, and artistic expression is worshiped. A place where people only care about the quality of the film, and only the best films are screened.
Film festivals are about money and fame. The idea that it’s all about the art is as much of a scam as the idea that the Best Picture Oscar always goes to the very best picture… and trade adverts or backroom deals or DVDs sent to every member of the Academy have nothing to do with what film wins.
My friend said that if the reading is uncomfortable that’s because many of Martell’s observations are true. I don’t know about this. I think his formulation of the Sanctified Film Festival is a bit of a straw man, but his comments about Raindance, Ft. Lauderdale, and a certain festival in Colorado are certainly entertaining.