Sunday, October 14, 2018

Thoughts on why the smaller festivals are more important than the big ones

With the New York, Bushwick, Brooklyn Horror and Heartland Film Fests all ending to day I wanted to share something I put up as a series of tweets. This was done a week or so ago and came out the realization that as good as the big fests are at show casing big films they are actually missing so many of the best films. I say that because having just covered a number of smaller fests, and specifically Bushwick, I realized the best films, the more challenging and innovative films are not playing the big rooms but the small ones. (Sorry NYFF this year you were kind of dull and way too staid)

Yes, the big fests can promote the hell out of films with backing but they aren’t getting the films that are shaking the pillars of heaven and which show the path to a new cinema. I’m sure they will show a “groundbreaking film” a couple of years after a small filmmaker’s groundbreaking film has had a chance to have been raided by a better known filmmaker.

I’m sorry if that is cynical but it’s true. I am seeing way too many good films that are being missed because the filmmakers can’t get into the big festivals. The big fests need to change that or they are going to rapidly find themselves behind the curve.

What follows are my thoughts on how the big festivals can change that. Of course they won’t listen- but regardless I have to say it because maybe, just maybe someone will and the game changing films will get seen.

Once again the small film festivals are screening the best and most interesting stuff.

I kind of would love to have a big festival in New York that takes all the best stuff found by all the programmers of all the small fests around the city and country and plays them in one place

I know Unseen Films is kind of like that with all the films we review- but we need to get the films seen- the docs, the features and the shorts- we need to get more people watching these films and falling in love with all the kick ass directors we have found over the years

I was just watching some films from Bushwick Film Festival and wondering why aren't they at bigger festivals, why aren't they on more peoples radar. Yes they maybe a bit imperfect but they are altering how we see life and the genres they are working within.

‏No offense to the bigger fests but if you want to show how the cinematic forms are being altered and made exciting you have to go away from the big name fests and find the small gems.

What a festival like the New York Film Festival needs to do is set up a whole inde sidebar- don't take submissions- just send one or two or three people out to all the festivals across the country- and have them watch the films- just go and watch-and make notes...then take the notes and come back and put together a sidebar of films- put it together and say these are the really cool films you haven't heard of but which we think are doing something special, To hell if they played NYC before- just find great films and show case them

We need a big established festival to go out and find these small gems and these unique voices and bring them all together on a big stage year after year and show the mainstream people what kickass people are out there ...

... and by kickass people I mean every director and producer and writer and actor and whatever, who has believed in their work so much that they took a shot and made a film and gotten it out there for the world to see - and then fought to get it seen- you all know who you are

All of your voices need to go big- you all need to play the big rooms and meet new people not just crazy people like me and the other Unseen crew who search out the gems, but the vast crowds of cineastes and film fans who have no clue as to what they are missing.

Please NYFF or Tribeca or Toronto or where ever find some people to go out and find the films that don't meet your normal guidelines, that are too poor to pay your entry fees but which are good or interesting and need to be seen.

Trust me- as the mad brain behind a website that reviews around 1000 films a year there are great films you aren't seeing because you aren't looking. You can't just take what comes up to your doorstep- you need to go out and look. (Hell I find some of the best films because they come looking for me.)

You need to look because you all claim to be showing us the best of the best and the state of film today but you're really not.
Be bold be daring send off some missionaries to find some glorious small films trust me-you will change the face of film forever for the better for real

And as for you film fans- go to the small fests go to Bushwick and Brooklyn and Camden and Brooklyn Horror and Ithaca Fantastik or whatever festival that's near you and root around because odds are you are going to find things you never thought possible

Trust me I know- I've seen the most amazing things- only now you need to see them too

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