Life on the Film Festival Circuit


Sonoma International Film FestivalTechnicolor – Photo: Russ Johnson

Memo to my author friends: If you want to party, make a film

I spent part of the weekend at the Sonoma International Film Festival a tribute to art of  film and the consumption of enormous quantities of wine.

Talking to a few filmmakers, I learned a bit about the film festival circuit, which seems a bit like the 21st Century version of a traveling circus. Only much better.

There are more than 100 major film festivals in the US alone, major tourist attractions bringing audiences and filmmakers to some very neat places. Unlike the experience of author friends, however, who slog from town to town, sometimes holing up in cheap hotels, often covering their own expenses, the film festival circuit can be quite a party. The people we talked to were staying in the guest houses of luxury homes and at good hotels, some for free. A  Parisian women I met was thrilled that she saw a real deer walking the property. Around here, deer are pests.

And there was a whole lot of partying going on, lots of wine sipping even during performances. I can’t speak about all of these festivals, but compared to the experiences of friends flogging books at Walmarts, it is a life a person could get used to. I talked to several filmmakers who spend the summer going from one festival to the other.

Maybe there is a film in me waiting to come out. Hope its not a scene from Alien.


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