Blogging the Virginia Film Festival
First of all, this is a terrific festival -- well organized, and they really treat filmmakers well. My screening was tonight, and I was a little worried that it wouldn't be well attended. It hasn't been advertised in any major way (compared to other films in the festival), and it was up against the "official" opening night film, about which the festival has made something of a big deal.
About 15 minutes before the show, I started counting people. 22. Okay, I was thinking, maybe three dozen will show, a decent audience (if you have low expectations from previous festival experiences. But people kept coming. And coming. And coming.
Pretty soon, they were out of room. Yes, the theater was packed. Can't tell you how gratifying it is to see your film with a packed theater.
The screening went off without a hitch -- projection was good. Sound was a little low, so on the quiet scenes, it was actually a little hard to hear some dialogue.
Afterwards, the moderator, Johanna Drucker (professor of media studies at University of Virginia) led the Q & A with several questions before opening it up to the crowd. And they had great questions, too. Laudatory, but also challenging and inquisitive. The Q & A went on for 45 minutes until the theater had to clear us out for the next screening.
Just a wonderful experience. Afterwards, several people came up to me to tell me how much they enjoyed it, how funny it was, etc. Really gratifying.
And then Johanna walked me over to the opening night gala. As we walked in, trying to get our bearings in the dark room with loud music, I turned to see Robert Duvall standing five feet away from me, in conversation with two other people. I made eye contact (quite by accident) and nodded and smiled. I was SO tempted to shake his hand and tell him how much I admire his work, but I didn't want to be just another fan, so I didn't. I should have. Later, he was gone - he probably left as the crowd picked up -- and I wished I'd spoken to him. But nevertheless, it was cool. He is still strikingly handsome. And quite tall.
Now, the pressure is off. My film has screened, and I can be just another film enthusiast attending terrific films at a great film festival. And it IS a great film festival. I feel so honored to have been selected to be a part of it.