It’s been a little over a year since I’ve written an INTERLUDE CONFIDENTIAL blog. It’s not that I was finished with them (I was almost finished)—I still had a few left to do, including an interview with our musical composer KEVIN CROXTON, a blog about sound-editing, and a video compilation of the second day of filming. And I was also planning to write a blog about entering fan productions into film festivals…and that’s what I’m writing about today.
This past weekend, Interlude won it’s ninth film festival award (not counting those contests exclusively open to fan films). Our latest award was won this past weekend at the Austin Indie Fest for “BEST FAN FILM,” a category which is appearing ever more often in mainstream film festivals. In fact, one of Interlude‘s other three wins was the EUROPA PRIZE for “Best Fan Film” in the L.A. Sci-Fi & Horror Festival. And if you’re curious, Interlude also won these six awards in the following two film festivals…
Cult Critic Movie Awards
• Short Film
• Best Cinematography (Fiction & Documentary)
• Best Sound Designing (Fiction & Documentary)
• Best VFX Artist
• Best Science Fiction Film
• Best Short Film Cinematographer
There were five festivals we entered where Interlude was NOT selected:
Film Invasion Los Angeles, Etheria Film Festival – Genre Films Directed by Women, Under Worlds Film Fest, Cannes Short Film Festival, and Cannes Independent Film Festival. Interlude was also a selection but didn’t win the Tri-Cities International Film Festival…and there’s three film festivals I entered that will be choosing winners next month.
But what I’ve come to realize is that entering film festivals is a bit of a financial black hole. There are literally hundreds of them each year! And they all cost money to enter. Granted, I limited myself primarily to those offering special 50% discounts on submission fees, but that still started adding up, and by late last summer, I went cold turkey on entering any more film festivals.
But honestly, they make it just so darn easy to enter!
When I say “they,” I mean the people at Film Freeway. Just about every film festival uses that website to advertise their show and collect entrance fees. So if you’ve produced an independent film, all you have to do is set up a Film Freeway page like I have for Interlude (click here to see it). A film’s Film Freeway page contains everything a film festival needs to judge it:
- The film itself
- The trailer
- Summary overview
- Director(s) bio and statement
- Behind-the-scenes stills
- Link to the film’s website
- News and reviews
- Specifications (like country of origin, runtime, color or black and white, genre, completion date, and budget)
As long as you have a Film Freeway account and page, you can enter any contest as easily as you make a purchase from Amazon.
I learned that Interlude was a selection in the Austin Indie Fest after receiving an e-mail from the organizers of that show. They like to have the filmmaker(s) in attendance to give a speech and accept the award if their film wins and also just to have decent audiences when the films are shown. Usually, there’s a theater or auditorium (sometimes multiple theaters) rented to screen each of the selected finalists.
I don’t typically bother trying to go unless it’s somewhere close to me like Venice, CA (although I couldn’t attend that one due to a scheduling conflict). But for a show like the Cult Critic Movie Awards, which is held in India(!!!), forget it…especially coming off of COVID.
But Austin, Texas is actually relatively close to where three of my primary team members live. RAY MYERS, who donated over $4K to the project and became an associate producer (and a really good friend, to boot!) lives in Dallas, which s only about three hours away from Austin. VICTORIA FOX and JOSHUA IRWIN, who teamed up to direct Interlude, live in northwest Arkansas…which is a heftier 8-hour drive from Austin (although a fairly straight shot). I let all three know that they were invited to attend the screenings and ceremonies on Saturday, January 14.
Victoria was going to be on a film shoot in Louisiana that weekend, working full time, and couldn’t make it. Josh was planning to just stay home editing, as he’s got multiple fan films that he’s currently working on for both AVALON UNIVERSE and TALES FROM THE NEUTRAL ZONE. So Josh was going to pass, as well. Ray, on the other hand, was totally psyched to go and have an adventure (hey, the guy chases tornadoes and plays keyboards in a rock cover band, for gosh sakes!). But Ray didn’t want to go alone.
And so ensued a surprisingly short IM exchange between Ray and Josh via Facebook messenger, and before I knew it, they’d both messaged me to please let the show organizers know that two members of the production team would be in attendance. Apparently, Ray told Josh that he could edit on his laptop as they drove from Dallas to Austin, and Josh confided to me that he really wanted to take another ride in Ray’s Tesla!!
The guys shared some photos with me on Saturday as they did the buddy road-trip thing, stopping for a half-hour recharge of both the car and themselves as they grabbed a quick lunch. When they got to the festival, the attendance was “modest” but “decent” (their words), consisting primarily of the filmmakers themselves. Josh said that it was cool getting together with like-minded individuals to watch each other’s productions. Some were really good, others not so much. But the whole vibe was very positive and friendly. Indeed, there was even a panel where the filmmakers all got together to talk about…well…filmmaking. Another seminar was sponsored by LegalShield, which offers affordable legal services to filmmakers. Ray also had a blast, enthusiastically chatting with people and just soaking in the whole experience. I love Ray.
Of course, the biggest highlight for Ray and Josh was getting to see Interlude on a big screen alongside an audience…
Also screened in the fan film category was another Star Trek fan film, LEVIATHAN, a STARSHIP DEIMOS project released by POTEMKIN PICTURES in Lexington, KY. According to Josh, there was also a Scream franchise fan film that was more of an amalgamation of many horror film tropes. And finally, there was the excellent IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE, a James Bond musical fan film written and directed by the aforementioned Kevin Croxton (our composer for Interlude), featuring the 4th and 5th grader music club students that he teaches in northwestern Arkansas. Kevin was not able to attend but asked Josh to please accept and bring back the award plaque just in case In the Blink of an Eye won.
As the awards were about to be announced, Josh heard the organizer of the event say, “Well, let’s announce the winner of the Best Fan Film award first, as they aren’t here to accept and we can get onto the other categories.” At this point, Josh figured that Interlude hadn’t won and was suspecting that Kevin Croxton was likely to take the category because of the quality of his entry (no slight intended toward the folks at Potemkin Pictures or those behind the Scream fan film…Blink was just really, really good).
But instead, the organizer said, “The winner for best fan film: Interlude – A Star Trek Fan Production.” He was about to go onto the next category when Josh stood up and raised both his hands. “Hey, that’s our film!” Apparently, no one had received the e-mail I sent saying our director of photography and associate producer would be attending! But they were happy to have someone there to accept the award, and Ray took some photos of Josh accepting the award.
Josh asked me to be sure to mention how appreciative he is to Ray for not only encouraging Josh to make this trip but for making it possible. Gas for a 16-hour round-trip plus overnight accommodations (so as not to have to drive 8 hours in the middle of the night) would be quite a hefty expense for a man in Josh’s position. Instead, Ray drove six of those hours, let Josh spend the night at Ray’s lovely home, and even picked up the tab for the few of the meals they shared. “So my sincere thanks to Ray for being such a good friend,” said Josh.
As for Ray, when I asked him for a quote, he wrote back, “The people at the event were all so friendly and professional and welcoming. It was a sincere delight to be there among so many creative people. There were some other great films in the fan film category. I got to watch all of them and enjoyed them a lot. My only regret is that Jonathan Lane couldn’t be there with us!!”
Yeah, I wish I could have made it, too. Instead, I was stuck watching the Los Angeles Chargers blow a 27-point lead going into halftime! But hey, Interlude was awarded best fan film…so at least I enjoyed one solid win on Saturday!