The film was finalised and submitted recently and, contrary to last year, I still feel excited and enthusiastic about it. Feedback had been unanimously positive and Emily and I are going to research for acceptable film festivals to send it to. The aim is to float it around as many LGBT festivals in Europe as we can afford and see where it takes us. The Sheffield Doc fest is the go to festival in this country, and one of the leading in Europe , so we will arrange to send it there. Emily and I took a research trip to the BFI Flare festival a few weeks back to try and gauge the standard of films being shown. We attended the TransAmerica short film selection – 8 films in total. Although our film wasn’t finished, we came out convinced that if we were to complete it to the standard that we anticipated, we would have a chance of being selected. Of the films, 1, at a stretch 2, were any good. Some of them had major technical issues or were incredibly minimalistic. After the rough cut and further feedback from our film theory lecturer Lara (who’d just acted as judge on a festival panel and advised us to enter to festivals), we were convinced that we might have a chance.
The year as a whole, as I write in reflection, has been the most enjoyable yet. The process of making this film seemed slow before Christmas but everything kicked into gear by January. My spirits were pretty low in March during the first editing stage. It is impossible to guess how people will react to your film and this becomes even harder when you have spent so long in the company of the content and the people who helped to make it. We all became completely sanitised by it and were left with no choice but to stick to the plan and hope that people got it. As late as the night before the rough cut screening, Alex, Emily and I sealed the rough cut and all said – “that will do for now..”. I waited anxiously for our film to be screened in the rough cut screening and was convinced that it would be torn apart. I knew how to articulate and justify my processes but I was worried that it wouldn’t work for everyone else – whether they got it or not. I was amazed at the feedback and Emily and Alex were too. We all went for relief drinks at the pub that night and the glowing comments and praise we were receiving was too much to take. I find it hard to take compliments – don’t know why – but I was buzzing inside. The buzz lasted for a week or so and re-energised me after previously feeling slightly lethargic and deflated. Receiving praise from peers and professionals always feels good.
I’ll be graduating next month and will be out into the world again. It’s no masterpiece but it does feel encouraging to have options. Whatever the grade for the film or the degree as a whole, I can honestly approach the next phase of my career with a film under my arm that I am proud of. I can be my own worst critic sometimes – so that counts for a lot.