I find myself saying that more often as I get older. May sound a bit cliché but it’s true. My blog has suffered, not from lack of things to share but because the time got away with me. I admire bloggers that I follow who have a faithful routine of posting important and interesting happenings.
The last five months have been a whirlwind, in a good sense. Beyond Sixty Project premiered at the Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival in March. It is a small festival but that is probably a good thing. I was nervous. I had never seen the film on a big screen, as in Regal Cinema size, and I pretty much tortured myself the night before by imagining the worst. But, guess what? It looked good and about five minutes in I started to settle down.
I was very touched by the people who showed up for me. I have past work-related connections in and around LA, including a number of women that I love but hardly ever get to see. They showed up. Some from as far as Orange County. Anyone from LA knows that’s a big deal. I am forever grateful to them for their interest, feedback and ongoing support.
I got to see some wonderful films and met some truly talented filmmakers at this first event. I loved watching their films and studying their style of filmmaking. If you have never attended a film festival you should go! Some of the best films out there are independent films and the filmmakers are usually there to answer any questions you have. Supporting indie filmmakers is a good thing to do. They want an audience and your feedback.
I got home from LA long enough to do the laundry and re-pack for my second film festival in Hot Springs, Arkansas (of Bill Clinton fame). I had not been there since 1984 when I went down one summer to hang out with my best friend Judi who had recently moved there from Vermont. It is coincidental that all these years later, one of Judi’s younger daughters just happened to be living a couple hours away and she came to my screening with her husband and his parents who live in Little Rock. Another much needed very warm embrace.
The Hot Springs International Women’s Film Festival screens in the historic Central Theatre. Rumor has it that it is haunted. I sat in there for two days watching films and only turned around twice to see who was tapping on my shoulder. There was no one behind me. Beyond Sixty Project won the Audience Award.
The film went to Calgary, Canada for the Third ACTion Film Festival in June. I received some great reviews from Calgary. I was unable to attend that one as I was traveling through Iceland and Norway for a couple of weeks on a pre-planned vacation. If you ever have the chance to see either or both countries I hope you do. It was truly spectacular and so different from other destinations I have traveled to. If you want to know about my itinerary get in touch and I can fill you in.
In July Beyond Sixty Project made it’s PA premier at the New Hope Film Festival in beautiful New Hope, PA. This was my favorite so far because it was the first time my husband, children and grandchildren got to see it. For three years they had only heard me talk about it. I thought I was nervous in LA but New Hope brought my anxiety level up a couple notches. Not only was my little family going to see it but I had friends and family that came all the way from MA, CT, NY, NJ, DE, VA and DC. I was really surprised that so many people would come, especially during the hottest week of the summer. Back to the anxiety level. It was all fear based, I know, but it was still there. What if they didn’t like it? Relief set in when they laughed in the right spots. They liked it! The positive response was wonderful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming all that way to show your support. You helped to sell out my screening a week before the event.
New Hope Film Festival awarded Beyond Sixty Project the Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary and the Female Eye Filmmaker Award. I admit I did get a little teary-eyed when they announced the second award. I met some incredibly talented filmmakers in New Hope. It is a class A festival with tremendous emphasis placed on working with and supporting the filmmakers. It was a great experience and I was amazed by the level of talent from all over the world. One of my favorite films, Union, by Whitney Hamilton, is a must see. It has been picked up and is playing in select theatres now. Let me know how you like it. Another is Second Samuel. Not in theatres yet, but watch for it.
In addition to prepping for next film festivals (there is a lot to do to get ready for each)August has been spent reviewing potential distribution offers and helping my daughter and her little family move to Vermont. Another teary-eyed moment but good tears. Oh, and good old August let me check another year off the calendar!
Next up, Catalina Film Festival in CA which I will not attend because I will be in Vermont attending Judi’s youngest daughter’s wedding. I sure wish she was still here with us so she could be at the wedding. I could regale her with my stories from Hot Springs, a place she called home for only a short time, but a place with shared memories.
Then on to Washington West Film Festival, Washington DC. That festival runs October 24-28 in and around DC, based out of Reston, VA. What I love about this particular festival is they give 100% of the festival proceeds to struggling communities. Check out their website at http://www.wwfilmfest.com. They will be posting their line up of films, including Beyond Sixty Project, on September 19th. You can purchase single tickets for any movie or purchase packages for the entire event. Come to the festival. You might see Robert Duvall. You will definitely see me!
I hope your summer has been a good one and you enter the Fall in good health and with good cheer.
Peace and Love, Melissa