Monday, 25 February 2013

Stories from everywhere

Today's blog post calls for some shameless self-promotion.

Over the past year or so, I have managed to produce, direct, and write an 11-minute documentary of interviews with my parents about their experience in the Khmer Rouge regime. (Side note: I would have loved to have gone to Cambodia for the project, but I was told it was monsoon season, and um, hello, I ain't rich.) It turned out pretty decent, I think.

After nearly completing it, I sent an email to the Winnipeg Film Group over at Cinematheque, informing them of my project and if they were interested in it to contact me. It was a long shot, and I didn't think they'd respond at such short notice. Their website states that in order to screen something I had to send it a year in advance. I halfheartedly clicked the "send" button, not expecting a reply for a while. Or ever, to be honest.

In the meantime, I scoured the Internet for film festivals to which I would submit. I found several that piqued my interest. The Reel Asian Film Festival, for one, seemed it would be receptive of my documentary on a Cambodian genocide. However, submissions weren't being accepted until March. Onto the next.

The Vancouver International Film Festival also seemed appealing to me. I emailed the contact person - who later told me that I wasn't eligible to participate, being from out of Vancouver and all. Phooey.

And the Female Eye Film Festival cost too much money to enter. ($100 just to submit an application? No way.)

I settled for only the Canada International Film Festival. They were still accepting submissions and it cost only $25 to enter. Not bad.

A week or so later, I received an interesting email.

Jaimz Asmundson from the Winnipeg Film Group wrote, "Hi Cindy, Is your film finished? Could you drop it off this week?"

My clumsy fingers fumbled over the keyboard; in my excitement, I managed to write back, "I will have a final copy for you on Friday."

I have never spent so many hours inside an edit suite at one time. I burned my video onto a DVD, and the next day I gave it to Jaimz at Cinematheque. He didn't give me any indication he was going to screen it any time soon. He promised to watch it and contact me afterwards.

Not even a day later, he emailed me to tell me he wanted to put my documentary in the Gimme Some Truth Documentary Film Festival on March 17. Of course I obliged. It was an absolute honour to be placed in the Stories from New Canadians category among other filmmakers who I was sure had more skill than myself.

Gimme Some Truth is a four-day long festival from March 14 to 17. My own documentary, Stories from Cambodia, is screening on March 17 at 4 p.m. at Cinematheque, 100 Arthur Street. I'd love to see you there.

For more information, visit the Gimme Some Truth website.

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