Will indie filmmakers be able to travel with their films in the future? I hope so. With the price of gas going up, government arts funding leveling off, and the conversion of analog theatre houses into digital ones, it is becoming more attractive for filmmakers to do a Q & A to a live audience from the comfort of their own homes. The digital age is killing the personal visit. Film festival organizers can obtain the necessary publicity to raise their event to the next level with a virtual access to a star and not deal with logistics of a visit. Audiences will still feel privileged at being able to get that sense of intimacy with the artist and the artist won’t have to worry about having to face a room full of people. Recently, I spoke to a colleague about travelling with me to a film festival and received a mixed response. Yes, we can do a virtual conference call and it will be more convenient, but it is a superficial experience.
The value of showing up in person at a film festival is still incalculable for both the artist and the festival. There are quirky trends that you pick up while touring that you won’t see on camera. For example, the conversation at an Asian Film Festival often involves or takes place around Chinese Food while the parties at Queer Film Festivals are often the best.
I am traveling on my third and longest film festival tour. I’m in the Mood for Love will be playing in the AmerAsia Film Festival in Montreal and the San Francisco Asian American International Film Festival this weekend. It has also been selected for the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and the Reel World Film Festival in Toronto.
The growing perception is that films are getting easier and cheaper to make. Films are getting easier to make, but not necessarily cheaper. Films still take a lot of effort and while there are more indie filmmakers out there today, the public should not take film-making for granted.
I have met some really outstanding people on my travels, and look forward to receiving critical feedback on my work. Touring with a film is a great way to celebrate and share work, but it is also wonderful way to bring closure to a project. As we are bombarded with more and more information, it is important to be able to see a project to its conclusion and for a theatrical filmmaker it is seeing your work presented in a movie theater with an audience.