I just got back yesterday from my three-day appearance at HATCHfest in Bozeman, Montana, which prides itself as being not a film festival but an "audiovisual arts festival" (fair enough, as they had competitions and shows involving fashion, music and design) aimed at having industry professionals mentor and inspire students. But I was there for the film aspect of it, invited as a guest by Getty Images and rather arbitrarily put on the cinematography panel. I guess the festival committee was not sure where else I would fit in, as they knew me primarily as the Getty short film winner and not as a director of two features. So at first I felt very much in over my head, sharing the panel with, among other luminaries, Oscar-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Deer Hunter, etc.) and Kevin Smith's DP of choice, David Klein. But they were nice guys, and while they deservedly got the lion's share of questions on the panel, I still got to speak from a director's point of view and was apparently appreciated by the young and enthusiastic crowd. In fact, I believe our panel had the largest audience of any in the festival, so I was proud to be a part of that. All in all, HATCH is a great idea and a great time. I hope it continues to grow and thrive. I'd much rather people went to HATCH than to, say, Sundance.
I now plan to start work on the Poisoned Apple script even as Dial 9 to Get Out sits eternally on the edge of moving forward. (Latest update on that: I'm waiting for a specific meeting to be scheduled with a potential producer who has money.) Meanwhile, I am experiencing the dark side of the independent film world right now, as I prepare to take legal action against my former foreign sales agents MonteCristo Entertainment (now called MonteCristo International), who owe me thousands of dollars from their sales of Claustrophobia/Serial Slayer to the UK and to other countries. (And by the way, they are now claiming that they didn't sell the film to Russia or Ukraine, a year after claiming that they did. So my apologies to any readers in the CIS who can't find the film.) I can't predict the outcome of this matter, but I can at least tell other producers who might be Googling the company's name to stay far away from MonteCristo CEO Michael Taverna (aka Michele Taverna) and whatever film enterprise he represents. I'm not the only person who is having problems getting my money from him. And unfortunately this is not uncommon in this business.