Earlier this year, Raindance published an article called 16 Things Film Festivals Hate About Filmmakers. Well, we're not Raindance, so here is our antidote.
For the BIFF team, this festival is a labour of love. Like the hundreds of indie film festivals around the world, we do this because we love it. Just like you, the grassroots filmmakers, who are passionate about telling your stories. Call us naive but we know that it's really love, not money, that makes the world go around. So here's an open love letter to the filmmakers who have submitted to our festival in 2017 and in the previous 11 years.
1 Your Authenticity
Rather than disappear into La La Land you keep it real with stories that real people can relate to. We love reading the directors' bios and the stories behind the films. You don't make stories for popularity's sake, you tell stories that need telling. If it weren't for festivals, stories like Moonlight would never be heard.
2 Your Passion
Nothing beats the joy we feel when we tell filmmakers they have been selected for our festival and we get an excited response back. When you feel blessed to be a part of this, we rejoice with you.
3 Your Commitment
We will never fully comprehend the time, money, blood, sweat and tears you guys put into creating a film. Scraping together the finances, late nights rehearsing, days, weeks and months of editing and then the circuit of festivals. We recognise that you put a lot into it and so we try to match you with our dedication and commitment to getting this right. We've also put a couple of dates in the diary this year to run masterclasses just for you - on film financing and social media. We hope you can make it.
4 Your voice
It never ceases to amaze us how many great films there are that never make the big screen, and we only see a fraction at BIFF. But what good is a good story if it will never be heard? We love it when you recognise that you have done something which is worthy of shouting about and go for it, telling everyone who will listen. We are 100 percent with you and together we can shout even louder, so that as many people as possible get to hear your story.
5 Your attention to detail
The film business is a tricky industry. So we take our hats off to you when you have read all of the small print, dotted the i's and crossed the t's for this, your umpteenth film festival, with its rules and quirks, which are probably different to the 20+ you've already submitted to. And when you send us your film images, films and press releases on time, we love you even more.
6 Your social media shout outs
We are a virtual film festival team, so we often use social media to connect to each other and connect our filmmaker community. We love love love it when filmmakers acknowledge and shout out their fellow filmmakers. The more we support each other, the more the stories get seen and heard.
7 Your patience
We know we don't always get back to you quickly - sorry! But because there are hundreds of you and only one of us, we really do appreciate it when you understand and forgive us. You really are on our to-do list, but it's a very long one list!
8 Your journey
Since the inception of this festival and in the last two years that the current team have been involved, we've tried to create a festival that filmmakers want to come back to. We love seeing your progression from a Spike Lee inspired film fanatic to a fully fledged director producing a kick-ass short narrative.
9 Your drive
We are constantly amazed by the lengths you take to get your films noticed, publicised and out there. You have begged and borrowed to get airfare, tried every tactic to get a submission waiver and are even buying tickets for your friends and family to attend the screening that you are so proud of. Because we see that you are 100 percent dedicated, we pull out all of the stops to make this your best festival experience.
10 Your trust
We don't take lightly the fact that you have entrusted us with your 'babies'. Because of this we do everything in our power to get things right. We sometimes make mistakes and we're still pretty new to this in industry terms, but please know that everything we do comes from a positive intent because we love doing this and we believe wholeheartedly in the platform we have created for diverse and inclusive storytelling.
To the BIFF 2017 filmmakers - we salute you!