Greetings from the Berlin Film Festival

So maybe it was rather crazy to move to London at the same time as prep for the European Film Market, but despite misplacing my keys and hat, I’m here in Berlin and having a very productive time.

Yesterday, I hit Meet the Distributors and got some positive responses from a few sales agents. A Swiss filmmaker and I got to be friends  and he was sticking around for a discussion with two emerging filmmakers mediated by the director of Visions du Reél, a documentary film festival based in a small Swiss town. The discussion came with drinks so I had a glass of wine and paid partial attention while combing through the film program and discovering that Jiang Wen has a new film premiering here. Wow, I thought, maybe I can meet Jiang Wen???! I hardly get celebrity fever, but Jiang Wen directed and starred in what I think is one of the best political films ever made. If you’ve never seen Devils on the Doorstep, do yourself a favor and see it now.

Somehow, after the discussion, me and the Swiss guy and a random assortment of other filmmakers (Colombian, British, Polish, German, Indian) ended up with the last five open bottles of wine. Then there was a party where the Polish guy who spoke Spanish and said he could salsa, really danced some strange variant of disco with a lot of backbends. I escaped at around 1AM.

This morning, I had a meeting with Visions du Reél. I had just gotten a rejection letter for the festival but ALMOST HOME was invited to be part of the Media Library. According to their email, “In 2014 the Media Library consisted of 382 films resulting to more than 5300 views.” But it costs about $100 so I needed some convincing. I also tried to get an appointment with Sheffield Film Festival, which is still considering the film, but they were all booked. The Meet the Docs people suggested that I hover and try to wedge myself in anyway.

So I got there early to helicopter around Sheffield and oh, look, there’s also the Hawaii International Film Festival and Seattle International Film Festival too. Pretty soon I was pacing hopefully back and forth between various tables, looking for an opportunity to slide into an empty chair.

Good thing I did. I managed to score a waiver from Hawaii and Seattle said they would consider the film even though I missed the deadline. The meeting with Visions du Reél was also really amazing. It turns out ALMOST HOME was shortlisted for the festival (damn it) but they had to winnow down 3,000 entries to about 100 films, so we didn’t make the final cut. But okay, I suppose being one of 400 chosen out of 3,000 films counts for something, right? And the director said they would really support the film by matchmaking it to likely distributors and film festivals. So I guess I’ll have to find $100 to pony up for the Media Library. And figure out how to do the color correction necessary prior to the festival.

Now to find me some lunch. There was a nice looking baked potato on the menu downstairs… And man do I need another cup of coffee.

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