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on Oct 7, 2010

So now it’s all over. Independent Film Week has come and gone and the follow up begins. That’s the whole point of all this — to make the connections and see where they can take the film. Who is really interested in launching this film into the universe and what’s the best path?

The goal — identifying, creating, and assembling the audience. The good news is that there are people who want to help and are good at it (see conference panel). At IFW there was no shortage of advice from experts on marketing imperatives, branding, and being an active participant in the afterlife of one’s film.

And, there were the war stories — people who have been at IFP like Jennifer Arnold whose inspiring and moving documentary, A Small Act, was screened at an evening filmmakers event where she detailed the film’s journey from conception to release. Hearing her describe how the planets kept lining up for her as she created her film was certainly resonant for me. While making Our Mockingbird, I discovered a unique story about two high schools in my hometown of Birmingham who were collaborating on a production of the play, To Kill A Mockingbird. In the playbill for the production, the director described how the planets aligned when I came on the scene to document their process and I remain extremely grateful for that celestial gift. Really, I’m not sure how anyone makes a film without fate intervening on their behalf.

What was my take away from IFW? As said a number of times in various ways by those on the panels…it’s a crowded world out there and to get noticed one has to make a certain amount of noise.

I can testify that there was intense passion and a lot of noise in the room where the filmmaker/industry meetings were held. And why wouldn’t there be? You can’t conceive a documentary feature and see it to the end without the passion. It’s far too demanding a process. So if the decibel level was any indication, the films that were invited to participate in IFW/Spotlight on Documentaries will find their place in the crowd. I’m looking forward to charting their progress and seeing them upon release. Thanks so much IFP for inviting me to participate in Independent Film Week and asking me to blog about this extraordinary event.  I can already feel the impact it has made on Our Mockingbird.

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