Tomorrow I head off to Connecticut.
This is actually something of a big deal. I've never attended a non-local film festival. I had hopes of going to North Carolina and Cleveland last year, but the schedule never worked out. So here I am, driving past my home town to New Milford for a Saturday, 4:00 P.M. screening, with no idea what to expect.
D.C. Shorts has a filmmaker-friendly reputation--not that they pay for your travel or anything (no one does) but they treat you well once you get here. Plenty of networking opportunities, plenty of swag... it's fun and exhausting at the same time, and the quality of films is superb.
However, CTFF is brand-new and I have no idea what to expect. Will there be Q&As? Will I have free tickets? Will anyone from the festival even be at the screening? I do know that the screenings happen in multiple venues around Connecticut, so it doesn't seem as though there'll be a lot of unity or camaraderie. Maybe I'll be wrong, though.
I've already seen one of the films sharing the screening, Fumi and the Bad Luck Foot, which was a selection at Sundance, so I guess I'm in good company.
There's some sort of reception that evening in New Milford which I'll go to and be my usual wallflowery self, and then there's an awards brunch Sunday morning where I won't win anything. Then it's back into the rental car, and home.
All this is in aid of a new policy formulated by K and me: whenever I have a screening, if at all possible, I should go. After all, I want to make a career of this, if by "career" I mean "thing that earns me esteem but no money whatsoever." (There is NO money in short films.) I've told my kids that I'm going on a "business trip," because it sounds better than "a throwing-money-away" trip. And I keep on trying to tell myself that it's all worth it: the entry fees, the travel costs and time, the LightScribe DVDs, the thrill of acceptance and the agony of rejection. I know I should be happy, indeed reveling, in the simple fact that people actually enjoy my films. Still, it's hard to not wonder: is it worth it?