This Friday I'm driving up to my home town of Cupertino, where I will be presenting 20 Matches at the Diamond in the Rough Film Festival on September 24 at 6pm. It's not a big festival, but it's in a theater where I practically grew up watching movies, so I couldn't say no. If you're in the Bay Area, why don't you stop by? Especially since I sacrificed a potentially awesome trip to New Orleans for the NOLA Horror Film Fest that same weekend. (My film screens there on Friday, September 23 at 6:45pm.) Alas, you can't be everywhere at once.
Besides Cupertino and New Orleans, the next upcoming film festivals for 20 Matches are Catalina (screening on September 30 at 10am), Red Ditch Halloween Film Festival (in Redditch, Worcester, UK) on October 28-29 (no screening time yet), and Tallgrass, in Wichita, Kansas, on October 15 at 12:30pm. I dearly wish I could attend Tallgrass, one of the best independent film festivals in the US, but I'll be in New Jersey for a wedding. Again – you can't be everywhere at once.
Oh, one more festival just gave me the nod: the inaugural HorrorHaus in Los Angeles, November 5-6, in North Hollywood. Again, no screening time has yet been set, but I will certainly be in attendance.
At this point, 20 Matches has gotten into 17 film festivals. (There's one more in Europe that I can't reveal yet.) Of course I hope we make it to 20, as that would be fitting, but it's up to the fates. I'm still waiting to hear from 11 more festivals, so we'll see.
But to give you some idea of how hard it is for an American indie short to get into a festival outside of the US, only 3 out of 23 foreign festivals accepted 20 Matches, whereas a whopping 14 out of 29 US festivals accepted it (nearly a 50% acceptance rate – amazing!). So why did I even bother submitting to foreign festivals, you may ask? Because most were free to enter. Though it can be argued that it's wiser to spend $40 submitting to one US festival that might actually like your film than it is to spend hours and hours searching for freebie festivals in other countries that will most assuredly turn you down, and won't even be polite about it. (Many don't even bother sending notice.)
Another lesson I've learned is that I should have risked entering more high-profile American festivals, now that several of them have actually accepted the film. I can think of at least twenty that I wanted to try – but those submission fees would have added up to at least $800, and at some point you have to ask just what you're hoping to gain from it all. Still, I spent about $140 on foreign festivals this past year... If I could do it all over again, I'd take that money and spend it on three good American ones instead. (USA! USA!, etc.)
In any event, while it's been a fun tour on the festival circuit, and I certainly hope to attend one more outside of LA before year's end, emotionally I'm done. At least with 20 Matches. I'm ready to start working on a new film. As of this writing, I have over a dozen ideas, but they are all half-baked. I need to pick one that excites me, and that I can also afford to make, and run with it. It would be great to have a new production going by this time next year. Stay tuned...