The “Screening” Screening: Reaching an Audience

Well, the “Screening Process” premiere was last night, and — not to put too fine a point on it — we kicked ass.

Now I don’t mean we kicked the ass of any other films — after all, there were some seriously creative entries presented (my personal favorite was the event’s closer, Nachismo) — but I do think we competed more than admirably, far exceeding even my expectations.

I was a little nervous to see that our picture was going to be the absolute first one shown. We’d be setting the standard against which all of the films to follow would be judged. (No, this screening wasn’t part of the “official” judging, but since the actual judges were in attendance, I can’t help but think they’d be taking audience reaction into account.) The key for me was going to be how quickly the audience “got it,” how quickly they realized that we were recreating scenes from ’80s movies. Would it be after two scenes, three, four? Would we have to wait until the later line virtually spelling it out for them?

The moment the first scene — the Sixteen Candles shot — came up, the audience burst out in laughter. With just that visual composition, they had clued into exactly what we were going for.

The big grin on my face — ably captured by the photographer from the Burke Times — only got bigger as the film progressed. The audience laughed at all the right cues, applauded at exactly the right moment when the credits rolled (you can always tell the difference between “honest enjoyment” applause and “polite appreciation” applause), and I received several compliments afterward.

Granted, being a smaller event, the National Film Challenge doesn’t bring out as many of the professionals as the 48 Hour Film Project, but we still had some very polished competitors. Still, I think we’ve got a really good shot at making the intial finalist cut: 30–50 films from a total of 151 eligible submissions.

That announcement is expected this week. And I want to take this opportunity to offer my sincerest congratulations to all of the teams that completed this monumental undertaking, and wish the best of luck to everyone.

Well, just not as much luck as I’m wishing our team. I hope you’ll understand if I’m a bit biased...

(By the way, the National Film Challenge producers have a slot at Art-O-Matic, where they’ll be screening this same set of films on December second, followed by out-of-area entries on the third. So if you missed this screening, you’ve got another chance to see some really great work.)