Monday, 18 March 2013

Family, friends, and a film festival

This will be the last time I write about my Independent Professional Project, Stories from Cambodia, I promise. I just need to write about the whirlwind of events so that I can always refer back knowing I captured the day while it's still fresh in my mind.

I attended the Gimme Some Truth Documentary Film Festival on Sunday night with my parents and cousins. I also invited my significant other and several friends. To those that couldn't come but expressed their interest and sorrow for missing out, I appreciate it. But I will discuss this later on.

When I arrived to Cinematheque for the festival, the lobby was fairly empty at first. Seeing that made my heart plummet, my fears of no one showing up surfaced, but I intended to make the most of it because (as I have been reminded by my loved ones over and over again) this was my moment and I should not let anything or anyone (or lack thereof) bring me down.

Jaimz of the Winnipeg Film Group handed me my delegate pass and four tickets free of charge for my parents and cousins. Initially worried and dreading the festival, I felt an immediate sense of accomplishment when I donned the delegate pass around my neck.

We went into the small, dark theatre where several other people had been sitting for a while. Once I saw the makings of an audience forming, I breathed a small sigh of relief and began to relax. Slowly, more film-goers filled the theatre.

Here's something that I did not expect to happen to that night. With the lobby filled with people, an employee announced that the tickets were sold out. Disappointment and confusion were the main emotions in the lobby, but I couldn't have been more thrilled. I'll explain in a few more paragraphs.

At a little past 4:00 p.m., the festival began - and my documentary was first. No matter how many times I have had to watch my work back, it does not get easier to review the final product, noticing flaws and should-haves and should-not-haves. I know I didn't make a perfect documentary, but I think I did a decent job overall.

The next three documentaries were interesting. Respectively, they were about an artist from Bosnia, a group of refugees from Bhutan adjusting to life in Canada (with a humourous scene on how to use toilet paper), and violence against farmers in Zimbabwe. They were all informative and personal, and it was an absolute honour to be in the same category with such talented individuals.

Afterwards, Jaimz called the filmmakers up to the stage to answer questions the audience may have. The woman who made the documentary about violence against farmers in Zimbabwe got the most questions, as expected, because her film had more drama and gruesome graphics. I applauded her use of visuals as it was something that my own video lacked. I did get to answer one question from a nice woman though.

At the end of the festival, Jaimz announced that there would be a second screening since so many people had shown up. Amazing! I'll have to wait for details as they are pending and not concrete.

Exiting the theatre, I was approached by several people who commented on my video, including someone who just applied for Creative Communications and asked for my advice. It's funny to see this whole experience come full circle.

When I asked my parents what they thought of the festival, my dad said nonchalantly, "Yeah, not bad." Knowing him, that's a pretty positive response.

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