July 14, 1999

When you're rejected by a festival, you generally never hear why; instead, you get a form letter saying that an avalanche of incredibly wonderful films made it impossible for the committee to select the merely wonderful ones.  But the Fort Worth Film Festival promises that it will send you the feedback sheets that the committee members fill out, and lo and behold the sheets arrived today, more than a year after I made my submission.  And it was a real kick.  Of the four programmers that saw HONEYMOON, one of them just loved it--highest marks in every category, "a very good film about a very intimate subject."  From there it was all downhill.  The other three programmers rated the film "fair" (one notch above "poor"), unanimously deemed it "too slow" and "static," and made comments like, "the talk is endless and irritating," "no chemistry, no fun," "too many words," and "slow pacing too much."  Trying to be helpful, one viewer advised, "Don't put the audience off by talking them to death.  Much can be expressed between the words." Interestingly, two of them singled out the yard sale guy as the best actor.

The feedback sheets put me in a good mood, and not just because I had one fan on the committee.  The endless series of festival rejections, with no one ever giving you a clue about why, eventually makes you feel as if you're up against some shadowy Mabuse-like adversary.  Whereas these comments put a familiar face on the process, and one's reaction changes to something like, "Yeah, you'd probably think THE MOTHER AND THE WHORE was talky too.  Thanks for your opinion."  I wish all festivals would give feedback--wonder why they don't.

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