The state of Washington, that is.
I am excited to announce, after a great reception on the east coast at the Garden State Film Festival in New Jersey, Beggar Girl has been invited to screen at the 11th Annual Rainier Independent Film Festival!
She is certainly the traveler traveling from coast to coast!
Now, the decision whether to book a flight, figure out my travel and lodging, decide what to pack, and attend the festival, or whether to not spend the money and time and have a garage sale that weekend.
It is common among filmmakers to ‘talk amongst ourselves’ regarding the experiences we’ve had at film festivals. If you don’t know for sure whether to go to a festival, it is helpful to get some insight from someone who has attended previously.
I inquired with a filmmaking friend, whose wife and he have traveled quite a bit to different film festivals with several award-winning documentary films. I knew they’d screened at the Rainier festival.
He shared that he’d had a good experience and added that if I go, I should be sure to “check out the mountain.” Mount Rainier.
There are many different reasons to go to a film festival. Sometimes it is looking to connect with other creatives, maybe even to collaborate on future projects. There is always the dream of randomly being ‘discovered’ by a big producer whose car happened to have broken down in the city and they are looking for something to do while it is being repaired, so they stop by the fest, just in time for my film’s screening. (Just me? I think not.)
Sometimes you go to watch your film with an audience and see how they react to your story, your creation. I’ve known people who have gone to festivals simply to explore the town it is in. Or perhaps it is in a place near family or friends you can also visit.
Quite often, in the least, it is to get a fix. To stand on a stage in front of an audience and be recognized as a director. Validation, something all creatives need.
During the months since making Beggar Girl, I’ve had a lot of personal struggles with health, (It isn’t fun when two different doctors tell you, “I’ve never had a patient with those symptoms.”). And I continue to grieve deeply over missing Daddy.
Plus, I’ve received some rejections from film festivals that hit kind of hard, which doesn’t help my frame of mind.
There are so many factors that can go into why a film isn’t accepted. If it is a short film, the length by even a couple of minutes can make the difference. Some festivals look to program similar films in blocks, so if your story doesn’t fit its theme, it’s out. There are festivals that want name talent. There are festivals that are afraid to program anything that isn’t family-friendly or that might actually raise an eyebrow. Or, maybe they just don’t like your movie.
Regardless, I’ve been on the rush-of-the-climb-then-drop-so-fast-it-makes-you-want-to-vomit roller coaster.
Some days I am able to confront the challenging forces and tell them, “Fine! I’m going to go write my next film no matter what you throw at me!” And off I go to a coffee shop with my laptop and allow myself to be swept away by the writing process and a skinny caramel macchiatto.
But some days, like today, I feel more weary. Defeated.
It was a tearful afternoon of looking at Daddy’s pictures and feeling overwhelmed. Feeling that he must be looking down on me feeling a bit frustrated, just as I am.
An afternoon of long hold times on the phone with the insurance company and the IRS (don’t worry, I got my taxes in on time, it is another issue).
Hours of ineffectually going through all the piles of papers and receipts and books and ‘stuff’ on the floor of my home office in an attempt to clear space so maybe I’ll finally start that exercise program I invested in weeks ago.
An afternoon that almost depleted the excitement of a northwestern festival honoring my film, basically saying, “We like your movie so much we want to share it with our audiences.”
When my friend said to make sure I “check out the mountain”, immediately Patty Griffin’s song, Up to the Mountain came to mind.
I’ve often found solace in Griffin’s music, particularly in the time since Daddy’s passing.
This was the inspiration I needed. Daddy was telling me to pick myself up off the floor, literally, and go up to the mountain.
“Sometimes I lay down
No more can I do
But then I go on again
Because you ask me to”
I’m told the audiences at Rainier are wonderful, and I look forward to sharing my story with them. And I’m excited for the journey to a beautiful place I’ve never been.
And as is necessary with every journey you have to find the courage to take, no matter where it leads me, I look forward to going up to the mountain.