“We cannot pay screening fees…”

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This nice person from an adventure film festival wrote to me the other day.

“Hi, 

I am writing on behalf of a new bicycle film festival called Gran Fondo Film Festival. The festival will premiere the 1st of May to the 3th of May and will take place at the Danish Film Institute in Copenhagen. 

We are interested in your film “Autarcies” – do you have an online screener of the film?

We cannot offer any screening fee, but instead we offer an international platform for your film and the opportunity to compete for one (or more) of the competitions prizes. A valued contribution to the program, your film would also support the festivals larger aim: to promote and encourage the production of films of this genre, and to promote adventure life and protection of the environment in general. Subjects that the festival makes great effort to communicate for our audience

Please let me know if you are interested, 

Kind regards, 

Tine Ewé, DAFF”

On one hand, it’s always a pleasure and an honor to trigger the interest of festivals worldwide.

On the other hand, one phrase in the email above made me think about how we actually value and promote the work of independent artists. I felt I had to reply sharing my thoughts – and the links to my films screeners too 😉

“Hello Tine,

I’m always happy to share my films with nice festivals – I thought I had submitted work to the DAFF but I don’t think I ever got contacted back, unless I’m mistaken. Anyway, I’ll provide you with links below.

Just one word about “We cannot offer any screening fee, but instead we offer an international platform” : I know you do your best to make your festival wonderful, and I’m sure, like many other festivals worldwide I share my films with, you work hard for that and it is a great festival. I can relate to this because I work so hard myself on my films, and I struggle to make a living out of it. And sometimes, I’d rather festivals would pay me, even a little bit, rather than focus on “offering an international platform” because some day, I’ll have to stop making films for lack of money to live. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome that people like you set up festivals and contribute spreading the work of people like me. What I’m saying is just that my only income is my films and everyone wants to screen them for free. I’m a small independent film maker, without producers or regular broadcasters and making a decent living of my films is a daily battle. I suppose you have a job, a paid job, should it be your work for the festival itself or some other, and you take it for granted that when you go to work, you get paid in return. This is never granted for people like me. I chose this life and I love it, but I also need to make a bit of money out of it to keep leading it. You wrote that your festival wants to “promote and encourage the production of films of this genre“… well, good films are money-and-time-consuming. Screening them for free, is it really the best way to promote their making and help their makers? I’m just wondering. Once again I’m sure you’re very devoted to the cause and to your festival, no offense meant at all!

But enough rambling, we dont know each-other yet and boum! already I am shooting my long annoying and serious speech at you, sorry for that 🙂

So here are the links to screeners for my adventure films related to cycling.

Your feedback is awaited,

all the best,

Damien”

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