Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Year-End "Mister Rogers & Me" Update

Dear Kickstarter Friends,

As you may have guessed by now, "Mister Rogers & Me" was not one of the 2% of submissions accepted for the Sundance Film Festival. Chris and I always knew it was a long shot, but would never had made the submission deadline without your support. We're now focused on Tribeca, Nantucket and beyond.

Meanwhile, many of you may be wondering when your signed DVDs, CDs, and photos will arrive.

I just ordered 50 8x10" prints of one of my favorite spots on Nantucket. It's a photo I took in Madaket looking west towards the sunset from the Ames Avenue Bridge over Hither Creek. It's the last print in this series (and pictured above). The bridge leads to Smith Point and Mister Rogers' Crooked House.

Signed "Almost Home" CDs and prints, then, will ship within the next ten days. Before I can ship anything, though, I need you're "snail mail" addresses. Please send me a message here, or via benjamin [at] mtvi [dot] com.

DVDs, of course, will have to wait until the film's official release. At this point, we don't really know when that will be; it all depends on what happens with the premiere... whenever and wherever that is. We'll keep you posted!

Meanwhile, best wishes for a happy, healthy and joyous new year.

:), Benjamin

Saturday, December 05, 2009

"Mister Rogers & Me" Not Headed To Sundance

Figures that I'd hear from the Sundance Film Festival about the fate of our sweet, little film just as I head to Hollywood to cover one of the most-ambitious, expensive blockbusters of all time for work, right?

I knew we'd hear no later than Wednesday, so -- not surprisingly -- I wasn't sleeping terribly well. My car to the airport was at seven, my flight was at nine, but I woke up at four and checked my Blackberry. I tossed and turned another hour, then got up to get ready. And there it was in my inbox, subject header "2010 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL NOTIFICATION."

Dear Benjamin,

On behalf of our Programming staff, I would like to thank you for submitting your film to the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Unfortunately, we are not able to include it in our program this year. We received a record 9,800 submissions this year, and many tough decisions had to be made in order to narrow the field down to under 200 films. Please know that your work was carefully considered by our team, and we viewed far more worthy films than we had room for in the program. I sincerely hope that this decision does not discourage you in any way. We wish you the best of luck with your film, and we look forward to having the opportunity to view your work in the future.


John Cooper
Director, Sundance Film Festival

Yes, I am disappointed. But no, I am not surprised.

My father points out that only two percent of films were accepted. My wife points out that getting the film done and submitted is an accomplishment in and of itself. And I'll point out that we never really thought we had a chance anyway; Sundance favors hard-hitting issue docs (not to mention fully-realized ones; ours is a work-in-progress).

What's next? The SXSW Film Festival deadline is December 11. The Tribeca Film Festival deadline is January 11. The Nantucket Film Festival deadline is February 1.

Chris and I will spend a few more days in the edit tightening the segments, clarifying the stories, and scoring with contributions from Casey Shea, Jonathan Hollingsworth, The Poem Adept (Davy Rothbart's brother's band) and me (I've remixed a bunch of "The Invention of Everything Else" tracks for the purpose).

We will make "Mister Rogers & Me" an essential documentary for festival director's programs.

Stay tuned...