Two days ago a film festival organizer yelled at me for being too lazy and not showing up to their awards ceremony. Here is how it went:
The festival is the Action on Film International Film Festival (http://www.aoffest.com/), for which I paid an entry fee of $35. They operate in a strange way: The only phone number listed is only a machine, no one behind it ever. They never sign any emails with names or numbers or contact info. They are very vague on their emails and website, which is not updated frequently.
My mom was here visiting recently, when the festival was going on. They charge filmmakers and guests $150 per ticket to go see the awards, so we said "screw it, too expensive for us" and we had a better time at the Topanga film festival for free instead (Topanga was a very cool festival by the way!).
So AOF Fest grants me the Best Animation Award though I wasn't at the awards ceremony, and I emailed to ask if they could mail the certificate to me. Their email reply said I could go "pick it up after the 23rd" way out in Monrovia (45 min drive with no traffic). So we did, Gus and I drove there to pick it up on the 24th, to what turned out to be an UPS store who handles some things for the festival (again, no personal contact with festival directors, ever).
The award wasn't there... So I ask the nice UPS lady to please call them and inquire about it. After talking to someone on the phone she said that nothing was shipped yet, and the award was going to be there later that day, to come back much later.
I didn't want to drive that far again, I'd rather pay for it, so I asked to speak on the phone to whoever she was talking to...
(this is where things got fucked up)
The man on the line (didn't get his name sadly enough) was angry from the start. I said that they told me to come after the 23rd (it was the 24th), so he simply started yelling, paraphrasing:
"We give you a chance to pick it up at the awards ceremony and you don't show up, then we give you a chance to pick it up later, and you don't even have the energy to drive 10 minutes away to get it?"
Me: "But I did drive! 45 minutes and not just 10, and it's not here like the email said it would be. I just want to know if you can mail it to me, I'll cover the costs."
"No, we can't mail it to you, and I'll tell you why! Because we can't be doing this for every single filmmaker who thinks the awards ceremony is not important enough for them to not show up, and then want everything delivered to their door. If you really wanted the award you should've been there to receive it at the closing night. It is obviously not important enough to you if you can't even drive to pick it up."
Again I tried to explain that I had driven, to no use...
The anonymous man kept yelling, basically giving more emphasis on how lazy I was being and how disrespectful to the event they put up for us (which, I remind you, I paid $35 to be included in, plus they wanted to take $150 more per person just to go see the awards).
I said something like "well you make us filmmakers feel very welcome to your festival", to which he mumbled something I didn't understand and hung up.
Luckily, the UPS lady was pretty awesome and she said not to worry, that she would pack it for me, and give me a call so she'd just charge my card over the phone. She did already, and the award is on it's way (thanks UPS lady, you are awesome!). The man on the phone wasn't even willing to consider that idea, it wasn't worth his time.
I say don't waste your time with impersonal festivals who don't really care for filmmakers (that is, unless the filmmakers are willing to pay up). You can add as many celebrity names to your list as you want, but it's not your red carpet or your media frenzy that makes you, it's the films and the filmmakers who shared their passion and work with you and your audience.
Verdict: AOF Festival - Not recommended
Posted by Joaquin Baldwin on Wednesday, August 26, 2009
- ► 2010 (13)