We had finished our short sci-fi/comedy, The Invention of the Perpetual Motion Machine and were now looking forward to what exactly it is that we should do with it. It was always the plan to submit the film into some festivals but we had never done so before. Research was required. Rather conveniently, a new one happened to be running it’s first year right in our home city of Lincoln. We entered and awaited the result.
Once we had figured out how this whole ‘entering into a film festival’ thing worked, (which as it turns out is fairly painless) we eagerly scouted around for other possibilities and found a few that we thought we might feasibly stand a chance of getting into. Lack of experience made this difficult because without having gone to any festivals and seeing the type of content these screen, we had to go with our instincts. Also festivals cost with no refund if you don’t get accepted, so it’s not like we could just enter into everywhere and hope for the best. So we carefully selected a handful, then sat back and waited.
Personally I felt that our film wasn’t exactly the sort of thing festivals would be looking for. This wasn’t to say anything negatively about the film itself, as I think it’s a good film. But it’s a five minute sci-fi/comedy with lots of dialogue. I thought, rather ignorantly, that festivals would want something more along the lines of art pieces. Visually engaging, high concept, not-so-story-heavy masterpieces. I just didn’t think our little film would belong. So I just wasn’t getting my hopes up that we’d be accepted into any festival at all. And I was actually completely fine with that, I was just happy that I had made a film! I was already looking to the future, wondering what the next film was going to be. Of course that’s not to say that I didn’t care. The fact that anyone at all would be interested in watching it for their own interest or entertainment would be an incredible bonus. A little industry recognition for the work we had made would be great motivation, and to watch our short on a big screen alongside other recognised professionally made work surrounded by a bunch of people who appreciate good films would be awesome.
First of all we got into Indie-Lincs, the first year festival based in Lincoln I mentioned earlier. Brilliant news. I had never been to a proper film festival before and saw it as an opportunity to learn about the industry I was wanting to get into. So I binged on all the films that were screened over the two days that it ran. There were like thirty films. That’s a lot of films. I mean some of them were features for crying out loud. But it was a good thing to do. I was absorbing information. It was a fun & interesting festival, an incredible learning experience & motivational tool, and I enjoyed it a lot.
Having the film screened in front of an audience was incredible. What’s nice about a comedy is that you can hear people actively enjoying it with their laughter. And people actually laughed. This was surprising to me, I guess I just didn’t know if people would. It was a great feeling. Actually it was incredible. Indie-Lincs was cool and it was great to be a part of it.
Secondly we got into SCI-FI-LONDON, a long running, well known science-fiction festival that had been running for fifteen years. I’m overusing the word but this was incredible. A film that I had written and directed was going to be in the biggest science-fiction film festival in the UK. The short was going to be played three times over the course of the ten days it was going to run and since we couldn’t watch everything, we chose a few groups of shorts (one of which our own film was of course included), a couple of features we thought looked interesting and then headed over to London for a couple of days to check it out.
SCI-FI-LONDON was not the sort of festival where people clapped, at least not in the screenings we went to. But when Shorts 5 screened there was an applause at the end of our film. And people were laughing. I mean, not everyone but a few people who really seemed to enjoy it. Quite frankly I’m new to all of this and in a lot of ways I’m not sure if persuing filmmaking is going to even go anywhere. That small round of applause meant a lot to me, that maybe making films is actually a good direction to be going in.
And so ends the production of our first film – We haven’t been accepted into anymore festivals so far, but the fact that we got into two is amazing. We’re now moving on with the next film which is in post-production and I’m looking forward to the future.