Friday, July 18, 2008

Ixnay On The Independent Film Week Debut

Rare is the day that I don't ask myself, 'What would Mister Rogers say?'

In fact, just now, I was staring out the window at the sunset doing just that. And as always, I heard his voice in my head.

"It's fine," he said. "Just keep trying."

The question?

What would Mister Rogers say when I told him our documentary, 'Mister Rogers & Me,' was not accepted to Independent Film Week?"

That's right. "Mister Rogers & Me" was not accepted to Independent Film Week. I got the email as I was walking through the turnstile at work. "Dear Benjamin," it started.

Thank you for your submission to the Documentary Work-in-Progress section of the 2008 Independent Film Week’ Project Forum. We regret to inform you that your project, “Mister Rogers & Me“, was not selected. We are only able to accommodate a maximum of 75 projects in this most competitive documentary section, which had approximately 500 submissions and numerous strong projects not selected this year.

Please be assured that all submitted projects were carefully reviewed by the Selection Committee. Final decisions were based on a range of criteria, including compliance with all application requirements, amount of financing in place or needed, available rights, artistic merit, and quality. That said, many projects "passed" these criteria, yet still could not be included due to space limitations.

I think I said, "Damn," before stepping into Times Square and cranking Billy Joel's "A Matter Of Trust" (of all things).

My first thought? 'Next!'

My second thought? Many.

First, I thought about early this afternoon. I was sitting in my office scheduling out the next few weeks: San Diego for ComicCon, Indianapolis for Brickyard 400, Meadowlands for Springsteen, Nantucket, Seattle, Nevis and on and on and on.

'I'm pretty blessed,' I thought then.

'Maybe this is some sort of message,' I thought now.

Second, I thought about how difficult the home stretch towards the Independent Film Week deadline was for Chris and me.
'Maybe this is some sort of message,' I thought.

Finally, I thought about how many times I said that, if all else failed, we'd load the movie into a van and drive it to every church basement and rec center that'd have us. Which still stands.

And then I thought, 'Back to work.'

We just have to keep trying.


Bre said...

"We just have to keep trying."

Please do. It really does mean so much to me (though I'm just a random stranger), and I think it will to so many others. Mr. Rogers spoke the simple truth, in love, and that is what people today need to hear so much more than they can imagine.

Either way, i'm so glad you're choosing to pursue this project in the manner you have by just throwing yourself into it wholeheartedly. Regardless of how many people ultimately see the film, you know those that do will certainly be affected. I know he would be so proud of you.

D said...

Never give up! I'm looking forward to seeing your film here in California!

Erin said...

I saw this article on CNN just now and thought of your film - I'm looking forward to seeing it! Don't give up!

stefan said...

Unreal. As an attendee of a number of festivals at which I had sit thru an interminable amount of crud, it astounds me this film didn't make it.

Anxiously awaiting your final cut. Anything I can do to help (what that is, I have no idea...) I'm happy to do.