Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

There's magic in the air

What a rewarding experience the screening of THE WHOLE TRUTH was at the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival.

While the crowd could have been larger, the audience genuinely loved this film. Many laughs were had - including mine and I've seen it a bazillion times.

Q and A afterward was fantastic - one person is an "expert witness" in hundreds of trials and says there's more truth than fiction in the film and he thought it was a great, funny film; he wants to show it to all his colleagues.

Charlie Prince, who heads up the fest, was profuse in his praise of our film and how proud they were to screen it; he was surprised that it was my first feature because of its quality and the great performances of the actors.

One woman commented that she was "shocked" by Elisabeth Röhm's outstanding and hilarious performance. That Elisabeth was so "out there," when she had been only used to seeing Elisabeth in heavy dramatic roles.

Charlie said members of the fest's advisory board, including Nathan Lane, viewed the film and gave it highest marks, which is how it was selected.

I said of all the festivals, this is one I was perhaps most proud because it represents more than 100 years of advocating for comedy - meaning our First Amendment rights. To Friars, comedy is no laughing matter!

At the reception for feature filmmakers, we filmmakers noted that the Friars' festival is perhaps the most pure and pristine on the planet; perhaps since its their first. There are no politics involved, all films were judged for their quality, period, and all submitted were screened.

My partner Gary Allen Tucci was told outright that we were not accepted at one festival because of the way our materials were submitted. The festival runner said film festivals are "political," that if you know how to play the game you're in, If not? To quote Heidi Klum: you're out.

He added that in many cases, if the materials do not include something special and separate that makes them stand out, they may not even screen the film because so many are submitted.

Lesson learned! We'll have pop-ups and stars and who knows what else to include with a super film in THE LONELY GOATHERD (Heart Break Productionz next feature!). For other festivals, that is. We won't need 'em for the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival - just a good film, well made, which we know will be screened by pro's.

Edited to add: I've failed to mention the international nature of the festival! Films from any and every country could submit their shorts and features - and all the films I've seen from other nations (English and non-English speaking) are funny in any language, even those heavy on the subtitles.

Knowing how many nations submitted their is so incredibly humbling, since only a few features were selected for the festival.

I told Charlie he might consider calling it the Friars Club International Comedy Film Festival, but he said he thought the title might be a little long. Not for me, but I'm not a film festival marketer, either.

BTW, Charlie said they learned their lesson re: the luncheons. Next time, there will be networking luncheons for filmmakers! They were trying to offset some of the costs of the festival by having luncheons for big spenders, and realize now they will find other ways to do that.

My experience at this festival has been (still another day of it left, but the pressure is off now!) memorable. Our film has been treated with such respect and admiration; their appreciation of the work and us filmmakers has been palpable. I've also made some new BFF's whose work I admire as well.

Thanks to a producer I met recently, I was able to hook up with an influential attorney here who reps films in distribution and other deals, meet folks whose opinion of the film is influential and hand off copies of the film's screeners to distributors interested in getting our film to a theater near you.

Which, hopefully, will happen sooner than later.

For The Goat, we should have a pre-production distribution deal in place so we don't ever have to go through this again. Pre-production distribution deals (a distributor signs up to take your film, still having the right to refuse to distribute it if it doesn't meet its quality and financial obligations) are common, and with budgets less than $10 million distributors don't interfere with the filmmakers' process. They are free to comment at any point, but the final decisions still rest with the filmmakers.

At the high end deals with studios, the studio has a say from the getgo about everything. Which is why I remain "Indie."

And oh, so happy to have had the opportunity to participate in the maiden voyage of the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival!

Congratulations Charlie Prince and Susannah Gora on presenting such a successful event.

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  • At 6:26 PM, Anonymous Caitlin said…

    I'm so glad that it went so well and that you had such a great experience!!!!

  • At 11:17 PM, Blogger cp said…

    It was truly one of my life's great memories, Caitlin, thank you!


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