Sunday, January 5, 2020

The obligatory annual state of Unseen Films post- 2020 edition

As this posts we are just short of ten solid years of Unseen Films.  February 20th will be our anniversary of at least one post a day for a whole decade. Weeeeeee!

In that decade we've covered around 10,000 films from all over the world, interviewed some the greatest filmmakers from around the world and we've made a ton of friends. It's the friends that is the important thing.

I am in awe of what has been accomplished- a hell of a lot more than I ever thought I would achieve when I just started to post my thoughts on some films I didn't want to get lost.

A decade later it's time to take stock and figure out where we go next.

Actually the real truth was that the plan was to get the website programmed to the anniversary date and then completely step away...but that isn't happening just yet. Right now the site is programmed into the end of July and by the time I finish the New York Jewish Film Festival and Slamdance  things will programmed via the leap frogging of posts into August. (I swap older films for new ones and they get pushed don the road).

Why am I considering going away?  The simple answer is burn out. The volume of Unseen's coverage is massive and because of the shifting nature of the film business it's become more time consuming. Additionally life both in the day job and my personal, have thrown things my way that make the juggling difficult. I don't want to but it may be necessary to step away...

...Or at least cut back. I have been cutting back already. The total number of posts for 2019 was the lowest number in 3 years- and about 200 less than last year.  I'm cutting back on most things and festival coverage even of fests I love- such as the New York Jewish Film Fest which is going to get only limited number of films reviewed this year (an aside- the selection this year is freaking awesome so go buy tickets-its so good I may do more than what I promised would be my limit.)

Where and what we do is going to depend upon if I am having a good time. I used to have a blast meeting with friends, going to screenings and hanging out. The trouble is now friends are being pulled by life, many have stopped writing because right now being a film writer largely doesn't pay (I've never gotten paid for any of this),  and the nature of the business is that unless it's a big Hollywood production or a big film fest most films are send via screeners, so what was once social is now frequently sitting home alone watching movies all night. Yes it means I have seen many more films than I would have otherwise- but it also means I'm not seeing friends. Without friends this no damn fun.

So what's the plan?

Plod on slowly.

I will be giving priority to a bunch of festivals I would go to even if I wasn't writing NYJFF, Slamdance, Sundance, Winter Film Awards, Tribeca,  New York International Children's Film Festival, NYFF, Oxford, Japan Cuts, Blood in the Snow and some others.

I have plans to give coverage to some really good fests like the upcoming Cinematters: New York Social Justice Film Festival and Fantasia which are running a ton of great films. As well as revisiting some new discoveries like the Chain Film Fest which just rocked.

And I am going to try and sort out where I stand with a few others that seem to be a bit lost (like New York Asian). There are some fests I have covered big time because they once were great but now its more misses than hits. And in a couple of cases, it has been too much battling with new press people who make it difficult to do any sort of meaningful coverage.

The plan is to do with the fests the same as I am doing with new releases - cover whatever makes me say yes instantly or make me curious. Anything else gets pushed aside.

Of course I will be covering anything from the  the network of great filmmakers and PR people who I will say yes to instantly.(One of the greatest things I get from doing Unseen is getting to see films from filmmakers I love early)

Beyond that I will continue to do Unseen as long as I am able and as long as it remains fun. That last part is increasingly based on finding good films- so as long as thy keep getting made I'll keep trying to do this crazy thing.

Thank you all for reading- I know return you to your regular lives, already in progress.

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