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I suspect that just about everyone who is at IFW this week applied for the chance to meet with buyers, distributors, and financers, and so I expected that I would spend my midweek blog focusing on those meetings and letting prospective Spotlight on Documentary participants know what a great opportunity this is. Well the good news is: it is true! IFW is a great chance to meet one-on-one with people you may otherwise only be able to contact through the abyss of their “info@____.com” company inbox. That is what makes IFW unique, and, particularly for New York-based filmmakers, many of these introductory meetings can easily be followed with longer conversations going forward, which is great.

So I was surprised when what I really wanted to write about was how excited I was to meet the other filmmakers. When you’re on the journey to make a film, it can be easy to feel isolated and to go home after endlessly long days shooting or fundraising or editing feeling like you’re the only one crazy enough to be doing this. I don’t mean to be negative, but anyone who has ever started a documentary can attest to the infinite number of obstacles thrown up along the way. So I cannot overstate how motivating and exciting it has been to hear about some of the stories that are being turned into documentaries today. I felt like I learned something new in every conversation I had, and isn’t that why we do this? I could go on and on about the stories out there – about the first openly gay man in Uganda, or the effect that technology has on our society through the prism of having triplets, or what it is like to be a public defender, or an abused boy in Mexico trying to heal – but the point is really just that great to be reminded that we are all just chipping away, trying to convince the world to take a few minutes to think about someone or something other than themselves, and to consider an alternate reality, and perhaps to help make a difference. And we do it through storytelling, and what could be better than that?

So to prospective IFW Spotlight on Doc attendees: don’t worry, you’re not alone! There are other people out there who are crazy enough to try to make films.

And to any current IFW Spotlight on Doc attendees who somehow still have the energy to be reading articles: thanks for sharing your energy and your time (and probably some of your money) to tell a story, and good luck with your film!

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