Blake Etheridge's interview with Tomas Alfredson (director of the upcoming Let The Right One In) includes this interesting tidbit that I think perfectly captures the collective experience of filmmakers on the festival circuit. Making the rounds with your film can have its share of disappointments but it can also be transformative.
Twitch: How important is the film festival circuit and experience for you as a filmmaker and what was your Tribeca experience like?
TOMAS ALFREDSON: It’s of course fantastic to have the opportunity to travel the world with your work. The world of film festivals can really be a gamble - In worst case you arrive after ten hours in different means of conveyance at The No Name International Film Festival to a dead quiet hotel room, sitting on the bed like Bill Murray in ”Lost in Translation.” Nobody tells you anything about what to do or where to go. In the evening you’re invited to a party celebrating the car manufacturer who’s the main sponsor. You and end up in a corner with as greasy bacon snack in one hand and a glass of undrinkable sparkling sweet wine in the other, like a shy idiot from Sweden with a badge on your chest with your name on it. Nobody’s seen your film but say they have heard about it and that they probably will watch it on Sunday. Maybe. The volunteers are running around stressed to the breaking point and the screenings of your film are not punctual, the projection is horrifying and people are going in and out of the theatre and on the Q&A nobody asks any questions except the moderator who pronounces your name incorrectly.
And it can also be fantastic, dynamic, professional, full of interesting meetings and bring you $25,000 dollars and the big prize from the hands of Robert de Niro like I did in Tribeca. That was one of the most memorable moments in my life.