Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Film Festivals: Changing Dates

Forgive me for not posting in the last several days. I have been waiting to make an announcement.

And the announcement is: we have changed the dates of the Dallas Video Festival this year from October 3-5 to November 7-9th.

In the 21 years of the festival we have moved around: October, November, January, March, May, July, and August.. wow writing it out seems odd. We have just missed September, February, April and June. There have been a multitude of reasons for moving over the years. And we have had to change our dates in the past as well. Back in the days when were were at the Dallas Museum of Art , we would always select the dates for the next years festival the day the Fest was over. One year, about a month out, we got a message that there was a wedding booked for the Saturday night of the festival. We were told that although we were on the programming calendar, at that time the catering calandar was the master calender of the Museum.

So what happened this year? Our friends at the Angelika theater wanted our original dates to open a film and we like to accommodate our partners, so we asked the people we had commitments with if they could move their schedules. We have heard back from almost everyone, so we are making the change. And you heard it first here.

It also takes a bit of pressure off me. (I have noticed I have been a bit unpleasant to the people around me.) So I have a draft of the schedule that I work over. Oh, if you were wondering what high-tech programming method I have, I just use a Word document with tables. This process is not about the software but about the story. Putting together a festival program is like editing a film. You have lots of great shorts, film, videos and you have to put them in some order, start strong, build, end strong, develop themes and find connections. All the the same skills as editing a film, or probably editing my sloppy copy. (Thanks Anne.)

There is a place where technology comes into play: controlling the data. Many years ago Darren Deitrich of Emphsys build us a back-end database so that when someone entered the festival online, that data could be massaged, used to make lists, and eventually added into the program book and displayed on the Web site. This would be contact info of the maker, description of the program and my judgments. We were one of, if not the first, to do this, but eventually a service called Withoutabox began doing this for many festivals. Any filmmaker who wants to get into a festival signs up, fills out the info and selects where they want to send it. I had a proposal to do this in 1997 but we were too short-staffed to follow through. I like our data base better. If you are not on Withoutabox, you miss out, but I just find it a pain to work with.


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