We just downloaded the film 'Halcyon Days of Youth' from filmmaker Dong Chang. This particular film is to be shown during our second screening session of the day.
Running an animation festival is a multi-faceted event. First you announce the event on a platform like FilmFreeway then you hope/wait for lots of great entries to come in. We were very blessed with some fine films this year but when you first view them there's a certain amount of trepidation as you never know what's out there until you see it. Most of all you have to judge if you feel the films you're viewing are right for your particular kind of event, as no two festivals are alike and therefore their value systems can be very different. As a filmmaker it definitely hurts to have your film rejected, especially when other film festivals have willingly accepted it! Acceptance of a film, or rejection, is not personal in many cases however - although some films we see do leave a lot to be desired. However, you have to review each film in its entirety before deciding whether or not you will accept it or not.
Eventually, when you announce your nominations you next have to ask the filmmakers for a 'screener' version of their film, meaning it has to be of the highest quality for projection in a theater. In the old days when film was actually 'film' all entries would have to be mailed in tough metal cans and viewed in a cinema environment. Today of course the marvels of digital technology mean that you can get anything downloaded in an instant from anywhere around the world. And so it was with 'Halcyon Days of Youth' just now for us.
However, even then you have to check each downloaded film to make sure there are no glitches or anything unforseen occurring with it before the big day. Normally all is good and you can simply check the film off on your list of 'received' entries.
The biggest challenge of all however is actually getting some filmmakers to send you their screener copies in the first place! In the past we've sent out many emails to animators in the far flung corners of the world, hoping to get their screener copy on board before its too late. Of course getting it in just before the actual event doesn't work either, as prior to that all the chosen entries have to be duly edited onto one master program screener disk long before the day comes. So this latter stage of the proceedings is a little nail biting to say the least - until of course you have all the selected film screeners in on time as planned.
So far we have over half the entries in for this years event but I'm sure our nails will be bitten down to the skin by the time the last one comes in. Even so, its still worth it, as there's nothing better than sharing some amazing work with our enthusiastic audiences when the time comes!
And thus may it ever be! :)