Last summer, during July 4th weekend, the Marblehead Festival of Arts
selected Like His Father
and Jimmy's House of Hugs
to screen at their arts festival. The festival ran 4-5 days and featured concerts, art exhibits, staged readings and films. Mike Evers ran the film festival.
I couldn't attend that but Marblehead did a winter version of their film festival this past Wednesday evening, and that I was able to make along with Jeremy and my parents.
A few films were added to the winter festival so that meant a few from the summer had to go, with Like His Father
being one of those. I'm not complaining -- it's their festival and they're the ones paying for it. I didn't expect a second screening of either film, so having Jimmy's House of Hugs
play for another audience was a bonus for me.
This was a free festival that included free popcorn. The films run time totaled to fewer than 90 minutes. I think these elements helped get butts in seats on a winter Wednesday night. It wasn't a large theater but most of the seats were filled. I've seen much smaller audiences at bigger festivals.
What thrilled me was that at least half of this audience was there just to see the films. Many did not have connections to the filmmakers or festival staff. I'm always thankful to have anyone attend (any new person seeing my film is still one more person seeing it who hadn't before), but I think it says something about a festival when they draw an audience that includes enough "outside" people. (I do not mean that to sound anti-inclusive at all!)
Of course I don't know really how many people were connected or not, but judging from the way I saw people talking to each other, or not talking to each other, it seemed that many came out of pure interest. Plus, a couple of people told me they didn't know anyone, including a young woman, Kathryn (okay, it could be Katherine or Catherine, and is more likely one of those two, but for some reason that spelling stuck in my head when she introduced herself to me so I'm going with it), who came up to another filmmaker and myself after the screening to say how much she liked our films. I asked if she was a filmmaker or if she knew anyone. "No", she said. "I just like to come and watch short films."
OK, Marblehead isn't the only festival I've been to that was able to draw a crowd from the community, but with small festivals and also with small theaters (particularly those smaller theatres that do original plays), it's more often the exception than the rule. I've been to many small plays/theaters in Boston, New York and LA where the audiences were mostly people who knew the actors or crew. And hey, as I basically said before, an audience is an audience. Having people come to support you and/or support the arts is a lovely thing, too. I'm always
very grateful for that. But sometimes it's nice to know that there are people who aren't there for support, but for nothing but their own self-interest. Really, are you going to see Spiderman 3
because you want to support Tobey Maguire or because you... eek... selfishly, want ONLY to indulge yourself in your own enjoyment? All those selfish movie goers will bring that film a lot of money.
OK, I haven't made Spiderman 3
yet. At my level of filmmaking I depend on a certain amount of support. It's just nice to have a taste of an audience who came merely out of believing that they would find entertainment. I strive for more of that.
I hope anyone reading this considers checking out the Marblehead summer arts festival. The staff has proven to run a very entertaining event, so much that you can forget you're supporting the artists and just have a fun time.
Thanks, Mike Evers, for this film festival. I was thoroughly entertained, too!
To any of you who came, thanks for your support, and thanks especially for enjoying yourselves.
to all of you who voted Jimmy's House of Hugs
their favorite film -- it came in first of all the films made by us locals.)
Labels: Festivals/Screenings, Film Thoughts